Inspired by the amazing feats you’re seeing from Olympic athletes? For those in the northern hemisphere, there’s still enough winter left to try some skiing or snowboarding yourself. From ice skating to sledding and cross-country skiing to snowshoeing, winter sports provide fresh air and fun.
Studies show that exercising outside—even in winter— is great for our bodies and our minds. Cold winter air forces our bodies to work harder just to maintain core temperatures, burning more calories in the process. Snowboarding and skiing are just two examples of outdoor winter sports that build muscle mass and improve stamina and balance. With it’s higher percentage of overcast days, winter can feel dreary. But even the weak winter sunlight can boost your endorphins if you’re outside long enough; outdoor fitness gives you that chance.
Clearly Scandinavians know something about winter the rest of us don’t. Norway is ruling the 2018 Winter Olympics and it’s no wonder. Their lifestyle integration of winter sports for everyone begins at a young age. With over 11,000 local sports organizations, they’ve got 93% of kids and youth participating in sports which is impressive in the age of smart phones. That makes for a healthier, happier population—and an sweet Olympic medal haul.