There are countless hobbies and activities that you can choose to get involved in, but many will pale in comparison to snowboarding. Snowboarding is physically and mentally invigorating, a workout like no other, and it’s awesome for many different reasons.
Snowboarding has many health benefits and is good for you for a number of reasons. Snowboarding is a mixture of endurance and resistance training and can, therefore, improve your cardiovascular system, muscle tone, and help aid weight loss. The mental benefits of snowboarding come from being outside in nature, getting vitamin D, and socializing with others.
If you haven’t already tried snowboarding I can’t recommend it enough, and if you need further convincing, I’ve outlined 19 reasons why you should give it a go.
1. Burns Calories
Snowboarding is a unique workout and you can expect to burn anywhere from 300 – 600 calories per hour.
Its hard work going up and down mountains all day and the additional calorie burn can help aid weight loss. Snowboarding is a mixture of endurance and resistance training and provides a similar workout to that of cycling or rowing, so after a day on the slopes, you can expect to have burnt off a large number of calories.
Another calorie-burning factor is the cold weather, your body will burn more energy in order to stay warm and keep body temperature up.
If you snowboard on a regular basis, the calories you burn can add up pretty quickly. Over time, you should find yourself getting rid of those extra pounds.
2. Strengthens Leg Muscles
Snowboarding requires a lot of leg strength and it’s an intense workout for your lower body. Every carve you make works the glutes, hamstrings, and quad muscles. Steering your board in a specific direction engages the smaller muscles that make up the calf and ankle.
Having strong, toned leg muscles isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, it also helps reduce the risk of injury, as you build a strong base for the rest of your body. The increased strength and stability will transfer over to all of your daily activities.
3. Builds Strong Arms and Shoulders
Snowboarding works as a great upper body conditioning exercise. Not only do you constantly use your arms for balance and stability, each time you fall and pick yourself back up you’re engaging your upper body.
Strengthening your arm muscles can help prevents injuries to the shoulder, wrist, and elbow joints and helps to improve posture.
4. Increases Core Strength
Snowboarding will work your core muscles in a way that crunches, and other abdominal exercises simply can’t. After a day of boarding your core muscles will be sore all over.
When you’re riding down a mountain you need to constantly maintain balance. This forces the core muscles to work hard at engaging, which improves muscle tone in the abdomen and overall core strength.
A strong core protects your vital organs and spinal cord. It can help prevent back pain as it provides a solid structure for your whole body.
5. Improves Balance
Snowboarding increases your proprioception, or ability to know where you are in space and also improves your balance. This will naturally increase your body’s ability to control itself during challenging tasks. This means improved agility, quicker reaction times, and improved overall performance.
6. Enhances Co-ordination
There’s a lot going on when you’re snowboarding. You have to coordinate a multitude of different muscle groups to carve down the mountain. If you’re executing grabs, and rail tricks there’s an even greater amount of coordination involved.
Co-ordination is defined as the ability to use different parts of the body together smoothly and efficiently. The more you snowboard the greater your sense of coordination becomes.
7. Increases flexibility
While snowboarding you’re continuously changing direction. You’re frequently creating different angles in your body in order to get into different positions. If you haven’t got the patience for yoga, a snowboarding holiday is ideal for increasing your flexibility.
Increased flexibility helps improve posture and reduces your risk of injury to ligaments, and tendons throughout the body.
8. Increases Cardiovascular Conditioning
Your heart is a muscle, and snowboarding gets it pumping. You will raise your heart rate significantly while boarding downhill. Of course, making your way down deep powder runs will push your heart rate much higher than cruising leisurely down a groomed run, however, all types of snowboarding have cardiovascular benefits.
This builds up your aerobic fitness, enabling better transport of oxygen-filled blood to the muscles. This will increase your stamina and energy levels throughout your day to day life.
9. Altitude Training
The advantage of snowboarding at altitude is that your muscles get a natural boost when more oxygen is available at lower levels.
Any exercise performed at elevated heights will be more physically demanding on the body. The effect is that when you come down from altitude you’ll be able to perform at a higher level due to an increase in red blood cells.
This is especially important for your lungs and breathing. At high altitude, it’s more difficult to breathe at first. Your body adjusts after a day or so. Pushing the lungs to perform under these conditions leads to increased aerobic capacity. You’ll be able to take deeper, fuller breaths enabling enhanced pulmonary function.
Due to snowfall, mountain air is incredibly clean and crisp. Your lungs will thank you for taking deep breaths of this ultra-fresh air.
10. Increased Self-Confidence
Looking down the face of that black diamond is scary. Deciding to drop in, is adrenaline-inducing. Adrenaline is released to encourage your body to perform optimally. Adrenaline can block pain, boost your immune system, and allow you access to extra strength.
The long term effects of inducing adrenaline, and getting over your fears include greater self- confidence in social situations, and heightened self-esteem. You know you can overcome your fears on the mountain, so you will be able to overcome fearful situations that arise in your daily life.
Being outdoors has been linked to a whole host of health benefits including lower levels of worry and fear. Snowboarding in the beautiful mountains will leave you feeling calm and anxiety-free. The peaceful, quiet sound of the wind through the pine trees will calm your nerves and put your mind at ease.
Exercise has been proven to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that when elevated causes anxiety. Since snowboarding is an intense form of exercise, you can expect a large reduction in cortisol levels after your session. This will in turn decrease your overall stress.
12. Elevates Mood
Snowboarding is great for your mental health. Breathing in lungfuls of fresh mountain air, feeling the rush of it against your cheeks and taking in the postcard panoramas – there’s a reason why so many hit the slopes, year after year.
Scientific studies show that endorphins are released after you exercise and snowboarding is no exception. Endorphins are hormones that are secreted within the brain and nervous system. They activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic, or pain-relieving effect.
When mixed with the hormones serotonin, and dopamine you feel happy. Dopamine is released during pleasurable situations, and serotonin is released during exposure to sunlight. Snowboarding is a fun activity you perform during the day, so you end up with the best of both worlds, a combination of positive hormones that put you in a good state of mind.
13. Increases Concentration and Reflexes
While boarding there are a lot of different stimuli coming at you quickly. You need to have the ability to take in the stimuli and react to them in an instant. Whether it’s a person you want to avoid running in to, or you’re doing some out of bounds riding through the trees. Quick decisions and fast thinking are important to avoid injuries to yourself and others.
When you’re not on the slopes you’ll notice an overall sense of heightened focus. Your reaction speeds will be quicker. You’ll be better at other sports and activities as a result. You’ll be able to concentrate on the task at hand and make quick decisions due to all of the time you spend practicing these skills on the slopes.
The altitudes of mountains mean that even if the air temperature is freezing, you are guaranteed more sunny days than at a lower elevation. This is great for getting a winter’s dose of vitamin D to boost your immune system, fight off a cold, or improve your overall well-being.
The wintertime itself will cause some people to feel depressed as the days become shorter, and everything seems to slow down. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression brought on by a diminished amount of sunlight.
Getting out on the mountain will expose you to high amounts of sunlight. Since the sun reflects off of the snow, the amount of sunlight you receive is intensified. Sun exposure has been shown to increase the release of serotonin in your brain. This mood-boosting compound is associated with feelings of increased concentration and focus.
15. Social Bonding
Snowboarding is a great opportunity to meet new people and make some new friends. When you’re having a break or between runs is a great time to start up a conversation with someone you don’t know. I’ve met countless like-minded, and interesting people on the mountain, everyone is super friendly and there to have a good time.
Us humans are social creatures and making new friends has a whole host of benefits. Socializing increases confidence and gives you a sense of belonging.
If you’re single the slopes are a great place to meet someone. Who wouldn’t want their significant other to enjoy snowboarding? Starting a conversation is easy as you both have similar interests.
Alternatively, snowboarding is a great activity to partake with existing friends and family. Its the perfect recreational activity for socializing and keeping fit. Some of my favorite holidays have been snowboarding trips.
16. Time Outdoors
Being outdoors is very important for your health, and wellbeing. As human beings, our natural environment is outdoors. In modern times we spend far too much time sitting in front of screens or behind a desk.
Spending time outside is scientifically proven to be beneficial in many ways. It improves your immune system function and can even improve short term memory. The great outdoors boosts your mood and overall sense of wellbeing.
The benefits of being out in nature are well documented and simply put, it feels good to be outside.
17. Cold Weather Benefits
Despite what you’ve been told, being in cold weather can actually provide a whole host of benefits. Studies have shown that exercising in cold weather or even just shivering can burn extra calories.
There are also studies to suggest that as your immune system adapts to cold environments, its ability to fight off infection gets stronger.
18. Better Sleep Quality
After a hard day’s snowboarding, you will be exhausted! Getting to bed has never felt so good. Exercise promotes deep and restful sleep. Benefits of a good night’s sleep include heart health, stress reduction, reduced inflammation, increased alertness, weight maintenance, improved memory, and enhanced cognitive function.
Snowboarding is great for you from the moment you get up in the morning, all throughout the day, and night.
Enjoy that great night’s rest, knowing it will help you get back out there in the morning to rack up all the amazing benefits that snowboarding has to offer.
19. Helps with Winter Boredom
During the cold winter months, it’s easy to stay indoors all day and put your physical exercise regimen on the back burner. Although it’s tempting to stay nice and warm in your house hunkered down for the winter, hitting the slopes will keep you entertained, fit, and healthy.
Limiting your activities to watching tv, and surfing the internet is not good for your health, or wellbeing. You’ll quickly become bored with little to do indoors and your brain will turn to jelly. Getting out on your snowboard is an awesome activity and the perfect remedy to winter boredom.