Some people may think that exercising needs to be a routine regimen using machines like a treadmill or StairMaster. In fact, this does not have to be the case. This winter, those hitting the slopes with a snowboard in hand will feel the burn too.
Whether simply cruising down a mountain or jumping off ramps and hitting major tricks, snowboarders are getting a great workout while also having some fun in the snow.
Youssef Ghobrial, a junior kinesiology major who has been snowboarding every season during that time, says that snowboarding is a physically demanding sport.
He notes that when snowboarding, he feels the workout in “a lot of my core, a lot of my lower back and a lot of my legs. You have to use them for stability going down the mountain. If you decide to hit jumps and whatnot, those play a big role in landing and keeping yourself upright.”
Snowboarding is a lot more than just sliding down a mountain; it requires a lot of steering and balance, which comes solely from the body. Christopher Labrot, a senior history and theater double major, snowboarded for five years, often going anywhere from 4-10 times per season within that time.
“It works out your core and your quads because you’re using your core to help you direct the board away from obstacles or wherever you’re trying to go,” said Labrot. “And then it works your quads because your legs are bent to give you more leverage while you’re on the board, and after a long time that can be pretty intense.”
The workout may be slightly different depending on just what type of snowboarding a person engages in as well.
“Different types of riding elicit different types of physical workouts, but regardless of the type of riding, when you are on the slopes you are getting a workout,” said Andrea Du Bois, a kinesiology instructor and avid winter sports enthusiast.
Du Bois explained that the level of activity and engagement while snowboarding would also affect the parts of the body differently.
“Park riders (the snowboarders that perform the tricks on the jumps) use a lot of leg strength to both pop off the lips of the jumps and to absorb forces when landing. If you are just going for a cruise down a run, it requires the coordination leg and core strength to maneuver down the slope. Backcountry riders (tree snowboarding, extreme snowboarding) have to be fit to be able to hike to some of the places they ride. It also requires leg and core strength to navigate the extreme terrain,” she said.
Standing on a snowboard throughout the run provides physical benefits as well. When on a run, snowboarders stand in a slightly squatted position with their upper body turned sideways. Depending on the size of the mountain, said Du Bois, they could be in this position for anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes.
Even the act of strapping into the board is physically demanding, said Du Bois. Most boarders do this sitting down, but when they push themselves up into a standing position, they are working their core and leg muscles. Especially for new boarders who may fall frequently, this act alone may need to be done several times throughout a day on the hill.
“I feel like there is this stigma with exercising that makes people think exercise has to be hard and if you are having fun, you must not be exercising. This is so far from the truth,” Du Bois said. “Exercise needs to be enjoyable and finding something you love to do will help keep you fit across the lifetime. If snowboarding is something that fits you, perfect.”
Snowboarding is fun and excellent exercise, and should actually be considered when choosing an exercise routine.