Ski for Health

Snow skiing is not only a sport that the entire family can enjoy while on holiday but it is a sport that promotes health and fitness. While having tons of fun on the white slopes of various ski resorts, skiers increase their fitness levels with regular skiing outings. Studies have proven that there are long term benefits to being an avid winter sport enthusiast. And when it comes to the more senior skiers, taking up skiing as a sport can only be beneficial to their health.

The physical act of skiing increases a skier’s aerobic capacity. This in turn, develops an athlete’s endurance. The aerobic capacity of a skier is measured by the amount of oxygen that is used by the muscles and that is being pumped through by the heart. Swedish researchers were eager to prove the positive effect skiing has on the body, and used a group of cross country skiers of various ages as their test subjects. Some of the voluntary test subjects were over the age of eighty, and their fitness levels were compared to seniors their own age, who did not engage in any exercise, as well as younger participants who did not exercise on a regular basis. By doing chemical analysis on the cells in the muscles of these various participants, it was found that the avid skiers were in better condition than people their same age, and in some cases, at an improved fitness level than some of the younger members of the group. It was therefore proven, that lifelong skiers enjoy a healthier life than their counterparts who do not exercise.

The study has shown that the oxygen intake capacity in senior men who are active is double that of men of the same age that prefer not to exercise. A professor at the Mid Sweden University, from the sport science department, Professor Per Tesch, explained that: “The findings show that humans have a great potential to maintain a high level of physical work capacity and thereby better quality of life even at advanced ages.” He went on to say, “The high values for maximum oxygen-uptake capacity that we have measured have never been reported before in a population of men of advanced age.”