Skiing is a great way to build strength and muscle in your core and lower body. That's because you have to keep your body in a fixed, leaning position as you ski downhill - and this puts your glutes and hamstrings to work. Before your trip, you might want to consider practising some squats and lunges to maximise your lower body strength and endurance. If you’ve never tried these before, start by practising with the bar, then gradually add weight as you increase your strength.
Like other types of exercise, skiing can help boost the brain's production of the neurotransmitter Dopamine – the chemical that makes us ‘feel good’. In fact, even just being around the beautiful scenery can be enough to lift for your mood. For example, a study by researchers in Japan has suggested that forest environments can help reduce feelings of hostility and depression while increasing feelings of liveliness.
Another study from UC Berkeley also suggests that beautiful nature can make us more generous, trusting and empathetic, while research from the University of Michigan found that skiers increased their dopamine levels every time they checked the weather conditions on their phones. Why? Because by checking the weather, the skiers improved their moods by doing something associated with an activity they enjoyed.
Research from BetterYou has found that almost 1 in 5 British adults have low levels of Vitamin D - which helps the body absorb calcium and maintain other essential minerals like phosphorus. When you practise winter sports, you’re often exposed to a significant amount of sunlight, especially on south-facing slopes, and this can help you absorb more Vitamin D.
Skiing - or any form of intense exercise - can also help you sleep. According to the US's National Sleep Foundation, exercise increases the quality and duration of sleep. Most importantly, it improves the quality of your REM (deep sleep) – which is vital for your immune system, energy and cell restoration, and repairing bones and muscle tissue.
The better your sleep, the faster your body will recover from the previous day’s exercise. According to the U.S's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, good quality sleep can also improve brain functioning, emotional well-being, physical health, daytime performance and safety.
Because skiing works almost every muscle group, it's a very efficient way to burn calories and build strength. According to research from the Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound person would burn approximately 223 calories in 30 minutes of skiing downhill. In comparison, a 155-pound person would only burn 221 calories walking at a slow (2.5mph) pace for an hour.