How to

13 June 2017

The Major Health Benefits of Ice Skating

Ice skating is a favoured pastime by many, especially during the cold winter months when temporary rinks pop up everywhere. The ice offers a great range of sports to partake in, from figure and speed skating to ice dancing and hockey, but it’s also enjoyable as a casual activity with family and friends. Whatever it is you choose to do, exercising on the ice comes with a plethora of health benefits and today we’re going to go through a few of them.

Improved Balance

One of the biggest problems facing most beginners on the ice is maintaining your balance so you don’t fall over. The combination of thin blades and slippery ice is something which can take a while to get used to, and falling over (repeatedly) is all part of the learning process. However, just like riding a bike, the longer you keep at it the sooner it becomes second nature to you. What’s more, you’ll be doing yourself a world of good for years down the line. Good balance is important for the most basic of activities after all.

Better Cardiovascular Health

You don’t need to go to a gym to try and get a great cardio workout when you can get the same experience from skating on the ice. The reliance on the aerobic system during this type of exercise means that it has great cardiovascular benefits, including increasing your heart rate. Doing this regularly can help boost your metabolism and strengthen both your heart and circulatory system, which in turn has a great effect on your overall endurance.

Stronger Leg Muscles

As with any form of physical activity, ice skating is beneficial for muscle development, in particular for the lower body. Your legs get a great workout when skating, particularly your hamstrings and quadriceps, with additional benefits for your knees, ankles and hips. Having good posture and balance on the ice also means a lot of strength in your core and so improves your back and abdominal muscles. Even the arm and shoulder muscles get a little bit of training depending on how much you use your upper body when out on the ice.

Increased Flexibility

The more invested you are in ice skating and the assortment of sports that can come from it, the more important flexibility will become. As with gymnastics, figure skating is one of the best sports for improving your flexibility because of the range and extent of the moves involved, although any physical activity on the ice is good for this. The impact that ice skating has on your knees helps strengthen your joints and should give you the assurance to try out new moves on the ice.

Calorie Burning

Turning to ice skating to lose weight may not seem like the most obvious move, but the cardio workout it provides means that it’s easier to drop some pounds from the increase in your metabolism. What’s more, the strengthening of muscles that occurs simply from keeping yourself upright on the ice helps burn excess fat and makes it easier to lose weight even when you’re not exercising. If you’re looking for a more exciting way to drop down a size or two, taking to the ice may be the way to go.

Improved Mental Fitness

Stepping onto the ice for the first time is daunting for many due to the fear of falling, and it’s that trepidation that can ultimately be beneficial for exercising your mind. By concentrating on your footwork and trying to stay upright, you’re actively giving your brain a workout and helping to improve your focus. Once you get the hang of gliding across the ice with few to no falls, your confidence will also see a boost and ice skating will suddenly become a very rewarding activity.

James Darvill

James is a passionate scriptwriter and reluctant poet with a talent for the dystopian. When he’s not staying up late watching the Simpsons he’s beating the world at Mario Kart, always with a glass of wine in hand.