One of the reasons that we moved HEALTHandMED.com to Cedar City, Utah from the Chicago area was to be able to enjoy the mountains. I have begun taking my daughters Liahona (age 13) and Saige (age 12) cross country skiing with the Cedar Mountain Nordic Ski Club. I’m kind of surprised how swift the girls can ski. Maybe they will be competing in the 2014 Olympics instead of watching at home? We were using rented skis, but I went ahead and purchased three sets of cross country skis off of ebay last week. On Saturday, the club went to the Duck Creek area, which is 30 miles east of Cedar City. This time we didn’t go on a groomed trail — we went off into undiscovered corners of the woods. It was pristine wilderness. We even saw a loon. I was taught many years ago in school that cross country skiing is one of the very best forms of exercise that a person can do. First of all, it is the ultimate calorie burner. Vigorous back country mountain cross country skiing burns 1,122 calories per hour and brisk recreational cross country skiing burns 612 calories per hour. It is also a total body workout — using all the muscles in both the upper and lower body. Because no single muscle group is overstressed, the activity can be sustained for hours on end, which results in a fast heart rate sustained over a long duration. This is exactly what our hearts need in order to improve their capacity to pump blood. Lung capacity is increased. For many people, the sunlight absorbed through the skin might be the only natural source of Vitamin D that many people get over the winter months. Cross country skiing is a low impact workout that does not damage the joints. And the second wind that a cross country skier feels during a good workout on the trail is second to none. Like I said, we’re hooked. One of these days, I will need to get my wife and three younger daughters out on the trails. Of course, another great way to burn calories and improve heart health and overall health is by to use the FIR-Real portable far infrared sauna, which actually burns 300 calories in 15 minutes. (even more calories per minute that cross country skiing!) You don’t even have to exercise but you get many of the benefits of exercise. I agree that this is not as fun as cross country skiing but it is very convenient to do in in your home and doesn’t take up much space. See FIR-Real Sauna.