Recently, I had my first go at the fun of cross-country skiing in Sirdal, it opened my eyes to this great Norwegian tradition!
Cross-country skiing is great for the whole body, mind and soul.
The steady, rhythmic sound of the whooshing of the skis over the snow is extremely soothing for the mind- allowing it to switch off all the worries and recharging the batteries.
The pure, crisp air gushing into the lungs and stunning scenery streaming in through the sunglasses is honey for the soul.
The balanced, aerobic motion is fabulous for the WHOLE body- how often do ALL muscles get involved in a sport?! No wonder they try to emulate this flowing motion in gyms with the cross trainers.
Obviously I was far from the right technique or rhythm, but I loved it none the less. Enjoying the outdoors and getting the blood pumping around the body kept me on a natural high with all those endorphins running wild.
Once I started to relax a bit more on the skis, I also began to value the movement trough the joint of the big toe- It needs to bend a considerable amount to allow good technique! You can gently articulate and move it passively yourself by pulling and wriggling it around gently, before you get out on the skis- This will be more even useful, if you do it more regularly, rather than just before your day out. (Careful, if you suffer with gout or arthritis, check with your practitioner first!)
I realised that the skating action/ fishbone/duck-skiing is quite a strain on the big toes actually, and I started to wonder if this could lead to hallux valgus - more commonly know as ‘bunions’: The concomitant collapsing of the ankle inwards could well lead to flat footedness. And the rotation of the hip (although there is no pounding action through the joint) will it wear quicker leading to arthritis? I began to wonder if the Norwegian national sport was the reason for so many arthritic hips walking around the towns here.
Quite soon, I noticed on myself that I was much stronger on one side of the body leading to a rotation through my spine on the ‘regular’ skiing in the lanes. This meant that one side fatigued much quicker than the other- And I needed to compensate with some very peculiar (no doubt very un-Norwegian!) motions to keep going— A symmetrical body is useful for exercise!
Lastly, I can safely say that the DOMS, (delayed onset muscle soreness) are present nearly allover my body :) However the DOMS are much reduced or nonexistent in those muscles that I diligently stretched with some yoga last night- So keep stretching after any (new) exercise, people, it works!