Ice skating is great exercise. An intense session on the ice is a top treat for the cardiovascular system, working the heart and lungs hard enough to make our feet and fingers glow. Mix gliding around the rink with bursts of speed skating and we increase calorie burn and build endurance. Hampered by level of expertise? Even tottering, slipping and sliding takes energy, any activity is better than none and all activity is energising.
Skating is low impact so it’s gentle on our joints, and with the emphasis on quick foot movements and supple knees it improves joint flexibility. Leg muscles of course – particularly hamstrings and quadriceps – get a serious workout while the act of keeping your balance strengthens lower back and abdominal muscles. This is, as you might imagine, an excellent sport for improving balance.
Keeping cool atop those blades and moving in the right direction demands concentration and spatial awareness which means skating is, also, good mental fitness exercise.
Skating is tremendously fun and you’re bound to have a barrel of laughs but be careful. Nobody expects you to be an expert or demonstrate why you should be selected for the upcoming Winter Olympics. The general public tend to go skating only during the winter season as a leisurely activity. Here are some top tips to help you to skate safe:
Warm up before, try a few minutes of stretching/jogging/skipping and you will feel more comfortable and confident once you’re on the ice
Begin slowly, keep to the outside of the rink whilst you become familiar with the icy territory
Bend your knees slightly to maintain a balance
Avoid drinking! Remember, you’re treading on ice and you don’t need any reason to make your knees wobbly
It is likely that beginners will fall or collide with fellow skaters so here are some top tips to help you fall gracefully:
Wear gloves to minimise discomfort to your hands
Keep your hands on your lap or close to your body, do not put your hands out or on the ice as you may inflict a more serious injury upon yourself by wounding yourself with skating blades
Skate away and enjoy!
Written by Dr. Noel Duncan