Ice skating, whether in a heated indoor rink, on an outdoor pond or in your own backyard, can be an invigorating and enjoyable way to endure a long winter. All you need for a fun and effective workout is to be able to perform the basic skating strokes. You may be gold medal material and not even know it! So lace up and let’s get going.
- Keep your skates sharp. If you skate every other day, depending on the intensity of your workout, one sharpening may last two weeks. Professional hockey players sharpen their blades every day, sometimes even between periods. Outdoor ice is harder and has more ‘grit’ and will require your skates to be sharpened more often.
- Dress to stay warm. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing. As your body temperature increases and you begin to perspire you can remove layers as needed. Avoid wearing clothes that are loose and baggy.
- They will not keep you as warm and may hinder your movement. Jeans are not ideal for a serious skating workout because they get wet and weigh you down. We all know how horrible cold wet jeans feel! Warm tights and close fitting sweaters are the best options. If you aren’t in a heated arena, remember a hat and gloves or mittens.
- Do not forget tissues. All skaters get a runny nose because of the cold.
- Many community rinks provide learn-to-skate programs for all levels from little ones to adults. They also have pleasure skating times and adults only skates. Some even have free skating hours on weekday afternoons and during holidays. Call your local rink for details.
- Posture and Technique
- Always keep your knees bent. Skating is all about balance and the key to balance is bending your knees.
- Keep your back straight, not hunched.
- Hold your head up and look straight ahead, not down.
- “Stroking” is the basic movement used to get you across the ice. Transfer your weight from one foot to the other and push back and to the side to create the force to move forward.
- To stroke backwards, bend your knees and pigeon-toe your right foot in. Push off with the ball of your right foot from the inside edge. Glide backward on your left foot. Bring your feet back together for balance. Repeat with the left foot. Think of carving a big letter C with your pushing leg.
- Purchase or rent a pair of good skates. Fit is crucial. Be sure there is minimal room for your foot to move around inside the boot. When you are trying on skates, wear the same type of socks that you will wear when skating. Blisters, cramps and sore feet are signs of poorly fitting skates or skates that have been handed down one too many times.
- Never buy skates a size or two bigger for your children so that they can grow into them. If they don’t fit, they hurt, plus they can damage a child’s feet. The wrong skates will adversely affect your child’s skating abilities and that’s the kind of thing that makes kids give up the sport.
- When your ankles collapse inward or outward-usually there is a problem with the skates. There is additional leather or, in less expensive skates, plastic that wraps around the heel for extra support. If the top of your skate flops over when you take it off, the skates are too worn and it’s time for a new pair.
- Unlike athletic shoes, skates take time to break in. Plan short skating sessions to start. After a few weeks of skating regularly, they should feel comfortable and mould to the shape of your foot.