"Jaw Dropping Effects of Cross-Country Skiing" is an informative article written by RunnersWorld magazine blogger Alex Hutchinson, who draws upon fitness research to discuss the many benefits that cross-country skiing provides participants and he mentions a few tips to increase your skiing skills.
Hutchinson makes a strong case for this aerobic exercise during Canadian winters to the alternatives of running on icy streets or pedalling a stationary bike in a gym. Highlighting the benefits of cross-country skiing, he draws upon Swedish research of octogenarian men that ski at least four times a week, who exhibit twice the cardiovascular and muscular fitness as their non-skiing counter-parts. This research corroborates other studies concluding that Nordic skiers' fitness “places them in the lowest all-cause mortality risk category for men of any age." Powerful stuff!
The upper body plays a big role in overall skier fitness levels. A Norwegian study compared the intensity of male and female upper-body activity during various cross-country ski techniques such as double-poling, G3 skating, classic and running to determine the effect on performance. Greater arm strength proved beneficial to propulsion, although it was suggested to vary techniques on different terrain to maximize a full body workout. Hill climbing was also described as a good thing, since research has concluded that short bursts of intense activity in a workout can be very effective and time-efficient. Some ski techniques for hill climbing are discussed and how to replicate this activity during off-season workouts.
For me this article was an enjoyable read as it outlines the huge advantages and training tips before the ski season hits. I recommend for any cross-country skiers; particularly beginners new to the sport or those with intermediate ability.
Hutchinson, Alex. "Jaw Dropping Effects of Cross-Country Skiing." The Globe and Mail. 7 Jan 2013. Web. 28 Nov 2013. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/the-jaw-dropping-benefits-of-cross-country-skiing/article6747824/>