Hit The Slopes This Winter Season
By: Veronica Pistek
As the cold winter season sneaks up on us, so does the urge to hibernate. Instead of curling up in your cozy bed for a whole month, why not get outside and head to the slopes for an adventure?
We all know that the winter months drag on, but learning a new skill like snowboarding can squash all of your boredom.
You might be wondering what a sport like snowboarding has to offer besides being slightly dangerous and frustrating.
This skill not only provides a myriad of health benefits, but also breaks you out of your comfort zone.
For starters, you will have the most intense, yet adventurous core workout of your life. With that said, in order to keep your balance, you will have to utilize a wide range of muscle groups.
Snowboarding will tap into your legs and lower body: such as your quads, hamstrings, and calves, increasing your strength and condition.
After your first session on the slopes, you might feel the sort of pain that you’ve never experienced in your legs before. That is because snowboarding puts a healthy amount of strain on your knees, ankles, and feet.
All of this pressure combined will strengthen your joints and bones, potentially preventing any future bone damage.
For people who are looking to use the winter break as an opportunity to get fit, snowboarding can help improve your physical activity and even help produce that needed energy to lose weight.
When you are snowboarding, your body can burn up to about 600 calories per hour. As a result, you will have to balance and replenish your body with protein and carbs as fuel after this aerobic exercise.
Snowboarding is a very spontaneous sport—you must adapt to every twist and turn that comes your way.
Besides increasing your strength and muscle tone, you will also gain a newfound flexibility.
When you are locked in and speeding down the hills, you will find yourself changing direction, body position, and speed with each movement.
By creating new movements with your body, you will stretch your muscles and it will have you feeling looser than ever.
Snowboarding can also improve your endurance, coordination, and of course, your balance. Ultimately, your increased heart rate and stronger muscles will improve your stamina and your body’s ability to cope with physical activity.
The idea of keeping your core tight and your legs steady, as well as changing direction and stopping your body may sound confusing at first.
Before you can become a star on the slopes, it is very important to get proper snowboarding lessons. As someone who started as a self-taught beginner, I have had my fair amount of fails falling square on my booty.
With the help of an instructor, you will get many tips on how to stop, the basics of turning, and of course, how to actually stand up.
The one thing that is essential to remember is how to properly fall. It is very likely that you will be on the ground more than gliding your first few times.
So, get ready to avoid putting your hands out to break your fall. Instead, cross your arms near your chest and let the wipeout happen.
Besides the inevitable fails, learning how to stop will take much practice. As a beginner, press the weight of your heels on the board.
Try to look forward where you want to go and you will feel more in control. As for your balance, dig your heels into the snow while your body is facing downhill. Then, begin to shift your weight to your toes and you will begin to move forward.
Another piece of advice—do not look at the floor. Your eyes and head determine where your body goes. If you look at the floor, odds are that you will end up on the floor.
In addition to receiving proper training, come cozy and prepared. Stock up on thermals for your top and bottom, as well as a waterproof jacket and snowboarding pants.
Remember your gloves, goggles, and helmet. The snowy mountains can be harsh, and it is best if you are prepared and protected for the worst.
Now for the snowboard and boots: it is imperative that you visit a snowboard shop and try out the gear. Everyone will prefer different boots and boards.
However, everyone should lace up their boots very tightly. Your heel should stay firmly flat when you lift your foot.
As for your snowboard, beginners typically use a flat board with rockered ends. This type of board is less likely to catch an edge.
Once you are all warmed up, stretched, and bundled up, get ready to hit the slopes!
Along with your healthy adventure-filled experience, you may also realize the mental benefits.
Being outdoors and active can reduce anxiety and stress. Once you start to master the skill and become more stable in your ability, your overall self-confidence will increase.
Overall, remember to practice and have fun. Once you get going, you’ll never look back!