Well, my friends, it’s time to cast that duvet aside and head up to Ski Callaghan. Why? Cross-country skiing is quite possibly the best winter exercise you can get; it works wonders for the mind, body and soul and, let’s be frank, outdoor exercise beats the artificial lights of an indoor gym any day! If you’re a regular to our 90+km of cross-country trails, I’m sure you’re nodding your head in agreement right now. Never cross-country skied before? Then read on to discover the host of benefits associated with busting out the skinny skis and heading into the woods…
Cross-country skiing, whether of the classic or skate variety, utilises your whole body. You’re not only working those legs, but your upper body plays a huge part in the movement too – you’re not carrying those poles for nothing! And if you keep your stride for the rolling up-hills peppered about our trails, your heart will receive a much appreciated work out too, a bit like a mini sprint. Short bursts of intensive activity such as this have been shown to make workouts much more efficient and effective.
Overall, studies have shown that cross-country skiers have approximately twice the cardiovascular and muscular fitness of non-skiers and suggest that the full body workout of cross-country skiing is particularly effective.
It is now well known that nature is good for the mind and the soul. Performing repetitive tasks, such as cross-country skiing, in nature has been shown to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The natural levels of oxygen in outdoor environments also help to regulate your levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects mood, social behavior, and appetite; it’s also easier for your body to obtain adequate levels of oxygen in nature, as opposed to polluted or indoor environments. This is why breathing fresh air helps to promote a sense of well-being, low blood pressure and low heart rate.
As if that wasn’t enough reason to take your winter exercise outdoors, the natural light you soak up whilst on the ski trails helps to normalise your sleep pattern by regulating your body’s melatonin production; the hormone that controls your internal clock. Keep sleepiness at bay until night-time and have a great night’s sleep with happily aching muscles and a happy mind.
Cross-country skiing is a great social activity. Ski with friends, admire the beauty of our old growth forests together, and inspire and encourage each other to go just that little bit further, to race up that hill, or to explore a new trail. And at the end of your ski? There’s nothing better than warming up around Callaghan Country’s fire pit (don’t forget to bring your marshmallows and smokies!) or sharing tales from the day and making new friends in our cosy warming hut.
For the ultimate social + ski combo, why not participate in Callaghan Country’s Social Ski events – gather some friends or make new ones at the Alexander Falls base before tackling the 14km ski into our beautiful backcountry Journeyman Lodge, where you warm up over a bowl of delicious chilli before embarking on the thrilling ski back down to base.
Dogs are good for the soul. Cross-country skiing, we’ve established, is also good for the soul. Why not take this to the next level and bring your dog on your next ski? You get a workout, your dog gets a workout, everyone goes home happy. Ski Callaghan includes over 20km of dog-friendly ski trails. Don’t have a dog? You can still get your share of dog therapy; there’s always plenty of pooches with peps in their steps at Ski Callaghan happy for an extra ear scratch or two.