January 21, 2020 Healthy Living

Tired of Being Stuck Inside All Winter? Try Cross Country Skiing

During the fall and winter, the days can seem painfully short in this part of the country. It’s easy to snuggle up on the couch, dive into a homemade tin of cookies and some hot chocolate around the holidays, and bundle up for the long, cold weeks of winter that follow. As the season stretches on, that inactivity and those bad habits can lead to weight gain (despite your best efforts to eat healthy), decreased fitness, and the dreaded feeling of cabin fever.

So, what are your options? Because it’s cold out, you may not be interested in that evening walk you take near home, and with a few inches of snow on the ground, a game of basketball or a round of golf isn’t a reality.

A great way to get and stay fit – and fight the winter blues – is to try Nordic, or cross country, skiing. You might hesitate when you hear that because you’re not sure about putting on the equipment, finding a place to go skiing, or even how you’re going to stay upright as you get used to those skis. However, it’s a relatively easy way to enjoy the outdoors, even if you’ve never tried it before. The basics are easy to pick up, and you’ll feel the benefits immediately.

Cross country skiing uses all of the body’s muscle groups, and once you get your body moving, the results will be clear. Even at a relaxed pace, an average-sized person can burn between 400 and 600 calories per hour! With those benefits in mind, remember also that because of the motion of your skis and poles while cross country skiing, you’ll feel little to no impact on common problem areas for pain, such as your joints.

And the mental health benefits? You’ll be outside in the natural light, and that can be just as important as the physical benefit of the activity, all at a time of the year that can lead to stress and strain your mental health.

Ready to try it out? Check out CDPHP Member Deals to find a great deal for Prospect Mountain in southern Vermont for you and your family, or check out these locations throughout the Capital Region and beyond. Before you head out, be sure to read up on ways to make sure you enjoy cross country skiing (and other winter sports) safely!

Elizabeth Warner, MD, FACS
About the Author

Elizabeth E. Warner, MD, FACS, joined CDPHP in January 2015 as medical director. In this role, Dr. Warner works with the medical affairs team in utilization management, quality improvement, and resource management. Dr. Warner practiced general surgery at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center with a special focus in breast surgery. She chaired the breast program leadership at SVMC, earning certification by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. She also served as the cancer liaison physician at SVMC. Board certified in general surgery, Dr. Warner earned a Doctor of Medicine from Albany Medical College and a Bachelor of Science in human development and family studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. She completed her surgical residency at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

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