It's autumn again, and something about colder weather encourages people to hunker down in front of the TV. The nights are darker and the wind seems sharper. New shows, sports games, and movies make it tempting to grab a snack and lounge on the couch. Before long, January comes and couch potatoes look for a way to get active again. Going to the gym gets old after a week or two. Wouldn't it be great if there was an activity that was fun, social, and provided exercise all rolled into one?
Fortunately there is, and its been happening for over a century in Grand Forks! Curling is the ultimate mind/body workout for those winter months. The sport of curling works out muscles that don't often get used much, and its infinite strategy is always a test of the mind. You don't have to be a competitive curler to get a workout during curling season. No matter what your skill level is, you can enjoy it and stay active
Curling is all about balance, and the first thing new curlers will notice is sore quadriceps and hamstrings. Those are the muscles in your thighs and they are very important in balance and stability. In curling, they get used almost every minute you are on the ice. Every time you slide on the ice they work to keep your legs under you and your body upright. The sliding motion of delivering a rock down the ice can work and flex those muscles several times in a game.
The push/pull motion of sweeping works your upper body and core muscles over and over. It's much different from normal sweeping, so even if you have really clean floors, you’re not at an advantage here. Sweepers use their entire core for balance and pressure, using their upper back as well as the chest and abdomen. The average sweeper burns about 360 calories per game, and that can increase dramatically the more effort you put into sweeping.
Curling is just as much a workout for the mind as it is for the body. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the game is the complex strategy that develops at all levels. Often our sport is referred to as "chess on ice", and strategy is often the most difficult part to master. The important concept of team strategy really creates a bond between teammates. It's always curious how a game using 44 pound granite stones often comes down to a matter of inches or less. After the game, it's fun to talk about some of the great shots and close calls with your teammates and competitors. In a game like curling, even the greatest players are humbled from time to time.
We've got a big season coming up with our first full year in the new facility and the Winter Olympics in February 2018. If you are brand new to the sport, we have a Learn to Curl event September 25-28. Grab a friend and try something new, or sign up for yourself and meet a new group of people. You can register on our website. Get ready for curling season now and stay off the couch a few nights this fall. Your future self will thank you in January.