Kids think of sledding as one of the most exhilarating and exciting wintertime activities. Sledding may be fun for kids, but it’s a different story for parents, who are usually tasked with hauling sleds uphill so their kids can ride back down.
Even if parents aren’t joining in the most exhilarating part, they can still benefit from taking their kids out sledding. Here are four health benefits of sledding for parents.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes per week of high-intensity aerobic exercise. Walking uphill is a form of aerobic exercise, so sledding with your kids can help you meet this weekly fitness goal.
Meeting this fitness goal regularly can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. Keep these benefits in mind as you climb to the top of the slope on your next family sledding adventure.
When your kids are big enough they can pull their own sleds up the hill, so they’ll get more aerobic exercise as well.
Sledding isn’t just a cardio exercise — it’s a strength training workout, too. Walking uphill tones and strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. The steeper the incline of the slope, the better the workout.
Strength training workouts like sledding do more than just build strength. These workouts also increase your bone density, improve flexibility and balance, and protect your joints from injuries.
You don’t have to race up the hill to experience these benefits. You can build strength in your lower body even if you’re walking uphill at a comfortable pace. In other words, every sledding trip you take with your kids will bring you one step closer to looking and feeling your best.
There are mental health benefits of sledding, too. Studies show that exposure to nature can alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Researchers found that even looking out a window or putting a plant in your room can have this effect. Going outside and spending time in nature will have the greatest effect on your mental health.
Being in a constant state of stress can negatively impact your health. Chronic stress can lead to short-term health problems, such as restlessness and muscle tension, in addition to long-term health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Eliminating the stress in your life may not be possible, but any form of exercise, including sledding, can make it easier to manage your stress levels. Exercise is one of the stress-coping techniques most commonly recommended by healthcare providers.
Engaging in any form of physical activity will increase your body’s production of endorphins. This “feel-good” hormone will improve your mood and put you at ease so you temporarily forget about the stressors in your life. What better way to do that than a beautiful day of sledding on the Western Slope with your kiddos?