As long as you aren’t falling over, snowboarding is an incredibly enjoyable winter sport. It gets you moving and gets your lungs working at full capacity. But sliding down a mountain may seem quite a passive activity, you may wonder if snowboarding is good for you.
The 10 reasons snowboarding is good for you are:
- Improves your balance
- Improves your core muscles
- Gets you out of your comfort zone
- Strengthens your entire body
- Improves your resilience
- Improves your flexibility
- Helps you lose weight
- Clears your mind
- Gets you out of the house
- Puts a smile on your face
There are, however, a few more things you need to understand about how it positively affects your body. Snowboarding is good for you regardless of your athletic ability, but it can also affect far more than just your physical condition. We explain why snowboarding is so good for you below.
Is Snowboarding Good Exercise?
Snowboarding is good exercise for a number of reasons. All you need to do is strap yourself into the board and slide around a bit to understand just how quickly it gets your heart pumping. This combined with the walking needed to get to and around the mountain make it a great full body workout.
Your Snowboarding Ability
Like a lot of sports, you exert more energy if you’re just in the beginning stages of learning to snowboard. Your muscles have to work much harder than someone who already has the muscle memory which means more total exercise at the end of your session.
That’s without mentioning falling over and getting back up. Beginners will have to push themselves up a number of times on any ski run which, although sometimes exhausting, also adds to the amount of exercise they’re getting.
The Walking Distance
Some of the most tiring and intense workouts you’ll have while snowboarding won’t actually come from the activity itself, but rather the incredible amount of walking you’ll do during the day. Especially if you have to walk to the local slopes or get a bus.
A typical day on the slopes for a snowboarder may have them walk to the bus with their backpack and snowboard, stand up in the bus for 20 minutes or so, walk from the bus to the inevitable queue line, wait in the queue line for however long, and finally have some rest on the gondola up. That’s before we’ve even got up to the mountain.
You’ve then also got any walking on the flat areas of a slope, walking around the restaurant on the mountain, and getting back to your hotel at the end of the day. Couple all this walking with your snowboarding and you can start to see just how much exercise is included during a day on the mountain.
At every moment of the day, your body is making micro-adjustments to keep you stable. It’s adapting to the terrain, and preventing you from (or trying to, at least) faceplanting into the snow. That takes effort to achieve, and it can certainly be felt in your core and other muscles the day after.
Once again, this is likely to be more intense if you’re a beginner because your body is getting used to all these new movements and muscles working. Your entire body still makes adjustments if you’re more experienced, but your muscles will be conditioned for it.
Not all “good exercise” is about building the biggest muscles or an incredible amount of stamina. Snowboarding improves your flexibility extremely quickly due to the constant nature of pivoting and turning. In time, you should have almost complete upper and lower body separation when making your turns, though for those of us less flexible to begin with it takes a bit longer.
Flexibility is critically important not only for improving your snowboarding ability, but also for preventing injury to yourself. Too much of a sharp turn, or even just falling over could see you tear a muscle which would, unfortunately, wipe out the rest of your season.
Is Snowboarding A Good Way To Lose Weight?
Snowboarding is a really good way to lose weight. Snowboarding works your whole body, working out your lungs aerobically and conditioning your muscles. This paired with how enjoyable the activity is compared to more traditional ways to lose weight makes it a brilliant choice for many.
Running on a treadmill is a great way to lose weight, but it’s unbelievably boring for many people. Snowboarding, on the other hand, is ridiculously fun. You get to hang out with friends, improve your skills, take in the incredible scenery, and feel the freedom that snowboarding gives you. All the while, you’ll be burning calories without even realizing it.
You’re Constantly Moving
As we briefly mentioned earlier, snowboarding sees you standing up, walking, or on your board for a lot of the day. When you think that standing up alone burns 100-200 calories, you start to realize just how effective snowboarding can be for losing weight.
However, that does still depend on how hard you’re pushing yourself during the session. Doing a single run and then heading on over to the bar is obviously not going to do you much good. That’s why it’s always a great idea to snowboard with someone better than you.
The Restaurants Are Too Expensive To Eat At
One reason snowboarding is a great way to lose weight is that the restaurants and bars on the mountain operate at extremely high prices. That’s going to be particularly painful if you’re boarding somewhere famous like Les 3 Vallées in France, or practically anywhere in Colorado.
The only way to eat for us mere mortals is by bringing a packed lunch. It’s still going to be relatively expensive because it’s a ski resort, but nothing like what’s on offer up the mountain. That way you won’t be stuffing your face with food and will be raring to get back on the slopes.
It’s High Intensity
Not only is snowboarding a great way to get your heart pumping throughout the day, but it’s also extremely high intensity at times too. You may see a point in the distance that you wish to ride to and choose to get there as quickly as possible. That means quick, aggressive turns, intense focus, and mind over matter.
You’ll feel your heart beating at the end, but it may not be such a problem mid-run. By constantly activating your muscles and your lungs at the same time, snowboarding ends up being a great way to lose weight. If you really want to make the most of it, make sure you’re properly including small bursts of high-intensity riding where you can feel you’re pushing yourself in both breathing and muscles.
By interspersing this with periods of rest, you make sure to maximize your weight loss while snowboarding as well as giving your muscles and lungs a chance to recover. We all board at our own pace, so it’s something you can do on any kind of snowboard trip.
Is Snowboarding Good For Your Mental Health?
Snowboarding can be very good for your mental health. Getting out into the clear air of the mountains with friends or by yourself can be very peaceful. The focus needed to get down a run helps clear your mind of negative thoughts, and it gives you some alone time away from stress of daily life.
Time By Yourself
Sometimes we just need time by ourselves. Not to get away from anything in particular, but just to recharge with our own company. Spending time by yourself when snowboarding is a fantastic way to take care of your mental health.
You don’t necessarily have to go up the mountain and spend the day on your own, as sometimes it’s just as easy as doing a run by yourself and meeting up with your friends afterward. Of course, it’s important to make sure you’re competent enough to snowboard by yourself and judge the conditions safely, but it can do you the world of good.
That time by yourself may help you get hindsight or a clearer understanding of a certain situation that happened. Whilst being alone is incredibly important in times like these, being in the mountains makes it a lot easier.
When you’re out there, in the presence of these giant natural pieces of rock, it truly gives you a feeling of being part of something larger than yourself. This can help you understand how some of your problems may not deserve as much negative thought time as you’re giving them.
Time With Friends
Probably the most popular way that snowboarding is good for your mental health is when you cruise with friends. The sense of friendship and camaraderie you can build in just one session is something quite unachievable in other situations.
It doesn’t even really matter if you have a bad day on the slopes. The fact that you’re all together makes all those problems seem close to insignificant. Even for just a few hours, your mind is clear of intrusive and unhelpful thoughts and filled with happiness and joy from living in the moment.
Quite simply, if you’re lucky enough to be able to snowboard with your friends, do it. Make an effort and get up that mountain because your friendships will develop far more deeply and quickly than they would by not doing such activities together.
Skiing vs Snowboarding – Which Is A Better Workout?
For the average skier or snowboarder, skiing is the better workout. The average skier will burn around 500 calories per hour, while a snowboarder will burn around 450 calories per hour. However, these numbers are just estimates, and it fluctuates depending on various factors.
Everything depends on your level. Beginner skiers and snowboarders will always burn more calories than an intermediate or advanced person would. But which discipline is the better workout at this stage?
If you’ve ever tried snowboarding, you know that most of the time your first couple of days will be spent on your backside or on your face. There’s no getting around it, it’s almost like a rite of passage that everyone has to accept. Skiers tend to catch on faster and spend less time pushing themselves up off the snow, using less energy.
This means beginner snowboarders are adding a lot of pushups into their workout that beginner skiers aren’t. So, while in the long run skiers may burn slightly more calories, snowboarders burn more to begin with.
10 Reasons Snowboarding Is Good For You
1. Improves Your Balance
Upon first hearing it, you may not think that improving your balance would be that important for you and your health, but the answer is quite the contrary. Balance plays a vital role in both our day-to-day lives and on the slopes.
Balance is a crucial component of snowboarding for two reasons. The first is that by improving your balance you will be able to quickly improve the rest of your snowboarding ability. The second reason is that good balance can be the difference between injuring yourself and easily adapting to the terrain.
2. Improves Your Core Muscles
Your core is one of the most important muscle groups you use when snowboarding. By building these muscles, you’ll improve your posture, stamina, and quality of snowboarding.
Luckily, snowboarding is something that activates your core muscles at almost every point. That means the best way to strengthen those muscles is to do more snowboarding. So, improving your core strength can even be fun!
3. Gets You Out Of Your Comfort Zone
By snowboarding frequently, you begin to realize what your comfort zone is. Whether that’s a gentle blue run, a red, or just anything other than off-piste, it’s a place you feel happy and safe in.
It only takes one or two moments of courage to realize that your comfort zone might just be a figment of your imagination. Once your body and mind realize you can do better and push yourself harder than before, those comfort zones start to fade away and your entire snowboarding routine becomes a lot more interesting.
Do this enough, and it’ll start seeping into non-snowboarding activities as well. Public speaking, salary raise, or relationships, could all be positively impacted by deciding your comfort zone is holding you back. Snowboarding is the ideal opportunity to change that.
At the same time, snowboarding is a great activity to learn to understand your limits and when not to push them. Of course, you need to figure out where those limits are to begin with, but it’s important to not constantly stay out of your comfort zone.
It’s choices like this that can be the difference between going to the emergency room and enjoying the rest of your season. Only you know where your limits lie, and exploring them carefully is the only way you know when enough is enough.
4. Strengthens Your Entire Body
We’ve just talked about how snowboarding is a fantastic workout for your core, but it also works out pretty much every other muscle you have. That means you’ll come home from the mountain knowing you’ve given yourself a full-body workout, not just leg day.
The reason that your whole body is active as opposed to just your legs is simple. Adapting to the terrain and staying balanced takes strength, and not just from your core. Every second you ride down the slopes, every one of your muscles is making micro-adjustments to keep you standing.
Depending on your snowboarding ability, you will definitely be using some muscles far more than advanced or intermediate boarders. Although that means you’ll likely be more knackered by the day’s end, it means your body is working harder and therefore going to strengthen quicker.
5. Improves Your Resilience
We’ve all been there. You get up the mountain and you fall over, completely knocking your confidence. Add in the terrible conditions, and you’re struggling to collect the willpower needed to get up and get snowboarding again.
If there ever was a situation that trains you to become a more resilient person both on and off the mountain, it’s learning to snowboard. If you haven’t fallen over at least 10 times by lunch, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Snowboarding, in the beginning, trains you to focus on your reasons for attempting a task and forces you to get back up and push on. How else are you going to get down the mountain?
6. Improves Your Flexibility
We’ve briefly talked about it at the beginning of the article but snowboarding drastically improves your flexibility after only a few sessions. Once again, this is something that will greatly improve your health on and off the mountain.
Improving your flexibility greatly reduces your chance of injury and ensures your body recovers well if you do have one. It also improves your posture which, as we know, is vital to your snowboarding ability.
In fact, flexibility is so important that it might well be worth practicing yoga for a while before the season starts. Nothing too fancy, but some gentle stretches in the morning could go a very long way on the slopes.
7. Helps You Lose Weight
Snowboarding is an absolutely fantastic way to lose weight. The main reason it’s so good is that it’s a high-intensity workout. High-intensity workouts are one of the best ways to lose weight. In snowboarding terms that means aggressive turns, riding fast, and pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, not just hanging out in the mountain bar.
8. Clears Your Mind
Blue skies, fresh snow, big mountains, and the hum of chairlifts. Is there any better way to clear your mind? If you’re feeling mentally weighed down by the problems of the modern world, it’s hopefully nothing that cruising down a freshly groomed slope can’t fix.
It’s not only the scenery that helps keep your mind free from distraction. If you’re a beginner or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone even a little bit, you’ll be too busy consciously thinking about what it is you’re doing.
That might not sound like the most relaxing thing to do but channeling all your stray thoughts onto a single thing is epitome of mindfulness. You’ll end up finishing your run, or day’s boarding, and return to the village with a new sense of mental clarity that you didn’t have before.
This could eventually set the ground for a daily mindfulness practice that would look to help you discover that feeling at any moment throughout the day. This is certainly not something a lot of people think when talking about snowboarding, but it turns out it’s an incredible activity for your mental health.
9. Gets You Out Of The House
Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in our old ways, in a rut that we are unable to get out of. In times such as those, most people are given advice to “go for a walk” and “clear your head.” Well, we already know snowboarding is great for your mind, and for a lot of people, going out to the mountains isn’t something they’d usually do.
At the very least, snowboarding gets you out of the house and into the fresh air. At its best it’ll shake up your routine, have you travel to a different country, and potentially be a life-changing experience. Whichever category your fall into, they’re extremely good for you and your mental health.
10. Puts A Smile On Your Face
At the end of the day, the biggest way that snowboarding is good for you is because it puts a smile on your face. Sure, it’s a fantastic workout that activates almost every muscle in your body, but your happiness still comes out on top.
You might be thinking that you’re unlikely to be happy if you’re falling over all day in the freezing cold, but when you bring those memories back with you after a day on the mountain, you’ll see it differently.
The age-old saying “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, it matters who you’re with” is completely true. So, what about doing something incredibly enjoyable with people you love? It compounds the happiness effect and is bound to give you a rush of endorphins at multiple points throughout the day.
As a sport, snowboarding is about as good for you as any sport can get. It’s especially good for you if you’re a beginner, or someone willing to spend the day pushing yourself. Not only is it great for you physically, but the mental clarity it gives is something many people enjoy snowboarding for.