Boarders profess hitting slopes gives total body workout

With a groan, Ali Borhot looks out the window to realize Calgary is experiencing 50 km wind gusts and blowing snow.

 Fortunately, for Borhot the frigid temperatures and fresh snow invite him to take part in his favorite outdoor sport — snowboarding.

“I used to dread the long winter months,” Borhot said. “But since I took up snowboarding I don’t want the season to end.”

“Snowboarding is a great full body and cardio workout,” he said.

Snowboarder and floor manger at The Source Skate and Snowboarding Shop, Blair Van Riesen, agrees snowboarding is a great way to engage every muscle group in the body.

“After a day of boarding you’re entirely beat,” she said.Seasoned boarders ride the halfpipe at Canada Olympic Park.

Photo by: James Paton

“Usually you’re going around 8 or 9 a.m. until 4 p.m,” Riesen said. “So it’s a pretty extended period of time where you’re using all the muscles in your body.

“It’s super good exercise.”

Brendan Arnold, communications specialist at WinSport Canada, knows it can be challenging to find activities to keep fit in the winter.

“During the winter months it’s hard for people to exercise and become motivated to exercise because activity outside is limited.

“Snowboarding offers a way for people to get outside and be active,” he said.

Snowboards line the racks at Canada Olympic Park during a halfpipe competition.

Photo by: James PatonPart of the challenge with snowboarding is being able to find your equilibrium, Arnold explained.

“If you’re just picking up the sport, it requires a great deal of balance and use of muscles you probably haven’t used for other sports.

“So you might be pretty sore after the first couple days of trying it out.”

He said, “Even for a seasoned boarder any time you go to the mountains or hill it’s a workout.

“Your muscles are always contracting, when you’re going down the hill.

“You’re always working. It’s not like you’re just strapping on the board and effortlessly gliding down the hill,” he said.

Van Riesen explains that leg strength is another benefit of snowboarding.Halfpipe competitor gets big air riding the pipe at Canada Olympic Park.

Photo by: James Paton

When you’re turning you have to use both legs and maneuver the board in the direction you want to go, she said.

“You’re using a lot of angle movements, going from edge to edge, powering through your turns and your legs have to work hard.”

Arnold added, “The majority of the time you’re utilizing your legs the most so they receive the biggest burn.”

But he said, “That goes hand in hand with core strength.

“When you’re strapped onto a plank board, having stability and balance and using your core are essential.”

So, if you want to work on building strength in your leg and core muscles, boarding is an excellent option, Arnold said.

giaquinta@cjournal.ca