According to the Daily Skier, 2016 saw a 40-percent increase in the number of people who did some amount of cross-country skiing in the United States. When converted to more understandable figures, this change accounts for an extra 1,240,000 people who decided to take up Nordic skiing.
While it is hard to deny that the popularity will continue to climb, how exactly does one explain this trend? Is cross-country skiing becoming a more prominent hobby because people are just now learning about it? Probably not. After all, cross-country skiing has been widespread in the United States since the 1980s and most people have been well aware of its existence.
On the other hand, what could be interpreted as one of the main reasons for the spike in popularity is the higher awareness of benefits that the sport offers. In translation, people who merely had a basic understanding of Nordic skiing are now much more conscious of the innumerable health advantages of it.
Proven Cardiovascular and Muscular Superiority
According to lengthy research performed at the Ball State University in Indiana, adults who have a skiing history tend to be in much better shape. What the research showed, primarily, is the quantified extent to which skiers are healthier. Namely, the group of volunteers who do cross-country skiing on a regular basis had two times more powerful cardiovascular and muscle fitness.
Furthermore, their level of physical ability put them in the group of men and women who have the lowest risk of mortality at any age. Therefore, researchers concluded that skiers are much more likely to live a longer life and postpone the consequences of aging.
Convenient Full-Body Workout
According to a seasoned cross-country skier, Gary di Silvestri, this sport is perfect for those seeking an effective full-body workout. The reason why is that the entire concept of Nordic skiing revolves around constant movement, climbing, pushing, pulling, and maintaining proper balance. To better understand this, think about the role of some of the muscles in the human body.
The muscles in the back, for example, are responsible for the pulling motions via upper extremities. Well, cross-country skiing relies on poles that help one pull forward when going through inclined or relatively straight terrain. Conversely, the chest or pectoral muscles provide the necessary push that helps one attain higher speed.
Beautiful Scenery and Stress-Relieving Workouts
Gary di Silvestri further stresses the mental benefits that include lower anxiety levels, reduced stress, and increased self-esteem. Most of those are a byproduct of the fact that cross-country skiing tends to take place in some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. After all, not a lot can parallel nicely maintained tracks covered with crisp snow and the fresh air that rests alongside white trees. Therefore, adults who dedicate themselves to this hobby are much more likely to forego a lot of stress related to their day-to-day activities. In addition, learning how to properly ski is a distinguished accomplishment that will unquestionably lead to an overall boost in one’s confidence levels.
Unlike a lot of individual sports, Nordic skiing is a discipline where one still gets to interact with other people. Even though everyone has to fight for themselves and complete tracks on their own, this is done in the company of fellow skiers who are chasing the same objective. So, skiers who participate in the sport as a hobby will not have a long line of challengers. Instead, they will be inclined to connect with others and facilitate higher levels of motivation by inspiring each other.
Low Risk of Joint and Ligament Injury
In order to have a long-term perspective for any sport, one has to dedicate their attention to mitigating the risk of injuries. Fortunately, cross-country skiing is one of the safest ways to complete a full body workout, says Gary di Silvestri. This is because it carries an exceptionally low risk of joint and ligament issues. Unlike running, per se, it does not require constant impact on one’s foot and ankle.
Similarly, it leads to much fewer accidents than other types of team-based sports or skiing disciplines because the equipment is characterized by safety features such as free heels and toe hinges. That means that stopping or falling out of one’s skis is completely doable at practically any speed. After all, the goal of the sport is to achieve physical well-being, not expose the body to the avoidable risk of injury.