Health Benefits of Skiing and Snowboarding

 Dr. Kendra Reid, ND

            Growing up, as far back as I can remember, every Saturday and Sunday of winter was spent on the slopes with my family. Skiing and snowboarding brought quality time with my Dad who often coached me, a fun sense of competition  between me and my siblings, and the opportunity to meet some of my best friends even to this day. I still remember warming up around the lunch table in the chalet as my mom layed out the table cloth and lunch goodies.

            Looking back, I realize the winter family ritual of skiing on weekends helped shape who I am today…and where I chose to live. I am a  licensed board certified Naturopathic Doctor practicing downtown Collingwood. I am a published author, public speaker, mom, and nature lover! I have a busy general family practice with special interest in dermatology, hormonal health,  prenatal/postpartum care, and pediatrics.

            I have such awesome memories of growing up skiing and snowboarding, and now I hope to make similar memories with my own kids. Living locally so close to Blue Moutain makes this a fun reality.

            Now let’s get into some of the amazing health benefits of skiing and snowboarding shall we?

Natural Mood Booster

  • Hang With Your Peeps; Skiing and snowboarding with family and friends gives us a sense of community and this reduces stress levels & improves overall health. It’s a fun activity the whole family can do together to bond and connect.
  • Move Your Body; Being active causes an increased production of endorphins. Endorphins are chemical messengers in the brain that promote feelings of happiness and a sense of well-being.
  • Unplug: Hitting the slopes gives you and your family a much needed break from screens. Screen time should be limited to 2hrs/day. Excessive screen time leads to sensory overload, lack of restorative sleep, and a hyperaroused nervous system all of which can contribute to a decreased mood and decreased ability to focus. 

Fun in the Sun

  • Sunlight exposure: Getting out into the sunshine during dark dreary winter months can increase our serotonin levels which can help stave off (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  • Sun and Sleep: While it is important to protect our eyes from the sun, bring on the goggles, it may be worthwhile to lift them off during your ride up the lift and let your peepers soak in some rays. Exposure to sunlight encourages our body to produce melatonin a hormone in our body needed for well-regulated sleep. If you suffer from insomnia you may have inadequate levels of melatonin.
  • Nature Therapy: Being in nature is a great mood enhancer it helps calm our stress response. In addition, you’re getting clean fresh air for your lungs and brain.

Full Body Work Out

  • Get Active: The benefits of exercise are widely known; more energy, better sleep, a slimmer body, better concentration, and decreased stress.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Skiing and snowboarding are awesome cardiovascular exercises that can help families burn some serious calories. A study at Harvard Medical School showed that a person weighing 185lbs can burn 266 calories in just 30min of downhill skiing. You also get an added calorie burn due to the cold weather which forces your body to work harder to raise its own body temperature
  • Build Strength: The natural squat position or bent knee position of these activities strengthens lower body muscles such as the quadricpes, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Skiing and snowboarding also engages and strengthens our core muscles from the twisting action of turning, and this improves balance and flexibility.

Published by Melissa Kurtin

Resident Gryffindor of the Marketing Team, combines her passion for the outdoors with her love of rule following to help you get the most of your Blue Mountain experience

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