Cross-country Skiing Exercise: Five Reasons it’s Good for You

Man cross-country skiing for exercise taking a break to look over scenery.

Cross-country Skiing Exercise: Five Reasons it’s Good for You

With the lingering effects of the 2020 global pandemic, it’s still harder than ever for people to get out and exercise. But there’s one winter sport that you can participate in solo (or at least socially-distanced) that provides an excellent source of exercise: cross-country skiing.

Cross-Country Skiing for Exercise

Here are five great reasons why you should make cross-country skiing your choice of exercise during the winter months.


Thanks to COVID-19, anxiety and stress are running higher than ever. People are worried about their jobs, child care, catching the virus — so it’s nice to have some time to escape from it all. You can enjoy the peaceful scenery along your trial or strike off the beaten path and travel across pristine, untouched snow in the backcountry.

Once you get moving, your heart pumping and your lungs working, the physical exertion of this form of exercise can occupy a busy mind and turn off your brain for a while.

In general, spending time outdoors in nature will not only relieve stress, but improve your mood. And since you’re outdoors, you might also have an opportunity to socialize (at a distance, of course) with fellow cross-country skiers, who tend to be a friendly lot.

Calorie Burning

Cross-country skiing can be hard if you want to make it hard. Some people want a leisurely trip outside to relax, others want to push their muscles to the limit. Cross-country skiing is one of the most demanding cardio sports out there, and an excellent form of exercise.

It’s not uncommon to burn as many as 1,000 calories during an hour of cross-country skiing. Getting out on your skis and using your own body to move you up and down hills is excellent for your cardiovascular health and will improve your endurance.

Building Muscle

Cross-country skiing provides a full-body workout. Your movements are more about rhythm than trying to go fast like a cyclist might. If you push yourself and focus on efficiency in your technique and using your entire body, you can work many different muscle groups at once.

This form of exercise will strengthen your core, glutes, and lats. Using the poles also increase shoulder and tricep strength. Cross-country skiing is like doing a leg and arm day at the same time!

Joint Health

Fortunately, cross-country skiing is also a low-impact activity. Unlike jogging, you are not dropping your full weight on your knees. Instead, you slide your legs and glide, using controlled muscle movements throughout your body.

Since this is a low-impact form of exercise, you’ll run less risk of injuring yourself as compared to other forms of exercise, while reaping the cardiovascular benefits!

Staying Young

Studies have shown that cross-country skiers have good health outcomes in their older years. They have better cardiovascular and muscular fitness as compared to the general population in their age range. Moreover, people who train with cross-country skiing also have improved life expectancy.


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