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While few of us can race down the slope at Olympic speeds, performing tricks and spins mid-air, most of us nevertheless enjoy skiing. Whether it’s downhill or cross country, skiing is more than a recreational activity. Skiing can improve our health, making it an excellent form of exercise. If you want to get on board with skiing’s health benefits, or you’re curious as to what health benefits your regular skiing provides, take a look at these five health benefits of skiing.

Sleep

By the time you get back from a day of skiing, whether it’s downhill or cross country, you’re tired! Exhaustion after a great day of working out, especially when surrounded by beauty and glittering snow, can help you drop right to sleep on your pillow. Studies show that regular exercise can improve our sleep, so it won’t come as much of a surprise that skiing improves your nightly rest.

Lower-Body Workout

Especially if we work behind a desk, we tend to not make much use of our muscles. The human body was meant to be active, and in order to keep muscles healthy, we need to engage them. If you use proper technique, skiing can strengthen the muscles around your knees and strengthen your legs. That regular use of your legs can improve the strength of your bones and joints. Even if you eventually give up skiing, that added strength to your bones and joints could improve your quality of life later on.

Balance

It won’t come as much of a surprise that downhill skiing is good for your core–or that good balance is part of staying on your feet. Regularly skiing helps tone those core muscles. As you practice soaring down the slopes, you’re engaging your core muscles more and more, toning them and relying on their strength. Solid abdominal muscles can help prevent back issues later in life, so if you practice safe skiing techniques, you could be investing in your later well-being.

Proprioception

If you don’t know what the heck proprioception is, you’re not alone! While it’s not a word used often in everyday language, proprioception is our ability to feel our different body parts at once. When you close your eyes, with your hand out in front of your face, you can still tell where your hand is, whether your fingers are spread, and at what angle your thumb is pointed–even though you can’t see it. Our proprioception can deteriorate with age, and engaging our proprioception can help strengthen it. Skiing (you guessed it) is an excellent way of improving proprioception.

You may not live near to a downhill skiing area. You may not live where there’s much snow at all. If you really want to experience the health benefits of skiing, however, you can commit to it. Exercise that you love is a wonderful gift. Consider travelling regularly to a skiing area, like Northstar CA, and even getting a timeshare where you can ski on a regular basis. A fantastic sport to get into, skiing can improve your health, and with it–your quality of life.