Cross-country skiing is well known to be one of the best exercises to get fit and improve health. Cross-country skiing activates basically all of your muscles (legs, gluts, abdomen, back and arms etc.), and thus creates great metabolic and circulatory demands for whole body simultaneously, which is the reason why it increases fitness very effectively. An indication of this is that world’s best cross-country skiers are known to have the highest maximal oxygen consumption values of all human beings. Cross-country skiing requires snow, but skiing can be done also by roller skiing, which is enjoyable and perfect way to exercise particularly during summer time. An interesting thing also is that skiing not only activates your skeletal muscles, but also your brain.
One of the greatest things roller skiing does is that it activates also your arms, which we do not use anymore often in our normal daily life. This means that if we do not do strength training, arms are relatively weak compared to the legs. With roller skiing also your arm muscles get numerous (hundreds if not thousands) repetitions with each training session. Furthermore, whole body insulin sensitivity is not optimal or at least as good as it could be if we do not exercise also our arms. I have written about these aspects also previously and cannot resist mentioning this topic also here as it is very important. Also rowing and paddling are really good exercises in this respect, rowing being in practise as good whole body exercise as roller skiing can be.
An interesting thing also with skiing, being it on snow or with roller skies, is that it not only activates your skeletal muscles very comprehensively, but also your brain. This is very nicely illustrated by one study performed at the Turku PET Centre in collaboration with Norwegian researchers, where investigators studied glucose uptake, thus tissue metabolism, during skiing (douple poling). What can be seen in a picture below is that glucose uptake in the brain is in practise at the same level as it is in mostly activated skeletal muscles, which are arms and abdominal muscles. Therefore, skiing is certainly not brainless activity!
One of the greatest things with roller skiing is indeed that you can do it basically anywhere. You do not need snow to do roller skiing. Roller skiing is nowadays being practized more and more even Down Under, thanks to Roller Ski Australia advocates Vibeke and and Elisabeth, who are originally from Norway but have been living in Australia already for several years. They are located in Perth, Western coast of Australia, and teach and offer possibilities to try roller skiing there but also elsewhere. They are also very active in social media and if you want you can check them out and follow their Roller Ski Australia facebook pages for tips and ideas regarding roller skiing.
Finally, roller skating is as good activity as roller skiing. Many Finns actually do roller skating instead of roller skiing during summer time for recreational exercise. Roller skiing is also many times performed as roller skating, which is fairly easy to learn and if you have not yet tried it out, that is the box you need to tick next!