As gorgeous as the winter wonderlands are, you must admit it’s not for everyone. Because if you combine cold days with huge piles of snow all over the place, it’s safe to say that winter is more trouble than it’s worth. However, if you know how to let loose and have fun, wintertime might turn out to be your favorite season of the entire year.
Although you can’t deny it’s dreary – not to mention chock-full of safety hazards – there are plenty of things to do besides plowing through snow or salting your driveway. From having a snowball fight with loved ones to making snow angels on the first pile of powder you see, doing these will definitely bring out the child in you. However, ice skating may be just what you’re looking for if you want to do something more elegant.
What Is Ice Skating?
Although you can always try out ice skating indoors at artificial ice rinks from KwikRink or other rink services, doing it across a frozen body of water has its own charm. Hence, you’ll see all sorts of people do this activity every time winter falls since it’s ideal for those who enjoy being outside in the cold.
After all, the only piece of equipment you need to skate on ice is a pair of boots with metal blades fixed to their bottoms.
What Are Ice Skating Sports?
While ice skating is a fun recreational activity for families and friends, it developed into a sport soon after. Here, ice skating experts participate in different sports that hand over the spotlight to their skills on the ice.
Surprisingly, despite being limited to the icy surface alone, there’s a handful of sports that were given the platform on a big event such as the Winter Olympics, namely:
- Figure skating
- Ice hockey
- Speed skating
What You Need To Know
Even though you can ice skate recreationally and professionally, that doesn’t mean you should dive right into it without any preparation. After all, this isn’t inline skating, wherein you’ll be moving around wearing rollerblades. Ice skating takes a lot of care and dedication to get the hang of it. Therefore, you must familiarize yourself with the basics before doing anything else.
1. Equipment Is Everything
Recreationally, wearing a pair of ice skates and the proper snow gear should be enough for you to handle the ice and cold. But once you’ve decided to go up and participate in any ice skating sports, only having those ice skates and snow gear on might leave you feeling as naked as the day you were born.
Naturally, there will be variations in ice skating equipment depending on which sport you take up. However, one skating gear you should never overlook is your ice skates. Since that’s the only thing holding you up on the ice, purchasing a decent pair of ice skates will determine your entire skating experience.
Those who only consider ice skating an activity to pass the time don’t need to invest too much in their skates. Ice rinks allow skaters to rent skates. Although they might not feel like the best pair of footwear in the world, they do the job in the short time you have on the ice.
However, if you want to take up ice skating sports, choose a pair of ice skates that are still comfortable, despite wearing them for a long time already. Each ice-skating sport has its own skates designed for each one.
For figure skaters their skates feature high boots with toe picks flattening the tip of their gently curved blades to have better balance while posing. Meanwhile, hockey skates have roomy toe boxes and a high back with a tendon guard to maximize security while ensuring the player’s feet stay comfortable the entire time. But unlike a figure skater’s, a hockey player’s blades are flat in the middle before curving at the ends.
2. Practice Is A Must
Along with decent equipment, you must remember how time-consuming ice skating is. After all, pulling off an axel doesn’t take one night to learn. Before you can even do something as simple as skating backward, you’d have to go through many trials and errors to do it based on muscle memory alone. Thus, it’s important that you never feel discouraged every time you fall on the ice.
Furthermore, getting used to the rules on the ice rink takes time, especially if it’s your first time going to one. So, don’t beat yourself up if you’re still learning the ropes.
3. Improves Physical Fitness
Despite falling on your butt repetitively, that doesn’t mean you’re failing in ice skating spectacularly. Considering it’s still a sport, every second you’re standing on the ice is already a workout. After all, it takes excellent muscle strength to balance yourself, even more so on a slippery surface like ice. Therefore, as you learn to balance, you’re also teaching your core and engaging your muscles to pull yourself upright.
Besides improving your balance, building up your lower muscles follows closely behind, considering you need to propel yourself forward to move properly. Because, unlike walking, your entire lower half must be working overtime, considering you need to maintain balance while moving across a slippery surface. Thus, you can see why remaining upright is already an achievement in ice skating.
And since your body exerts effort, ice skating can be a form of stress relief. With how much workout you’re putting your body through, it helps clear the mind while releasing any amount of tension you have pent up in your system. Furthermore, focusing on keeping yourself from falling on your face might help take your mind off the rest of your problems.
4. Set A Goal
Naturally, each ice-skating sport has different objectives. While figure skating emphasizes grace and elegance, ice hockey leans toward force and agility. Considering their differences, you must choose which one you should set your mind to. Otherwise, what you’re practicing might focus more on building up your brute force instead of flexibility and pulling off jumps or spins.
Even though wintertime is always cold and dreary, that shouldn’t stop you from having fun. While it’s not summer with its sunny days, winter still gives you plenty of activities to do. Moreover, you might end up being hooked by them so much that you’re interested in taking up sports centered around this wintertime activity, namely ice skating. But before you pull on your skates and take to the ice, you must know a few things beforehand. Otherwise, you might end up hurting yourself instead of having fun.