Why you should use your running poles as cross country ski poles this winter!


As our Canadian fall turns to rain, slush, sleet, and snow - the options for outdoor cardio can start to become a little bleak. As badass as all of you coastal rain runners are once the snow hits, navigating the ice and the fluffy stuff can be a bit tricky. 

Lucky for us there's a super fun winter alternative once the trails turn white! One that, recent research suggests, also offers unique physiological advantages compared to other winter cross training options. And based on a recent CBC forecast, there will be plenty of time to hit the trails. According to Chris Scott, The Weather Network's chief meteorologist, the message from his forecast team is "buckle up because it looks like a stormy winter." Nothing like a classic Canadian sport to compliment what will surely be a classic Canadian winter! 

The Globe and Mail just came out with an article detailing "The jaw-dropping benefits of cross-country skiing". Below is an excerpt of the in-depth study:

         "Researchers in Sweden and at Ball State University in Indiana assembled two remarkable groups of octogenarian men. All of the volunteers were healthy, lived independently and were capable of completing a vigorous exercise test to exhaustion. The difference was that one group was composed of lifelong cross-country skiers who trained four to six times a week, while the other group didn't do any formal exercise beyond the activities of daily living.

It's not difficult to predict the punchline here: The skiers were in better shape than the non-skiers. But the magnitude of the differences is jaw-dropping. The results of a battery of physical tests, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology, show that the skiers had approximately twice the cardiovascular and muscular fitness of the untrained group."

If you are lucky enough to live where cross country skiing is possible, there is nothing quite like revisiting your favourite running trails in the winter with skis. If you don't - treat yourself to a weekend away in the cozy mountains of Golden, BC at the end of January. Retreat Golden puts on an invigorating Winter Magic Retreat that will let you experience the peace of winter with invigorating cross country skiing and the restorative practise of yoga and meditation.