Cross-country skiing is this and much more, it is a complete sport within everyone's reach: there are at least 10 good reasons to start practicing this sport.
Why choose cross-country skiing?
2. It’s a great calorie burner. Cross-country skiing is the most "aerobic" discipline among outdoor sports. A statement confirmed by several physiologists and technical trainers, because the coordinated use of arms and legs makes Nordic skiing a sport with a very high calorie consumption.
There is no comparable sport in terms of energy consumption and calories. It is true that the calculation of calories depends on many factors such as weight, age, basal metabolism and more, but 1 hour of cross-country skiing can easily burn more than 1000 calories.
3. It is an excellent anti-stress activity. Being in nature is therapeutic in the true sense of the word. Think about practice of Shinrin-yoku, the traditional and widespread ‘forest bathing' of the Japanese: it has been shown that those who devote themselves to this practice report lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), a reduction in heartbeats and a decrease in blood pressure.
5. It's a complete sport. Cross-country skiing involves all the most important muscular districts, making both the upper and lower parts of the body work.
Cross-country skiing is an excellent form of cross-training, i. e. the kind of activities to be practiced in a season, in this case in winter, to get prepared for other activities in other seasons, such as cycling in spring, or even running.
We can choose between two different techniques the one that suits our case: the skating or the alternating (or classic) pitch.
7. It's social. The beauty of this sport is that it can also be practised in company. The nature of the trails, the slower nature of this discipline compared to alpine skiing allow you to share the experience with other people.There are also cross-country ski rings open to our four-legged animal friends.
Regardless of style, we can practice it independently from the very first outings because learning cross-country skiing is much simpler than Alpine skiing. Once you have acquired the basics of technology, there is no need to be a professional to have fun. To improve more quickly, we recommend you take one or two lessons with a teacher.
9. It is a "comfortable" sport. Let us forget the torment caused by heavy ski boots or helmet. Few sports activities can boast equipment that is even less expensive than cross-country skiing.
Breathable clothing, shoes, skis and poles: the game is done.
10. It is economic. Cross-country skiing is much cheaper than downhill skiing, and the daily price is well below that of downhill skiing: between 8 and 12 euros per day for adults. Without the cost of the ski pass, the cost drops considerably. The same applies to equipment, whether it is rented or purchased.
How to start cross-country skiing
For what concerns sticks, their size is calculated by multiplying their height by 0.84 in the classical technique and 0.88 in the free technique. As a guideline they should come under the chin in classical technique, and at the tip of the nose in skating.
As far as clothing is concerned, it should be used something which blocks the wind allowing the skin to breathe. Another recommended type of fabric is a thermal tissue that keeps the body warm and dry while allowing the skin to breathe. The hands should always be protected with gloves, while to protect the legs it is great to use technical fuseaux, which are very comfortable, light, and leave a great freedom of movement.
How to train for cross-country skiing
Below are some suggestions to prepare for this sport.
The cross trainer is probably the cardiovascular tool that most mimics cross-country skiing movements. Using a cross trainer, we will then learn how to move around as this sport requires and, at the same time, we will do an excellent cardio training that will improve our lung capacity and endurance.
HIIT (High intensity interval training) on the cross-trainer is the solution for maximizing results. Use the cross trainer as fast as possible for two minutes with a high resistance, then pause for two minutes. Repeat this sequence ten times.
Cardiovascular endurance is a fundamental requirement for cross-country skiing, at least if you want to cover certain distances. You can train this type of endurance on a treadmill running for long periods of time at a low heart rate.
Training the core is very important in all sports. Having a trained core means preventing injuries and more resistance. It is particularly important for cross-country skiing. The abdominal and lumbar belt, in fact, must be suitably reinforced to provide power to the peripheral sectors such as legs and arms, which are fundamental in the thrust on skis.