A new study published in Frontiers believes there is a link between the activity of skiing and a lower risk of anxiety. The study observed a group of nearly 400,000 Swedish skiers who participated in a long-distance Nordic ski event over two decades. A group of non-skiers was evaluated during the same period. The result? The skiing group had reduced levels of anxiety.

There is a lot going on here and an article in Action News Now simplifies the very data-heavy scientific report. It follows the widely-held, conventional wisdom that leading an active lifestyle promotes mental health and reduces stress levels. Exercise and skiing can provide a much-needed distraction from stressful situations at work or home. In addition, being out in nature has well-documented mental health benefits.

There are also “ultra-sciency” explanations including lower.

“Exercise could reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which have been linked to anxiety. And lastly, exercise induces brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (a key molecule involved in changes related to learning and memory) that’s lower in people with anxiety disorders and in women, even after exercise.”-Action News Now

This study provides us with even more motivation to get out and shred this winter. Whether you are into nordic, alpine, or backcountry skiing, all of these disciplines have mental health benefits. Before you reach for the pharmaceuticals, try a dose of snow first.

Images from: New England Ski Museum Facebook Page, Colorado Snowsports Museum Facebook Page

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