Winter sports and their benefits

Aha! Winters in Quebec!

Even though some appreciate the many fall colours, the warm summer sun and the rebirth of spring, but after a gray November, we can all say that a white blanket of snow over the ground does make for beautiful scenery. As for winter sports, there’s so much to choose from! In short, since we have such a long and beautiful winter, we might as well enjoy it!

Below are some benefits of the most popular winter sports:

Cross-country skiing

Thank you to the Norwegians, who invented a sport with so many benefits. There’s nothing wrong with alpine skiing, which offers its own benefits, but cross-country skiers are not afraid of the wind in the lifts or the queues at the bottom of the slopes. The quality of clothing and equipment related to cross-country skiing has taken a giant leap forward in recent years, making this sport very comfortable and more enjoyable. In addition, the technology allows for minimal preparation. Skin skis offer good grip in push mode, without slowing down the descent. In this case, there’s no waxing required! Cross-country skiing can be practised almost anywhere, no entrance fees are required, so it costs next to nothing. Then onto guaranteed improved cardio, as well as endurance, muscle strength and the immune system.

Alpine skiing and snowboarding

They may not be the most beneficial sports for cardio, but Alpine skiing and snowboarding have their own advantages. It develops muscles in the quadriceps, glutes, calves, abs, back and shoulders. They also have a positive effect on balance, agility and coordination, thus honing the spatiotemporal sense. Again, appropriate clothing will protect against the cold with breathability in warmer weather. And let’s not forget about the helmet! An essential accessory.


For this sport, thanks are due to our Northern aboriginal communities. Their thousand-year-old invention has been perfected at increasing speed in recent years. Manufactured today with lightweight metal, structures based on polymers and reinforced composite materials, snowshoes are perfect for long hikes, offering both comfort and performance. The benefits of regular snowshoeing are mostly similar to those of cross-country skiing. They are synonymous with good cardio, endurance and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Not to mention that it allows you to discover pristine areas, off the beaten track.

Hockey and skating

As for skates, our tribute go to the Quebecers who invented and perfected hockey, which has become a recognized and popular sport at the international level.

Hockey, ringette, figure skating, or just simply skating, whether you’re on a skating rink or a frozen lake, you’ll improve your cardiovascular capacities and your motor coordination. For children, being on the ice regularly will improve their posture in the long term. Skating strengthens muscles and bones, in addition to relieving stress and tension. Beware of going overdoing it! In the heat of the moment, some might be tempted to go a bit overboard. Not to call them out specifically, but baby boomers sometimes have to moderate their enthusiasm to avoid injury. Hockey remains a contact sport and therefore caution is advised.

No matter the technique, activity or different equipment, these sports all have something in common: They improve health, overall mood and promote social integration!

So, lace up your boots and go play outside!


By Roger Lemay