Fun Winter Activities and Their Health Benefits
Exercising can be hard in the dreary cold weather, but winter also brings with it a range of sports that double up as great sources of fun and fitness!
Yes, we completely understand that you might just want to lie in bed and avoid having to go out and engage in physical activity. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! Winter as a wonderful time to practice special sports with impressive health benefits.
What are some benefits of practising winter sports? What are your options if you’re worried about your cardiovascular health during winter? Let us answer these burning questions and more!
Health benefits of winter sports
There are many health benefits associated with increasing your physical activity in winter.
1. A great workout for your heart
In cold weather, your heart has a double workload, and this means you will burn more calories and exercise your heart faster than you would in summer. Thus, it is the best cardiovascular exercise with the fastest results.
2. It improves your endurance
Winter sports are exceptionally useful for increasing your endurance. Your heart will become more effective in pumping blood to the rest of the body, and you will eventually get used to exertion, improving your endurance on the go.
3. Gets you your daily dose of vitamin D
A deficiency of this vitamin leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The best source of vitamin D is sun exposure, and practicing winter sports is an excellent way to increase blood levels of this critical nutrient.
The best winter sports for your cardiovascular health
Every sport has advantages and disadvantages, and winter sports are no exception, but which ones are more likely to improve your cardiovascular health?
· Skiing: It looks quite simple, but skiing is an excellent aerobic exercise. It engages many different muscles in your lower extremities and boosts blood circulation, continually stimulating your heart while providing hours of fun and enjoyment.
· Tobogganing: It’s another winter sport that looks easy enough but keep at it for some time, and you will notice how you start breaking into a sweat. It involves walking uphill, and it is quite enjoyable if you’re going out with small children.
· Snow football: Similar to regular football, it involves running and a lot of footwork. However, it has additional effects on your cardiovascular health, and it is a great way to boost your stamina.
· Hockey: If you’re good at ice skating, why not try your hand (or foot) at ice hockey)! It is a great way to engage your lower extremities and abdominal muscles, and it will give your heart a burst of energy at the end of the day.
In general, every sport you practice in winter will have the effect of improving your cardiovascular profile. However, keep in mind that you need to get used to cold weather or high altitude before engaging in intense physical activity. During winter, it is extremely important to warm up properly before exercise and cool down after intense physical activity, so remember to give yourself at least 10 minutes for each. Don’t forget to drink enough water during your session of winter sports, and dress appropriately (read: layer up!) so that you will be able to remove items as your body keeps warm and start sweating.