When the winter months hit we all tend to become less active outdoors because, let’s be honest, it is just too cold. Well after hitting the slopes and snowboarding several times a year, I can tell you that it is a very active sport and can do wonders for your health. You might be wondering “is snowboarding a good workout?” Well you can definitely get in shape, or stay in shape even in the winter months without having to hit the gym as much, and still have plenty of fun doing it. If you have mountains in close proximity and want to stay fit all summer long, then get your board ready for a fun, yet physically demanding time through the winter.
Snowboarding is a GREAT workout both physically and mentally. You can burn calories, lose weight, tone muscles, and improve your overall mental health with a good dose of snowboarding through the winter.
Just like any other exercise, snowboarding requires multiple days a week with several hours a day to be a substantial enough workout to reap the majority of the health benefits listed here. Even if you get just a few of these benefits, then it is a worthwhile experience to hop on a board and cruise down the mountain.
When the temperatures start dropping, then it is time to head out and get started, but before you do, make sure you have all the right gear. You can see all of my favorite gear just after the article if you want some of the best and more affordable gear. If you are new to snowboarding then you should think about How Many Days Does It Take To Learn To Snowboard and get yourself prepared.
Now let’s take a look at the health benefits of snowboarding and address a few of the questions I know that are on your mind.
Is Snowboarding A Good Workout And Is It Physically Demanding?
Snowboarding is an awesome full body workout because you tend to use all your body parts and muscles to move the board and maneuver yourself on the mountain no matter whether you are a beginner or an expert rider. As you snowboard, you are constantly moving and twisting your hips, arms, and legs on a normal day of riding so if you are not used to this, you will really be sore and know you have just gotten a workout. Typical days on the mountain consist of several hours of snowboarding and when you are constantly working your body, it can be very physically demanding.
When I first started snowboarding I remember going out to the Canyons Ski Resort in Park City Utah and spending several hours my first day just learning how to balance and turn and slowly go down the slopes and I was so sore the next day that I felt like I had spent several hours at the gym. The bottom line is, I learned first about snowboarding and how physically demanding it actually is. The following video talks about skiing, but skiing and snowboarding are very much similar in how they work the body so take a look at why these activities are great workouts.
The Physical Health Benefits Of Snowboarding
Snowboarding was a great physical health benefit for me when I was on the mountain because it allowed me to workout all while having fun and enjoying my time on the mountain. You can ask any snowboarder out there and they will tell you that it is physically demanding and that they have become more physically healthy with snowboarding in their lives. There are many benefits other than the obvious so lets cover a few of those now.
You Can Burn Calories And Lose Weight Snowboarding
Snowboarding is an aerobic exercise that offers great cardio workouts for long periods of time as you ride down the mountain. You can burn tons of calories as a beginner snowboarder and as a more advanced one that doesn’t need as much effort to get down the mountain. In fact, Liveabout says:
“An adult between 110 and 200 pounds can burn between 250 and 630 calories per hour snowboarding; skiing and snowboarding require similar amounts of effort.”
Of course how many calories you actually burn is dependent on how much work you have to put in and how much energy you exert when riding. For example, a beginner snowboarder that falls a lot and is not used to turning their bodies can burn much more calories than a more experienced one because they are constantly picking themselves up after falls and exerting more effort to turn themselves.
Which Muscles Does Snowboarding Work?
Snowboarding works all the major muscle groups in your body due to all of the twisting, turning, and moving that is required to snowboard down the mountain. Even though your feet are strapped into a set of binding, you even work them as well as your ankles because that is the primary method of steering your board. You are constantly tipping your feet and ankles forward or backward to allow your board to carve in the snow and turn.
You will use your major leg muscles such as your calves, hamstrings, thighs, and quads to snowboard down the mountain. These are your primary support muscles as you bend and twist the board and your body around.
Snowboarding even works out your arms and shoulders because they are used for balance as you ride. If you tend to fall a lot, then you best bet on working those muscles even more picking yourself up off the snow to start down the mountain again.
Can You Get Abs From Snowboarding?
Another one of the health benefits of snowboarding is an exercise that works the core and is very exhausting at the end of the day. Your core muscles include your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. Strong core muscles make it easier to do many physical activities and snowboarding is one of them. Core muscles also protect vital internal organs so a nice rock hard set of abs wouldn’t hurt much. If you do enough snowboarding, you can definitely get a set of abs, but it will take hard work and dedication off the mountain as well.
Improve Balance With Snowboarding
Balance will grow more and more as you get better at snowboarding. You are constantly having to balance your body in relation to the angle of your board, the angle of the mountain, and the speed at which you are going. Once you are able to learn how to balance your body depending on the movement you are making, snowboarding will become a breeze and you will find yourself trying more difficult terrain and you will test the boundaries of riding faster and faster to get the thrill of the mountain.
Snowboarding Increases Coordination
You are going to need great hand-eye and foot-eye coordination to snowboard well and as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Improving coordination also helps to notice subtle changes in the landscape ahead and adjust as necessary. This has lasting effects letting your coordination become stronger each time you take a ride down the mountain.This takes some time but as your skills grow, you will begin to notice that things become much easier overall.
I remember I could barely turn a board because I was having trouble correlating my foot shifting either forward or back to how much I actually turn. As I learned the right amount of toe and heel lean to apply through coordination, I became a much better snowboarder.
Snowboarding Improves Your Overall Flexibility
Snowboarding improves overall flexibility due to the nature of snowboarding in itself because you are constantly turning and changing the pace of your ride depending on the terrain. It is a great way to stay limber in the winter months when most people stay inside and don’t get the workout they should.
Improving flexibility by lengthening and stretching muscles can help prevent injuries, alleviate back pain, and help with overall balance (see above). A well-stretched muscle more easily achieves its full range of motion and improves the overall athletic performance needed to snowboard.
The Mental Health Benefits Of Snowboarding
Snowboard To Build Up Self-confidence
I know that when I first started learning to snowboard that it was all about having fun with my friends and getting to hang out all weekend on the mountain. As I started getting better I started to gain confidence in my riding and started to try harder trails, started doing jumps, and pushed myself even harder to become better at snowboarding.
This instilled a confidence in myself on the mountain but also spilled over into my personal life because I had the confidence to take to the mountain and hone my new skills. If I could do that, I could push myself in other aspects of my life. Snowboarding helped me build my confidence up in other places because I knew if I could be successful at snowboarding, I could use that confidence in my life.
Help Alleviate Stress And Anxiety Through Snowboarding
Here at Outdoor Diversions we believe in all kinds of outdoor activities and participate in so many of them because we just love the outdoors in general. Being outdoors in nature, having fun, and enjoying the world can ease the sense of anxiety that some people feel and it puts people like me at peace.
Interacting with friends and family in fun and engaging ways like snowboarding can have lasting effects that help reduce stress and is one of the major health benefits of snowboarding to me. According to ADAA.org:
“Exercise and other physical activity produces endorphins-chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers-and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.”
Snowboarding Lets You Meet New People
You get to meet awesome people while snowboarding and people are generally very nice on the mountain. I have met so many people when snowboarding and we stuck together for the day or even got together to take another trip to the slopes. Snowboarding is a great way to bond with existing friends and family, but also to forge new friendships. Meeting new people helps with self-esteem which allows you to better connect and be more personal with the people around you, and who doesn’t want to be liked?
We would love for you to join our Facebook group over here and subscribe to us on YouTube as we start to show you the benefits to outdoor diversions and show why you should take time to enjoy them and not be stuck inside.
My Favorite Snowboard Gear
Board – K2 Broadcast
Goggles – Outdoor Master PRO Goggles
Boots – Burton Moto Boa Boots
Bindings – Burton Cartel Bindings
Jacket – Volcom L Gore-tex Snow Jacket