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What are the health benefits of ice skating?

If you’re looking for a new sport to or alternative activity to enhance your health and wellbeing, then ice skating should be on your list of exercises to try. Though the more advanced skaters on the rink may make it look easy, ice skating is sure to get your heart pumping and your brain firing.

How does ice skating benefit physical health?

Gliding around the rink might not look like hard work, but ice skating is an exercise that requires a range of skills and works several parts of the body at once. Indeed, ice skating is a great activity for anyone looking to develop their:

  • Strength: ice skating works muscles you might not even realise you have. Your quads, core and calves will all start to be sculpted after a few weeks of skating, though your shoulders will also feel the benefit of regularly taking a spin around the rink.
  • Coordination: even learning the basic shills of how to move forward, stop and glide requires plenty of coordination. When you get into turning, spinning or performing tricks, this is even more the case.
  • Balance: just standing still on ice requires some level of balance to keep you stable. As you try to stay upright or move efficiently across the ice, it will test your balance in a way no other exercise does.
  • Cardiovascular health: feeling your heartbeat isn’t just from the fear of falling over. The effort it takes to stay upright on ice, even for a short amount of time, makes ice skating a great cardio exercise. It can give you a low impact burn of around 200 to 300 calories an hour too.

Plus, you’ll get all these benefits without feeling like you’ve had a huge workout, as you’ll be having fun, chatting or concentrating on your movements while working your way around the rink.

What mental health benefits does ice skating bring?

The demand of ice skating on people’s balance, coordination and endurance means it takes lots of concentration to get right. The physical exercise also releases endorphins, otherwise known as happy hormones, in the brain. The combination of these two effects make ice skating a great activity for those looking to relieve stress or improve their wellbeing.

Ice skating is also a highly challenging exercise, with falls and mistakes a common occurrence at every ability level. As such, it’s a great activity for building mental resilience and boosting confidence, self-esteem and a sense of achievement whenever skaters succeed.

Whether you visit a rink with your friends and family, take part in a group lesson or work with a coach, ice skating is a very sociable activity. A great way to get to know people and make new friends, outdoor ice rinks also give skaters plenty of fresh air and stimulation from surroundings at any time of day.

Who can benefit from ice skating?

If you’ve got children or are older, you might be worried about the potential injuries falling on ice could cause. However, ice skating is actually a low impact exercise. Plus, if you practice falling and getting back up on the ice, occasional tumbles are unlikely to leave you with anything worse than a few cuts and bruises.

This means anyone can enjoy and benefit from the physical and mental benefits of ice skating, whether you only visit an ice rink occasionally or head there every day, you can enjoy making friends, having fun and trying out new skills.

How to start ice skating

The best way to start ice skating and feel its mental and physical benefits is to put on some blades and have a go yourself. So what better place to start your skating journey than in a stunning historical location? To try out a session or book in for the whole season at Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink this winter, head to our tickets page/link.

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