Cross-country skiing is safe, cost-effective and fun for all ages |

Cross-country skiing is safe, cost-effective and fun for all ages

Ileene Lipkin
Special to the Tribune

Did you know that cross-country skiing is the number one all-around cardio exercise in winter sports? This sport is one of those activities that seem to good to be true. It’s fun, easy to learn, cheap to do and gives you just about the best total body workout. Medical professionals say that is the safest, as this sport is low-impact, and is an excellent low-stress outdoor exercise.

A cross-country workout incorporates the heart, lungs and all the muscle groups. Skiers can burn as many as 600 to 900 calories per hour depending on their size and weight. The glide and kick techniques combined with the poling motion can prove a more complete workout than running or cycling, both of which emphasizes lower body muscles. Most people see dramatic changes in strength and endurance. Skiing also provides a great diversion from the run-bike-swim cycle.

With today’s economy, cross-country skiing is one of the most affordable snow sport activity. Depending on the lodge and location, an average day trip costs $12 for a trail pass. It costs about $35 for a trail pass, rental equipment and sometimes a lesson is thrown into the package.

Cross-country skiing is also extremely psychological. Doing the same activities day-in and day-out become monotonous and this sport can give people a break in the routine

It can also be an opportunity to spend time with our family and friends. Many young children love this sport.

Beginners should learn with an instructor on a groomed trail. Those with experience can cross-country at ski resorts and other recreation areas.

Dress in layers. Burning so many calories can generate a lot of heat.

People older than 45 and/or those who do not do regular physical activity should talk to their doctor. It is also advisable to slowly build up the amount of time spent skiing to prevent tendonitis of your arms, knees and shoulders.

Ileene Lipkin is a certified fitness and exercise instructor and the author of “Get Ready, Cause Here I Come.”

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