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If you are pregnant, a great way to keep your body healthy and mind active is to go for a good cardiovascular workout such as cross-country skiing. The best part about XC skiing during pregnancy is that it does not cause much impact on your joints and the fresh air and snow-clad nature around you is not only great for you but your baby as well. Plus, it makes you happy! So, the simple answer to the question:
Is Cross Country Skiing Safe while Pregnant?
Yes it is. While it could be a great idea to go for cross country skiing during pregnancy, try to avoid steep slopes to minimize your fall. If you have been skiing for a while, you know well how to balance your body and keep away from risky slopes and turns.
Indulging in XC skiing as a leisure activity is a great pregnancy activity and you should give it a try, provided you have consulted your physician before going for it.
Benefits of Nordic Skiing During Pregnancy
You are not only allowed to enjoy XC skiing during pregnancy, but Nordic skiing also offers you tons of benefits. It is unfortunate how some people believe in the myth that pregnant women should not ski or do activities on higher altitudes because the change in oxygen level negatively impacts the baby in the mother’s womb. The fact is, Nordics skiing during pregnancy is nothing but good for the mother and baby, provided the mother does not have any complications in her pregnancy.
Many skiing women stop skiing around the 5th or 6th month of their pregnancy because this is the stage when the baby bump gets noticeable and your center of gravity changes. Many women who start feeling the baby kick also get apprehensive about skiing with an unborn baby. While having a bump may well change your center of gravity which could result in you experiencing a fall or two if you are not very careful, the rest of the concerns do not hold much water. You can do XC skiing as long as you are enjoying it, and when you think it is time to wait for the baby’s delivery, you can always resume on cross country skiing as your post-baby workout. More on that later. Let us take a look at why Nordic skiing is good for you during your pregnancy:
Cross-Country Skiing is a Great Aerobic Activity
The best part about cross country skiing is that it uses all the muscle groups in your body – the upper body muscles that also include your arms that you use to navigate the ski-poles, the lower body muscles that you greatly rely on for skiing, and also your core muscles that ensure the entire body is working in great coordination (otherwise there will be nasty fall). When you ski, you engage your muscles in a push and pull motion to move across tracks and trails without causing any discomfort to your body.
It Takes Care of Your Stress Level
If you have done cross country skiing before, you know well what the fresh air, natural surroundings, and snow covered terrain does to your mind. It makes you feel good and reduces your stress levels. If you do your XC skiing in the morning, you will notice its impact on your mood and energy levels throughout the day. It is also a great getaway from your new busy mom-routine and is exactly what you need to make yourself feel good.
XC Skiing Makes You Feel in Charge of Your Body
New mothers often complain about losing the sense of control over their bodies – they have mood swings due to the massive hormonal changes going on inside their bodies, their pre-baby clothes don’t fit them well (if at all), and sometimes doing even the smallest chores for yourself, such as bending down to put on a pair of socks, seem like an errand. Cross country skiing brings you back in shape, slowly but eventually, giving you the feeling of being in charge of your body, like you were before pregnancy.
It Gives You Your much Deserved “Me-Time”
You never know what a “me-time” is until you have a baby. You crave doing something for yourself – something that makes you feel mentally and physically good. Putting on your skis and exploring the snow is a great way to spend quality time with yourself and to reflect upon things you have achieved and the goals you want to achieve. It makes you feel good and after your ski session, you feel you have done something good for your body and yourself.
It is Good for Your Heart
Cross country skiing is great for your cardiovascular health. It improves your blood circulation throughout the body is all the major muscle groups are active when you ski.
It Makes Your Core Muscles Strong
Every skier knows how good cross country skiing is for the over muscles including the core. When you do cross country skiing before and after pregnancy, this routine keeps your core muscles strong which is especially helpful as your baby exerts pressure on your core and back muscles during pregnancy. A stronger core also guarantees good posture support and helps you recover quickly after your delivery.
Cross Country Skiing Reduces the Buildup of Lactic Acid in Your Body
It is natural for you to develop leg cramps once your pregnancy reaches its second trimester. These cramps may continue to bother you until you have delivered your baby. The most common cause of such leg cramps is the accumulation of lactic acid in your body. If you go for cross country skiing on a regular basis during pregnancy, the workout prepares your muscles for all kinds of challenges and at the same time decreases the build-up of lactic acid. Make sure you drink a lot of water as it also helps in reducing lactic acid levels.
XC Skiing Makes the Winter Season Fun
It is natural to feel depressed or get bored during winter seasons for not just pregnant women but anyone. It feels as the winters have put our social and recreational life to a standstill. Well, this does not happen when you transform your long and boring winter days into cross country adventures. With a new baby to take care of, you may feel stranded with the world around you enjoying life. You can also be a part of that fun and go skiing on tracks. If you are a beginner or have not tried XC skiing at all and believe that winters can limit your fun, try XC skiing and see where it takes you to!
It Enables You to Connect with Your Skiing Buddies
If you are pregnant, it is a great time to enjoy social gatherings without worry about a nappy change of feeding the baby. If you have been skiing with your friends, pregnancy is a great time to continue doing that. You may have a change in routine once the baby arrives, so before that happens, call your friends for a ski adventure and enjoy your time.
Since pregnancy is a temporary, yet beautiful, phase of life, do not invest in your XC ski gear. Your weight keeps on increasing during your pregnancy, so it is better to rent out your ski gear and when you are finally back to your pre-pregnancy weight, you can buy a new one or switch back to your favorite skis.
A Good Postpartum Exercise
Once you have delivered your baby, it is time to go back to the mountains and enjoy cross-country skiing! Normally if all goes well, your physician will allow you to resume your physically active lifestyle after four to six months of your baby’s birth. And you wouldn’t want to miss the season and wait for the next winter to arrive, would you? Once your doctor gives you all clear, you are ready to go cross-country skiing.
Initially, cross-country skiing after your baby or pregnancy may not feel the same. It is natural for you to gain weight at this stage of life which could affect your skiing abilities (as you try to understand the mechanics of your new body, and how you are going to balance and use your gear). If you want to learn cross country skiing after giving birth, you should ideally rent your ski gear and not invest in buying skis as your temporary postpartum weight could directly impact the choice of skis.
Cross country skiing is a great postpartum workout for many reasons. It benefits new moms both physically as well as mentally. Make sure you take it slowly – do not expect your body to work magic on the snow like you used to before the pregnancy. Your body has gone through a major transformation so give it some time to come back to its normal skiing routine. Do not over-exert yourself in the beginning.
If you are a post-partum mother, you will notice that your ligaments and joints are more sensitive when you stretch or over-exert yourself, especially in the initial few months. Set small challenges for yourself and slowly overcome then and move on to setting relatively bigger challenges.
You may need to reconsider some of the ski gear you used before pregnancy. Since your ski depends upon your body weight, switching back to your old skis may be hard if you have gained a lot of weight during the pregnancy. Go for the ski gear that is according to your post-partum size and weight and once you slowly lose your baby weight, you can resume using your favorite skis or ski gears.
Post-partum cross country skiing is also a great time to reconnect with nature and yourself. Childbirth could be a physically and mentally draining process, but it is a beautiful journey too. Enjoy the calmness of the snowy surroundings once you are back skiing and reconnect with the thrill that your skis bring to you. Take it slowly and soon you will be back on track!
There is not a single pregnancy website or book that will tell you to not keep those muscles moving and exercising while you are pregnant. Cross country skiing is a great aerobic workout that keeps your muscles active and prepares your body to deal with the pains and aches of labor and even the life after the delivery.
If you have never done cross country skiing or any other form of skiing before, perhaps this may not be the best time to learn this sport as you may encounter several falls in the beginning (as is the case with learning any sport – cycling, rollerblading, snowboarding, etc.). Sometimes falling at a certain angle or intensity could be harmful to the baby, so if you can, either wait for the delivery to enjoy a post-partum skiing session or learn the basics of balancing and skiing before your pregnancy. You can enjoy XC skiing during pregnancy and many women go for it until they are six months pregnant or even more.
However, if you have a history of having miscarriages or difficult pregnancies, always consult your doctor before going for cross-country skiing, or any aerobics workout for that matter. Once your doctor shows you the green flag, you can enjoy the snow, winds, nature, and the thrill that cross-country skiing brings to you.