Looking for a fun sport to do over the winter? Or maybe you’re seeking some way to cool off during the summer? Ice skating is just the sport you need.
Whether it’s cold or warm, ice skating can prove to be an excellent activity for any occasion. In fact, you don’t need to look for a frozen lake to skate on as most major cities already have indoor ice skating rinks that stay cool and solid even if it’s scorching outside.
Of course, ice skating is not just for the pros. You can always make it a hobby even if you don’t intend to join any competition. After all, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the brisk air in their lungs, forgetting all their worries as they glide across the ice?
Ice skating can also serve as a great way to improve your overall well-being, no matter your age or gender. Below are five health benefits you can enjoy from this ice sport:
Helps Relieve Stress
Physical activities cause the body to release endorphins, a biochemical considered to be a “feel good” hormone. This is the very reason why working out is an effective way to ease stress.
If you’re going to pick an exercise to help you get through stress, ice skating should be your top choice. Aside from giving you a confidence boost as you learn skating moves like spinning and crossovers, it can also serve as an opportunity for you to unwind while hanging out with friends. Ice skating is also a great excuse to soak up nature’s wonders and breathe in the fresh air (if done outdoors).
Plus, ice skating can take your mind off of the things that caused your stress in the first place. It ensures that you’re focused on the present and helps you concentrate on maintaining your balance with your surroundings. In this way, it can serve as a form of meditation that can help calm the mind.
2 – Bolsters Endurance and Boosts Cardio Health
Ice skating can also help you build your endurance. Although any exercise performed over an extended period can do this, skating has the advantage of keeping the entire body engaged for longer. This means you can improve the endurance of the many individual muscles involved in the activity.
As an aerobic exercise, this ice sport can also help boost your cardiovascular health. In fact, experts consider ice skating as a biomechanical combination of running and swimming because of the similarity in movements the sport has with the other two.
Like running, an ice skater’s legs are constantly bent down and moving, except during aerial moves like flying spins. Skating also mimics how the arms, the core, and the balancing muscles move in swimming.
3 – Better Weight Management
As a low impact sport, ice skating can be useful for people trying to work up a sweat while having fun. It is something that won’t stress your joints too much at the start, so you’re more likely to stick with it rather than resign to pain like you may in running.
Considering that the sport requires the entire body to be under engaged in providing balance and stability, ice skating can help burn a lot of calories in just a short period. Add to that the fact that the body burns more calories in colder temperatures, because it must work harder to maintain its regular temperature, and you’ll see this ice sport as a viable solution to support your weight management goals.
Based on a report from Harvard Medical School, you can burn as many as 300 calories if you skate on the ice for an hour, depending on how intensely you skate. Of course, no exercise can help you lose weight if not done in conjunction with a healthy diet.
4 – Enhances Posture
While this may not be obvious to most people, the fact remains that ice skating can also help enhance one’s posture. It is a logical thought process, but one that is often overlooked by the general public.
First, ice skates are made with a slim blade along the bottom. This means that you’ll have to maintain your balance on two razor-thin metal wedges. To avoid falling, you’ll have to use your core muscles – from the abs and obliques to the legs, back, and other stabilizing muscles.
The concentration of body weight onto a small area makes the ice melt, which explains how the surface becomes slippery enough to let the skater move smoothly across. To move along, the body has to generate momentum by contracting all the muscles mentioned above and propelling the skater forward. When done repetitively, this can result in stronger core muscles that are essential in achieving proper posture.
5 – Improves Flexibility
Because of the inherent nature of the sport, ice skating also keeps your body stretching continuously to stay in motion and maintain balance. This helps you become more accustomed to extending beyond your comfort level and improves your flexibility better than other activities. Figure skaters are known for their flexibility, but so are speed skaters, who must crouch down low to achieve aerodynamic ideals, plus ice hockey goals can usually do the splits!
Before You Hit the Ice
Ice skating offers plenty of benefits for people of all ages. Consider the health-related ones listed in this article as you decide to make it a hobby.
Just remember that, to enjoy all these perks, you’ll have to get a lot of practice gliding above the ice. One way to ensure this is to train with sports schools with the necessary facilities for ice sports.
Possessing more than two decades of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, Tony Kouris joined Zayed Sports City as General Manager in January 2018. With extensive career experience, a value on interpersonal relationships, and strong negotiating experience, he is positioned to support Zayed Sports City’s strategic growth and continue to innovate the site as an internationally recognised sport and entertainment destination.