Dr. Bernd Wolfarth in interview: True or false? "The saying is as true as it is old – providing you take into account a couple of fundamental things," explains senior physician of the German Ski Federation.
Fischer: What lies behind the saying "cross country skiers live longer"?
[Dr. Bernd Wolfarth] Endurance sports have many positive effects on the cardiovascular system. If you do endurance sport regularly and sensibly it certainly has a positive impact on health and also contributes to a longer life.
Fischer: Is cross country skiing really as kind to joints as many reports and newspaper articles say?
[Dr. Bernd Wolfarth] If you have the proper technique then cross country skiing is kind to your joints. A course in cross country skiing definitely makes sense for beginners - so they can learn how to do the movements correctly and avoid improper and excess strain as a result.
Fischer:Do you burn more calories in a cross country skiing session than in a normal running session?
[Dr. Bernd Wolfarth] Thanks to more areas of muscle being in use there is indeed a tendency to use more energy which in turn means that calorie consumption is somewhat higher than in a "normal run". Caloric expenditure, however, depends on the intensity of the effort and that can of course vary in all sports.
Fischer: Is it absolutely necessary to warm up before cross country skiing?
[Dr. Bernd Wolfarth] Warming up certainly makes sense but it is not absolutely necessary. If you start off at a reasonably moderate pace when you go out to enjoy cross country skiing then you will warm up during the first kilometres.
Fischer: What do you have to bear in mind when you go out in a group?
[Dr. Bernd Wolfarth] Here it is essential that nobody tries to do too much too soon and that every member of the group chooses their own sensible level of intensity. If this is not the case then overexertion may be the result. This is counterproductive in medical terms and is no fun either if you keep doing it.
Fischer: Does cross country skiing also help you to combat everyday stress?
[Dr. Bernd Wolfarth] That is definitely the case. Doing endurance sport sensibly clearly relieves stress. Besides the physiological component in cross country skiing there is also the positive "environmental effect" – doing sport in enchanting wintry surroundings is in itself a wonderful, stress-reducing experience which enables you to leave the trials and tribulations of everyday life behind you in a very positive way.