Cross Country Skiing is a sport that is given little attention in India, yet during the Winter Olympics 2018 we had an athlete who took up the challenge, writes Nandini Reddy.
Early this year one lone Indian qualified to participate in the Winter Olympics Cross-Country Skiing Event. Jagdish Singh competed in the Men’s 15km freestyle cross-country skiing event. Finishing in 43 minutes, Singh placed a 103rd but opened a lot of minds to the possibilities of the sport.
One of the founding sports of the Winter Olympic Games which originated in the Nordic nation, has two styles that are adopted by various athletes – classic and skating. Today cross-country skiing is considered one of the best full body workouts. While the sport hasn’t seen much patronage in India, it is a great one to consider if you are an avid endurance athlete.
The major benefits of this high endurance sport include:
- Full body workout: Skiing combines both lower and upper body and requires you to constantly push and pull your muscles. You create movement to move through the terrain and you require every muscle to be actively involved in order to maintain balance and coordination.
- High Calorie Burner: This is the only exercise format in which you can burn more than 1000 calories in an hour.
- Functional training: The movements that are required to be made for cross country skiing improve the normal functionality of your body. This will help you gain more mobility during everyday work.
- Endurance builder: It is an aerobic fitness exercise that boosts your endurance limits. Skiers are 40% fitter than the other physically fit individuals. The uniqueness to their fitness and endurance levels is because of the full body workout from the activity.
- Relieves Stress: The entire sport is in the outdoors in beautiful terrain. The tranquility from watching the landscapes slip by as you navigate through the course is incomparable.
- Cardiovascular health: Skiers hearts pump blood more efficiently owing to the nature of the workout. Many skiers have reported lower resting heart rates when they are training for cross country skiing events. The Olympians have reported a resting heart rate of 40, as compared to a normal individual whose heart rate would average around 65.
- Faster Metabolism: Skiing improves your metabolic rate and thus help you burn more calories. Moving the whole body to move across the course increases the energy consumed and also quicken the metabolic rate of the body.
- Low Impact activity: Since the exercise is more poised on balance, you are engaging your core and not over-stressing any one part of your body. Thus, it doesn’t hurt the joints and muscles.
- Reduces Lactic Acid: During any strenuous physical activity lactic acid builds up in the muscles and can result in severe cramping. But cross-country skiing helps prep the body to take on strenuous exercise by reducing the lactic acid build-up in the muscles.
Lastly this is a great way to connect with nature and if you enjoy the outdoors then it’s a perfect sport for you to try.