Are the Norwegians born with skis on their feet?

cross-country-skiingCross country skiing has long traditions in Norway, and Norwegians are known to perform cross-country skiing at the highest international level. There is no doubt that Norway is one of the best cross country skiing nations in the world. And the best skiers today are treated as “pop star icons” by the Norwegian population and the media.

But why is it like this in Norway? First of all, we are located far north on the planet and thereby have the right climate for skiing, even though the last few winters were warmer than usual (but this is a discussion for some other time). In addition, we have many well-groomed slopes.  This, together with Norwegian traditions for outdoors recreational activity, gives us an unprecedented number of youth who start enjoying skiing at a very young age. Many of them continue skiing into teenage hood.  So much so that there are almost 1000 participants in the national championship in cross country skiing for 15-16 years olds.  Recruitment is good.

arnt_erik_2But these are only the competitive athletes, and there are even more recreational cross country skiing in Norway. From a public health perspective, we know that over-enthusiastic vigorous physical activity can cause an immediate rise of cardiovascular events, this disadvantage is substantially outweighed by long term gains from regular physical activity.  So to summarize, this enormous interest and activity in cross country skiing in Norway, does not only give us the world champions, it would also gives us a better health.

Arnt Erik Tjønna, researcher at CERG 

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This entry was posted in Exercise, In English, winter and tagged by CERG. Bookmark the permalink.

About CERG

The Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) seeks to identify the key mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of physical on cardiac health in the context of disease prevention and treatment. Named the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine under Professor Ulrik Wisløff's leadership in 2011, CERG uses both top-down and bottom-up approaches to combat lifestyle-related disease.

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