Every four years, we gather around the TV with our friends and families to cheer on our favorite winter Olympians as they skate, ski or luge their way to the gold.
It's easy to sit back and watch these talented, hardworking athletes and wish you could do half of what they've accomplished. This year, don't just watch the Olympics, but get inspired by them. Here are a few winter Olympic sports you can try that will keep you active and that might just bring out the Olympian in you.
Curling, though one of the lesser known sports, has a very rich history and would be a unique sport for your family to try together.
Curling was developed in Scotland in the 16th century by Scottish farmers and took place on the many marshes that would freeze over in the winter.1 The principles of the game were similar to the modern game, although there were many differences in rules and equipment to allow for more regulated judging.
Curling is a team sport where all four players of a team are involved in each of their team's shots. It's a game that a wide age group can play, making it a perfect family winter activity. They also have junior size stones so younger kids can play as well without having to use the regulation 42 pounds.
Curling is played in about 40 states across the United States. It is a winter sport, but it is being played more and more in warmer climates with the growth of indoor ice facilities. If you live in a colder climate, there may be a club near you that will have open competitions and lessons. This website will help you find out if there’s a curling club near you: http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Curling/Clubs/Find-a-Club
These winter sports make it easy to get the feel of being an Olympian.
Skiing and cross-country skiing are accessible sport for the whole family to be inspired by. If snowy mountains aren't close by, consider trying them on your next family vacation. If you live in an area where snow is more readily available, exploring cross-country skiing can be a fun way to work out and enjoy the outdoors.
Snowboarding has grown in popularity during the last 20 years and it was added to the Olympic roster in 1998.2 Its popularity grew with younger age groups and continues to inspire young athletes to give it a try. If you're already a skier, you might want to give this sport a try.
Of all the sports at the Winter Games, figure skating is the oldest. In fact, the first figure skating competition was held before the Winter Games even existed, in 1908 in London. Singles and pairs skating have been a regular part of Games since Paris in 1924 and ice dancing was added in 1976.3
Figure skating is likely the most accessible winter Olympic sport to try this year. Ice skating rinks are prevalent in cities across the United States. Whether the Olympian's jumps and spins are what you’re after or just a leisurely skate around the rink, it's an activity you can do almost year round.
Whether you want to test your physical agility or casually try a new sport or even get back into an old favorite, let the Winter Olympics inspire you this year to get moving and spend time with your family.
This material is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor.
Last updated February 2014