The Best Winter Workout
Staying fit during the winter with nordic skiing
Don't want to stay cooped up inside all winter?
Are you looking for a better way to stay active, healthy, and happy this winter? During these crazy times, our normal routines and activities are often no longer an option. But for lots of people, living room workouts and the spin bike in the garage just won’t cut it.
What can you do?
In this article we’ll explain why nordic skiing, also known as cross country skiing, is one of the best winter workouts you can do to stay fit (and sane) during the pandemic. Keep reading to learn what you need to know.
If nordic skiing is completely foreign you, check out our ultimate guide.
Or read on to get started.
The problem with staying in shape over the winter
Let’s face it.
Even before the pandemic, most of us would much rather get our exercise outdoors than inside our homes or a crowded gym.
Getting fresh air and traversing real terrain is a big reason why many of us love to exercise in the first place.
But when the trails are covered in snow and the roads are too nasty to ride, the bikers, hikers, and runners can find it difficult to get in their dose of dopamine.
Working out at home is always an option, but it’s certainly not for everyone. You may not have the space, the equipment, or the motivation. And who could blame you?
So for the people who love to move, what can you do?
Nordic skiing is the perfect winter activity
Of course you might think of skiing during the winter, but not everyone knows the difference between alpine (downhill) skiing, and nordic (cross country) skiing.
And we’d venture to say that even less people are aware of all the reasons why nordic skiing is the perfect way to get in a great workout and have fun during the winter.
Here’s a quick overview of why nordic skiing is such an awesome way to exercise during the cold months:
- It'll get you out and moving.
Don't let winter turn you into a recluse. Once the snow falls, trade your bike or your running shoes in for a set of skis and keep enjoying the outdoors!
- There are different styles to choose from.
You can pick from classic or skate style skiing for even more speed. You can also ski maintained trails and tracks at resorts and local parks or you can head out into the backcountry for extra adventure.
- It's a better workout than downhill skiing.
Because you use your whole body, you'll usually get a better workout during a day of nordic skiing than you would on the slopes.
- It's great for getting away from crowds.
You won't find massive crowds and packed lift lines at nordic trailheads. Cross country skiing is the perfect way to find your own space in nature.
Why is cross country skiing such good exercise?
Nordic skiing is a full body workout
Because gravity isn't always on your side when nordic skiing, you'll need to use your whole body to propel yourself forward.
You're still gliding over the snow, but in order to ski efficiently you have to really get your arms involved and use your poles to boost your momentum.
All the while you'll obviously be using lots of leg muscles, and at the end of the day you'll feel like you got in a really great workout.
Skate vs classic skiing workouts
Depending on the style of cross country skiing you want to do, you can choose the activity that best suits your goals.
While there are some exceptions, you can usually think of classic and backcountry nordic skiing almost like hiking or jogging. It's more of an endurance exercise that's better for longer distances and time periods.
If you want a shorter but more intense workout, similar to running or sprinting, you'll love how skate skiing will blast your muscles and test your cardio.
Get your nordic gear
Read our Ultimate Guide to Nordic Skiing
Want to learn more?
Want to learn the ins and outs of the different types of cross country skiing? Read our Ultimate Guide to Nordic Skiing and find the style that suits you best, plus see our favorite brands and equipment.