Ice skating is an activity with many health benefits. It’s good for the body and mind and can be enjoyed solo or as a social event. Now is a great time to take advantage of the outdoor ice rinks for exercise in the fresh air. If you are looking for something to do year round, stick to the indoor ice rinks for a way to stay fit and active.
M. Kathryn Steiner, MD, the adult physician for the 2017 Skating Academy of Boston, shares a few ways you can improve your health by ice skating:
If you are new to skating or haven’t laced up since you were a kid and are fearful of falling, local rinks offer a variety of lessons for adults. Prior to skating, choose skates that fit well and are laced correctly. If you can’t bend your knees, the skates are too tight.
Strength, Flexibility, and Balance Benefits
Ice skating is an activity where you work almost every major muscle group with an emphasis on the lower body and core (abdominal) muscles. Maintaining your balance as you work yourself across the ice is a great challenge that engages your core and builds stability through the legs. Skating is a low impact activity, which causes less stress on the joints, in comparison to other exercises like running. However, once you begin jumping and spinning, skating can become high impact.
Endurance and Weight Management
Your endurance is built up as skating requires you to use energy over an extended period of time. The longer you skate the more endurance you will build up. The longer you skate and the harder you skate will lead to increased calories burned, making ice skating a good way to maintain or lose weight.
Though skating helps builds muscular endurance, it does not increase cardio endurance as many other sports do. Generally, skating is considered an anaerobic activity, as intense activity comes in short bursts.
Mental Fitness and Stress Relief
Ice skating is an engaging and fun way to exercise and relieve stress. While you make your way around the rink, it’s a great time to clear your mind or enjoy the time with family and friends. As your physical agility improves, your mental agility also benefits as you concentrate, react to the changing environment and build self-confidence.
Whether you are a recreational or competitive skater, this is a great activity for all abilities and ages.