Snowboarding is a common hobby during snowy winter times. But did you know it can also improve your health and make you fit?
6 ways snowboarding makes you fit:
- Snowboarding is a form of cardio exercise.
- Snowboarding boosts endurance.
- It strengthens your core muscles.
- You can strengthen your muscles by snowboarding.
- The sport can help control your appetite.
- It helps you burn calories.
Read the rest of this article to know how snowboarding helps you get fit. I’ll explore each way in-depth.
Snowboarding Is a Form of Cardio Exercise
Cardio exercises are highly efficient in weight loss—even more than weight-training workouts. Snowboarding, as an aerobic workout, burns a great deal of stored fat in your body.
Weight loss starts when your body faces a calorie deficit, meaning you burn more calories than what you receive.
When you do cardio exercises like snowboarding, muscles first use the stored glycogens; once it’s used up, they start to break down (oxidize) fat.
While you’re speeding down the slopes, your heart beats faster, and blood circulation increases. As a result, muscles receive more oxygen to oxidize fat and help you shed some pounds. The longer and more challenging your snowboarding session, the more fats you’ll burn.
Snowboarding Boosts Endurance
Snowboarding can increase your endurance—your physical ability to keep exercising for a more extended period. As a cardio workout, it enables your heart and lungs to provide more oxygen to the body. And that improves your stamina and lowers the risk of different diseases.
It Strengthens Your Core Muscles
One of the significant ways in which snowboarding helps you get fit is by strengthening the core muscles on your back and abdomen.
In most people, a big part of fat is distributed around their midsection—i.e., belly and sides—and core exercises help to get rid of it.
As you try to maintain balance in snowboarding, various muscles of your core get engaged. This leads to having a stronger and more toned core. According to Thom Canalichio, a competitive skier and snowboarder, “Few things help maintain a flat, toned stomach like snowboarding.”
You Can Strengthen Your Muscles by Snowboarding
Snowboarding engages almost all your body muscles. You’ll use the calves, ankles, and feet to control the board and navigate the route. For you to keep your balance and get up when you fall, it’s also crucial to use your arms, shoulders, and chest muscles.
However, leg muscles experience the most amount of pressure. Three key muscle groups get engaged in the lower body: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Gluteal muscles.
Quadriceps are in front of your thighs and function as the leading muscle group during snowboarding. They help in your stability, flexing hips and extending knees.
Hamstrings, which are the muscles on the back of your thighs, take in shocks on the terrain and help protect anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) that hold your knee together.
Gluteal, commonly known as glute, are the muscles on your buttocks that help you keep balance and lean forward, especially when you’re going down the mountain.
The tension these muscle groups bear during snowboarding is an essential factor in fortifying them. When they undergo pressure during exercise, muscle fibers break down.
Afterward, during recovery and by consuming a high-protein diet, this damaged muscle fibers repair. This process is called hypertrophy and makes muscles get larger and more robust. The result would be more muscle mass and a fitter body.
However, experts agree that the extent you use those muscles differs from person to person. According to Kevin Jordan, your skill level, the intensity of the slope, and technique can affect your muscle groups’ engagement.
The Sport Can Help Control Your Appetite
Exercise, especially aerobic ones like snowboarding, can reduce appetite by decreasing the levels of hormones that trigger hunger.
A recent study found that increasing body heat may result in reducing appetite, just like what happens when we eat hot chili peppers.
Dr. Young-Hwan Jo of the IMAGE college in the Bronx concludes that their study proves that body temperature can act as a biological signal regulating the feeding behavior of a person, just the way hormones and nutrients do.
Snowboarding can also help you get fitter by reducing the cortisol stress hormone. Although cortisol is vital for energy provision and healthy blood pressure, its high levels can increase appetite. It also leads to testosterone production, which in turn reduces muscle mass. As a result, your body burns fewer calories, and you’ll gain weight.
What’s more, some studies have shown that elevated cortisol levels can lead to abdominal fat deposition, which is related to cardiovascular disease.
It Helps You Burn Calories
Snowboarding requires lots of energy and effort since you constantly have to change body position while sliding down the slopes.
According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, metabolic equivalent (MET) ratings of snowboarding is 4.3 for “light effort” and 5.3 for “moderate effort.” It means a 150-pound (68-kg) person can burn between 293 and 361 calories per hour.
MET rating of “vigorous” snowboarding effort is 8.0, equal to 545 calories per hour, and that’s a lot! One MET is the energy you use when you’re resting or sitting still.
The chart created by Harvard Medical School also highlights that snowboarding can burn between 290 and 806 calories per hour. But this chart is solely based on body weight. How many calories you burn depends on your gender, metabolism, workout intensity, and the techniques you use on the board.
You can even skip the lift and walk through the snow using a pair of snowshoes to burn more calories. Also, hiking to the top of the hill can easily double the calories you’ll burn in a day.
Does Snowboarding Make You Fit?
Snowboarding makes you fit because it engages most of your body muscles while trying to balance sliding down a slope. You can burn between 300 to 800 calories per hour and reduce stress levels, preventing weight gain.
This demanding cardiovascular exercise activates your core, pelvic, and leg muscles, letting you burn fat and lose weight faster.
The soothing effect of exercising high in the mountains helps prevent weight gain. Your appetite won’t rise when your anxiety drops as a rest of being in nature due to hormonal changes or psychological reasons.
Is Snowboarding Good Exercise?
Snowboarding is a good exercise because it burns lots of calories, keeping you fit. This fun sport also makes the heart and muscles strong, improves your respiratory system, flexibility, balance, bones, and joints health. Plus, it can positively affect your mood and stress.
It’s a whole-body workout. You’ll use different sets of muscles while navigating on the slopes to maintain your balance and change speed or body position.
6 Health Benefits of Snowboarding
Snowboarding is a fun outdoor sport that keeps you fit and healthy and boosts your mood. The sport is also good for your bones and joints, and it can improve your balance and coordination. I’ll explain more about these. So, let’s jump right in!
Snowboarding Can Improve Your Overall Health
Does snowboarding make you fit? Absolutely! Snowboarding is a heart-healthy activity. It strengthens your cardiovascular and respiratory systems and improves your muscles’ ability to absorb more oxygen from the blood. Consequently, there’ll be less need for the heart to pump blood to muscles.
Kerry Stewart, director of Clinical and Research Exercise Physiology at Johns Hopkins Bayview, likens it to tuning up an engine (i.e., your heart). She says aerobic exercises will adjust your circulatory system in a way that distributes more blood and works more efficiently.
Snowboarding can also reduce the risk of heart attacks by lowering blood pressure and making you calm.
Snowboarding Will Improve Your Flexibility
During the cold days of winter, your joints get stiff because temperature changes the concentration of gases and fluids in them. It makes your muscles weak, less active, and not able to stretch.
If the decreased flexibility lasts for a long time, your muscles get shorter as you age, and your ability to perform daily physical activities reduces. It affects your mobility, posture, balance, and muscle coordination. You may also become more vulnerable to injury and pain.
To prevent these issues, you need to exercise during colder months, and snowboarding is one of the best options.
Keeping your balance on a sliding board requires many different movements, like twisting, turning, leaning forward or backward, and bending. It also demands changes in body position, speed, and direction.
These movements will contract muscles and activate joints, resulting in more flexible muscles, smoother joints, and better performance. The boots and straps of a snowboard force you to pivot at the heels. So, your calves and Achilles get stretched, decreasing the risk of injury.
You’ll Develop Stronger Bones and Joints
Snowboarding is an excellent workout for bone and joint fortification.
When sliding down on snow-covered hills, you move your body to maintain balance and shift weight or direction. This puts some pressure on different joints such as ankles and knees, strengthening them after regular sessions. Bones are living tissues and can adapt by producing more bones, hence getting denser and more robust.
The stronger your bones and joints, the fewer skeletal problems you’ll face in old age. It may also help you prevent osteoporosis and knee damage as you age.
What’s more, the sunlight you get while snowboarding helps produce vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones—especially in winter.
It Will Improve Your Balance and Coordination
Balance is the ability to control your body’s position. It improves body awareness, thereby reducing the risk of injury in workouts or everyday activities, such as going up or down the stairs.
It’s also the main requirement of snowboarding. As you get more skilled in the sport, your ability to balance and coordinate muscles increases, too.
You use different parts of the body in a smooth, efficient, and harmonious way. So, you’ll have better control over your movements.
Body coordination decreases as you get older, but snowboarding—which requires harmony of muscles—can improve it considerably.
Snowboarding Can Relieve Stress and Enhance Your Mood
Almost 75% to 90% of the patients who visit a doctor suffer from stress-related illnesses. Especially during winter, many people suffer seasonal depression and other mental disorders due to lack of sunshine.
Being in nature and inhaling fresh air into your lungs is highly stimulating, and outdoor activities like snowboarding are great workarounds for those mental problems.
Strenuous exercises like snowboarding help in more excretion of endorphins in the body. This valuable substance, also known as “happy chemical,” is a great mood enhancer. It gives us a feeling of joy, peace, and harmony with life.
Endorphins also act like morphine to reduce pain and trigger the good feeling of “runner’s high,” a short, highly relaxing state of euphoria occurring after intense or lengthy exercise.
Snowboarding Can Boost Your Immune System
According to studies, stress can harm the immune system. But snowboarding can nullify its negative effects by releasing endorphins and reducing stress.
Studies indicate that endorphins can positively affect several immune functions like antibody production and white blood cell multiplication. Besides, the special receptors on the surface of white blood cells rely on this substance to function correctly.
Tips To Improve Your Snowboarding Techniques
Although fun and exciting, snowboarding can get frustrating if you don’t improve, especially if you’re doing it with weight loss in mind.
The following techniques help you level up your snowboarding skills.
Pros like Romi Kristl say that snowboarding requires persistence to reduce your weight.
That can have two reasons: First, you’ll fail a few times before learning this new technique, so your initial moves may be incorrect and won’t pay off. Second, every physical activity needs to be consistent to affect your body—nothing happens overnight, and it’s a no-brainer!
If you put in the time to make small improvements every time, you’ll be more ready for the next season. Just don’t give up!
Many people fear falling and getting hurt while snowboarding. So, they’ll never get the hang of it and get fitter. Every balance-requiring sport, like biking or skating, makes you fall a few times to learn it—and there’s no way around that.
Besides, if you learn to roll out instead of splat, you’ll be safe even if you tumble.
Practice the Key Movements
Every snowboarder uses 4 fundamental movements: longitudinal, lateral, torsional, rotational, and up and down.
Frequently practicing these movements and playing around with them can help you better understand their effects and use them more consciously.
Here’s a video of instruction on the essential moves:
Be Creative on Your Board
There’s no limit to what you can do with that board. Always visualize what you’re going to do on the terrain before the start. It can improve your physical and psychological reactions.
Use a Trampoline To Perfect Your Moves
Any motions you’ll bring during snowboarding must first be learned and tried by a trampoline.
The gymnastic exercises used in a trampoline promote your spatial awareness—knowing your body’s position relative to nearby objects. It also helps you imagine or experience the associated physical tricks, memorize them, and repeat them in the snowboarding session.
Focus on the Center of Gravity
Jack Hessler, a professional snowboarder from Stratton, advises you to focus on your center of gravity while snowboarding. It’s somewhere near your belly button.
According to him, you have to keep it vertical through your ride and use shoulders, hips, and knees to change movements.
Work With a Professional Coach
Even pro snowboarders get instructed by a coach!
So, try to get a professional instructor to make progress. And if it’s not an option, watch a few YouTube videos to practice the moves. A few sessions with guidance from a patient instructor or coach can make a huge difference in your weight loss process.