Jonathan WisorBy Jonathan Wisor, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

A winter as rough as the one we are experiencing doesn’t have to keep us indoors. We are blessed with outdoor opportunities here in the Inland Northwest in the form of snowshoeing, downhill skiing and cross-country (aka ‘Nordic’) skiing. 

Cross country skiing is particularly good for maintaining fitness in the winter. In cross-country skiing, one uses the legs, trunk and arms to propel the body forward, providing a true full-body workout. But unlike some other full-body workouts like running, cross-country skiing is non-impact, so the chance of injury is much lower. 

Since cross-country skiing uses all your major muscle groups, it burns a lot of calories – about 900 calories per hour. This is equivalent to four KitKat bars, 10 Reese’s peanut butter cups, or 300 M&Ms. And all of this is experienced in a beautiful, placid, snowy alpine environment! 

Why not find out for yourself this weekend? The local nonprofit cross-country ski organization, Spokane Nordic, will offer food, fun, swag and cross-country ski lessons at its fourth annual Winterfest, this Sunday, January 15 at the Selkirk Lodge on Mount Spokane. Ski lessons cost only $5 per person and ski equipment rentals will be available on-site from local business, Fitness Fanatics. The lessons will be offered at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m., each running for 45 minutes.

Additional details are available on the Spokane Nordic web site.