Skiing as a work-out

Many people associate downhill skiing with a great experience, and clearly that is the case. But skiing is so much more than fun-filled days on the slopes with family and friends.

Downhill skiing - a fun all-round workout
As a holiday skier, you probably don't think any further than that it takes some effort from every part of your body to get down a piste. The fact is that skiing is an all-round work-out that is suitable for all - irrespective of gender, age and level of experience.

We talked to Robert Nilsson, fitness coach for the Swedish Alpine World Cup Women's Team, who told us that skiing helps build up the body's strength, stamina, coordination, agility and balance. So, while you're outside having a great day, you're also working out lots of different muscles and bodily functions.

You also burn quite a few calories skiing. Nilsson explains that a 65 kg woman would burn around 200 calories in half an hour's skiing, while a man weighing 85 kg could expect to burn around 250 calories. That's quite a lot of calories over a whole day, in other words. 

How many calories did you burn?
Using what's known as a Metabolic Energy Turnover - or MET - value, which expresses the amount of energy the body uses in a given activity, you can calculate for yourself how many calories you have worked off in the course of a day. It all depends on your skiing style, your weight and how long you skied for. 

Example MET values by activity

1,0        Sleeping, lying down
1,5 Sitting
2,3 Light intensity activity, standing up, washing things, cooking
2,8 Slow walk
3,5 Light intensity physical work, cleaning
4-4,5 Brisk walk, golf
5,0 Aerobics, no jumping
5,5 Physical work, lifting and carrying, gardening
6,0 Strength training with weights, swimming, tennis, badminton, cycling
7,0 Aerobics (involving jumping), running, football, hockey
8,0 Muscle exercises using your own body weight, sit-ups, push-ups, climbing stairs
10,0 Skipping, cycling at race speed

Example MET values for skiing

5 - light skiing, beginner
6 - average skiing, intermediate skier
8 - skiing hard, competition skier

Once you have decided the level of your skiing, it's easy to work out how much energy you have consumed, and thus how many calories you have worked off. Take your body weight in kilos and multiply it by the MET value. This gives you your calorie consumption per hour.

Example calculation
Weight: 70 kg
MET value: 5.5 (a little above an intermediate skier) 
Duration of skiing: 45 mins (0.75)

70 x 5.5 = 385 calories per hour
385 x 0.75 = 289 calories in total