b'IN FOCUSLEARN TO SKI:SKI YOUR WAYTO HAPPINESS Its official - skiing and snowboarding are good for our mental health. We uncover how snowsports make us healthier, happier - and smarter.Youre unlikely to need telling that speeding down a sunny, snowy piste makes you feel healthy and happy. But while the physical benefits of skiing are obvious, it has only been in recent studies that science have proved that the mental benefits of snowsports are just as valuable. So what exactly is getting active in the mountains doing for our bodies and our minds?FAITH IN NATURESkiing inherently takes us into wild places and gives us a big dose of fresh air and sunshine, key players in boosting our mental health in the winter months. We humans get our vitamin D needs from sunlight, and vitamin D deficiency is a growing problem as more of us are spending most of our lives indoors or in the dark in the winter months. Vitamin D is proven to fight disease and reduce the risk of depression, and a day or a week of skiing means youll get a dose of all the sunlight you need, and yes, it still counts if the sky is overcast - just 13 minutes of sunshine has been proven to boost your health. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, has been linked to low vitamin D levels, and whileand how they work together. Skiings reliance on light therapy is often prescribed to sufferers, just onegood balance and coordination is the perfect sport hour of outdoor aerobic activity such as - you guessedfor improving prorioception, which can otherwise it - skiing has been shown to have the same benefits asweaken with age. And aerobic sports are also proven 2.5 hours of indoor light treatment.to help people think more clearly and increase A study led by Stanford University found thatcognitive capacity, meaning that skiers are likely to city dwellers have a 20% higher risk of depressionbe better learners in other areas of life. than rural residents and a 40% increased risk ofThe final mental benefit of skiing is our mood disorders. Since half the worlds populationfavourite excuse for a drink on the mountainside - lives in urban areas, its not feasable for us all to upparticipating in a highly sociable sport such as skiing sticks and move into a remote log cabin in search ofis great for our mental health. A study from Yonsei mental wellbeing - but the study also found that justUniversity in Korea found that the social aspect spending a few days in remote areas on a ski trip canof snowsports have proven positive psychological lead to better mental calmness and clarity. outcomes, and that just a single day skiing with others contributes to better wellbeing and reduces THE BRAIN GAME stress. Spot of science-backed aprs, anyone? As well as boosting our happiness, skiing can alsoAnd charities are catching on - charity improve mental dexterity, as snowsports are classedSnowbility have helped over 10,000 people with as is a proprioceptive activity. Also referred to asdisabilities to gain from the pysciological benefits of kinaesthesia, proprioception is our ability to feel theskiing and snowboarding. It seems the mountains position and movement of our different body parts,and the mind are perfectly linked. 154SNOWMAGAZINE.COMBack page opinion - ski mental health SL_SC.indd 154 17/10/2019 18:52'