Cross country skiing: a good way to build your fitness

in fitness •  last year

This post is addressed to everybody willing to get fitter, loose weight or even competitive athletes in running for example.
At a this time of the year, in most of the Northern hemisphere, the temperatures dropped and snow occurs in the mountains and even at low elevation for the coldest places.
For many people this is a problem as it is hard to drive on snowy roads and outside activities get harder. But why don't you take advantage of the snow and try cross country skiing?


Martin Fourcade, french biathlete, 6 times world champion,see his wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Fourcade

I am myself a cross country skier before being a runner and I feel that a good cross country skiing season sets me for a great running season.
In fact this activity is the best to develop your cardio vascular system without being subject to a high injury risk. It is also the sport which burns the more energy per hour because it involves a lot of muscles in the practice and is mostly practiced in cold conditions.

I am going to detail below the advantages of doing cross country skiing in winter for runners, cyclists, people who want to loose weight or get a better fitness.

*VO2max definition: VO2max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise (source wikipedia).

Cross country skiing to loose weight

If you are looking to loose some weight with sport, cross country skiing is one of the best to practice.
First of all the sport doesn't involve micro shocks as running or mountain biking involve, which is going to keep your bone structure and tendons healthy even if you carry a little extra weight.
But the most important about this sport is that you will burn in average 1100 calories per hour (example of a man with a weight of 70 kilograms at a speed of 10 km/h). This would make it the most efficient endurance sport to burn calories.

Get a better cardio vascular system


What a VO2max test looks like in running

For any athlete, cross country skiing is a great way to improve her/his VO2max. VO2max is useful for any sport but particularly endurance sports such as swimming, running or cycling. In average professional cross country skiers have the highest VO2max of all pro athletes.
The highest VO2max ever measured was on the cyclist Oskar Svendsen with a VO2max of 97.5 mL/(kg·min). His specificity is that he also grew up practicing cross country skiing. The cross country skier Bjørn Dæhlie was recorded at 96 mL/(kg·min) years after his performance peak.
In average, professional endurance athletes are more between 80 mL/(kg·min) and 85 mL/(kg·min) but cross country skiers often happen to reach higher numbers. This is due to the high demand of oxygen and blood from the muscles of the legs but also the arms, abdominal belt and even from the back.
For example, the results of this consumption makes me reach my maximum heart rate only by skiing, which I never could while running of cycling.

Great for cross training

As in summer many runners do also ride their bikes to increase the training volume, this is also possible to do so in the winter. Although cross country skiing is highly demanding in energy, it is possible to practice it way longer than running or swimming as you get little recovery times in the downhill and the effort is more equally supported by the muscles in all the body. For example, I still wasn't able to run more than a 100 miles, but I could do it two winters ago by participating at the longest cross country skiing race in the world (named GTJ 200) which is 185 kilometers, and without any muscle pain.

A sport for fitness and aesthetic adepts

As the sport involves a lot of muscle, you are going to be able to develop all these muscles only by practicing cross country skiing. The best advantage is that you are also going to develop your upper body where running mostly develops the legs. And look at cross country skiers physics, you will quickly understand what I am talking about!
Trying to have the right form in cross country skiing will also help you get more sheath, so what are you waiting to try it?


Here I am at the start of GTJ 200, don't mind the crasy looking hat...

To conclude this post, I really encourage you to not undergo the snow but instead make the most of it by trying cross country skiing!

I hope you liked this post and see you soon for another one!

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I love cross-country skiing! I got into it as an alternative for running in the winter and I love it now. I have my own gear at home and you don't need any special clothes. Too bad there isn't much snow the past few years. I only manage to go about 3 times a year.

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Apparently it looks like this year is start better. It is opening all around Jura mountains.

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Good to hear! I want to get started as well, just so much going on right now. I love langlaufen, my favourite place is Studen. I'm still a beginner as I only started about 4 years ago and so far I have only done it about 10 times max. Originally being from Holland, I never stood on skiis until I came to Switzerland, so I figured it's a bit late to ski, I'll do langlaufen. I never realised it was so much harder :-D

Do you have a degree in exercise science? You write like some one who does (I do)
Resteemed =)

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Thanks and I do not. But I had to learn a lot as I was competing in cross country skiing and I am now in trail running for 5 years.

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Well You sound very knowledgeable anyone could learn from your posts

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