By Pat Staszak, PT, PYT

Classic cross country skiing is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors and practice mindful movement.  The arms and legs move in opposition, the same as in running and walking, so it is a great way to cross train in the winter.  It is also a low impact cardiovascular workout and a fantastic balance challenge. Poles assist with balance but the arm movement also increases the aerobic effort.

Cross country skiing is also a wonderful way to work on balanced weight shifting.  Very similar to everyday walking, your weight shifts from one leg to the other as you move your body forward.  

As always, focus on maintaining good alignment as you move.  When you are skiing use your deep abdominals and gluteals to hold your pelvis level and your weight centered over the stance leg as you shift from side to side.   Your body and weight will be pitched slightly forward but stay relaxed and keep your head and chest up, your shoulders relaxed and your gaze forward.

Skiing on the Lakefront at Sydney Marovitz Golf Course  


  • Groomed trails are the best place to practice your technique.  Ski enthusiasts usually cut tracks after a snow.  This means you should be able to find some pretty good parallel grooves to follow.
  • Dress in layers, so that you can peel off top layers as you heat up from exertion and add the layers back on quickly when you stop.
  • Cross country skiing is hard work.  Your body needs both plenty of water and energy-sustaining refreshments. Don’t forget to bring water and snacks.
  • To prevent blisters and keep your feet warm wear two pairs of socks.

Where to ski around Edgewater

If you do not have skis of your own you can rent them at REI at 1466 North Halsted Street.

If you have any questions or concerns about starting a cross country ski or any exercise program call us at 773-907-3599 for an appointment with a physical therapist.  Most insurances do not require a referral from a physician to see a physical therapist; however, before making an appointment it is always helpful to be very clear about your coverage.  Please check with your insurance for your benefits and to see if a referral is needed to be covered.