As we dive deeper into Winter, it seems as if it becomes even easier to slip into hibernation mode. While gym memberships are available, sometimes a change in routine is necessary. Ice skating has a variety of wellness and health benefits that can be achieved by even the most basic recreational skaters. Continue reading to find out how ice skating can help you achieve your fitness goals, and maybe even consider signing up for lessons!
Find Your Balance
This one may be the most obvious, but ice skating can help dramatically improve your balance in a fun and interesting way. If you're already an expert Yogi, give standing on 4.8 mm thick blades on a slippery ice surface a try!
Work the Major Muscles
When ice skating, the body is using all of its major muscles, specifically targeting the core and lower body. When preformed recreationally, ice skating is a great low-impact way to work on your lower body strength and build muscle endurance. With more competitive figure skating, the impact becomes more intense, but the workout results are severely intensified.
Many skaters will be taught by an instructor to properly stretch before entering the ice. Stretching before any exercise helps to reduce the chance of injury, as well as work on overall flexibility. Stretching has numerous health benefits, including: improved posture and balance, less chronic pain, a positive state of mind, and greater physical performance.
Build Up Endurance
Skating requires you to maintain power over an extended period of time. Endurance training not only builds up muscle and mass, but also improves the way our bodies look, preform, and feel. When thinking about building endurance, many people resort to activities like running or bicycling. While these are excellent ways of building endurance, ice skating offers a low impact way to achieve the same results.
Strengthen Your Mind
Ice skating is an extremely mentally challenging sport, especially when skating competitively. Skating offers a variety of difficult mental obstacles and personal challenges that must be creatively solved in order to succeed. While this can be very frustrating at times, it trains the skater to problem solve not only in the rink, but in other areas of life as well. On the other hand, ice skating can also be very mentally relaxing. When blissfully skating around a rink (especially if outdoors) it is easy to let the stress of everyday life slip away.
Lose Weight and Love Doing It
Ice skating is an excellent way to burn calories during the winter months. Recreational skating for an hour can burn anywhere between 300-600 calories, with competitive figure skaters burning almost 1,200 calories per hour! Not only is ice skating effective for winter weight loss, but it is also a fun way to do so!
Kick Up the Cardio
Another way that ice skating can help you keep fit during the winter is by improving your cardio. Ice skating is a fun form of aerobic exercise that helps improve your cardiovascular health. Just like dancing, ice skating is a great way to get your cardio in without even thinking about it!
Boost Your Bones
Jumping when ice skating helps to improve your overall bone strength, and aids in preventing diseases like osteoporosis. When our bones are subjected to more stress, like when "loading" up for a jump, it is proven to build bone mass. Practicing even some of the most basic jump elements for 10 minutes a day can help to improve your bone health, especially in the ankles, legs, hips, and feet.
Regardless of age or level, ice skating has a number of different health benefits. If you're looking for fun ways to get fit during the winter, then ice skating is definitely for you! Consider joining a group Learn to Skate program, or reach out to local Skating Club coaches in your area!
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“Health Benefits of Ice Skating.” UNC Health Talk, 3 Nov. 2017, healthtalk.unchealthcare.org/health-benefits-of-ice-skating/.
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