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Cross Country Skiing

Every winter, many people abandon their running programs due to snow on the ground and icy conditions. Since these folks are primarily outdoor athletes, they just can’t seem to get excited about exercising indoors on a treadmill. As a result, many of them put on weight during the winter. The good news is that there is a great way to keep in shape during the coldest and snowiest of winter seasons. It’s called Cross Country Skiing.

Cross Country Skiing, otherwise known as Nordic Skiing, combines the excitement of downhill skiing, hiking and skating into an activity with a relatively lower risk of injury. The sport is a great way to develop your coordination skills, while burning lots of calories-between 600 and 900 hour per hour, depending on age, fitness level, skill and intensity. This is due to the fact that cross country skiing uses a significantly large percentage of you body’s muscle mass. The lower extremities are used for propulsion and support. The trunk and deep core musculature provides balance as well as stability. The upper extremities help with propulsion and speed. Given that so many muscle groups get used simultaneously, you need not worry about getting too cold. Also, since cross country skiing is a challenging but low-impact activity, it provides a good seasonal rest period from the high impact forces of running.

There are two basic styles of cross-country skiing:

  • The “classical” style involves keeping the skis parallel to each other. The skis that are used for the classical style contain either wax or a ridged bottom pattern that enables efficient striding and gliding on the snow.
  • The “skating” style requires the skier to glide on one ski and angle out the other. The edge of the ski is used the edge to push forward.

In both the classical and skating styles of cross country skiing, the long ski poles are used to help the skier push forward while maintaining adequate balance. The exertion needed to move these poles adds to the intensity of the workout. A competent recreational skier is capable of covering close to 10 kilometers an hour. Skating skiers may be able to cover even more terrain per hour.

In addition to the physical benefits of cross country skiing, the sport graciously provides a number of psychological and spiritual rewards. It gives the participant a chance to enjoy the outdoors, even in the harshest weather conditions. Who knows, when you learn cross country skiing, you might even learn to love winter.

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