Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Including Ice Skating in Your Fitness Routine

Ice skating is an exciting sport that can be learned at almost any age and provides an excellent workout. It is especially well-suited for those who are easily bored with more common aerobic exercise such as walking or running on a treadmill. In contrast to aerobic methods such as these, ice skating gives the skater confidence and satisfaction from learning an unusual skill, in addition to a leaner body and healthier lifestyle. A 150lb person will burn between 600 and 800 calories while skating for one hour, which is about the equivalent of a five mile run. As long as flips and jumps aren't performed, ice skating is surprisingly low-impact, which is good news for those with arthritis, joint pain, or who prefer not to subject their joints to excess strain. For the average recreational ice skater, preparation through training typically is not necessary. However, those who are wanting to ice skate for fitness on a regular basis need to consider some training in order to raise their base fitness level. How much outside training should be done prior to ice skating depends on the level of intensity they plan to put out on the ice.

Weight Traning for Ice Skating

The primary areas involved with ice skating are the knees, ankles, and hips, with assistance from the arms and shoulders. The muscles and tendons surrounding an ice skater's joints provide needed support and are therefore important while skating, since the entire weight of the body moves from one leg to the other. In order to prevent injury, these surrounding muscles should be firm. Let your trainer know you're going to be integrating ice skating as part of your fitness routine so he or she can devise an appropriate training workout to prepare you. There are several machines that are designed to isolate muscles in areas such as the knees and ankles, and are suitable if you are especially weak in a particular area. If you decide to use a machine for this purpose, it is important to remember it will only increase brute strength; technique, which is a huge part of ice skating at all skill levels, is not aided in the slightest.

Cardiovascular and Aerobic Fitness in Ice Skating

Ice skating for fitness relies primarily on the aerobic system, which is why there are so many cardiovascular benefits. Prior to beginning an ice skating workout, it is advantageous for a skater to have some aerobic endurance. While training and ice skating for fitness, remember: aerobic exercise should be done at moderate intensity for an extended period of time (at least 30 minutes) to increase your body's efficiency at utilizing oxygen for energy and delivering it to your muscles at the rate they demand it. Your target heart rate, which is the desired heart rate range in which your heart and lungs receive the most benefit during aerobic exercise, should be reached and maintained (you can find your target heart rate online or by asking your trainer). If you're concerned about your aerobic fitness level prior to beginning ice skating, a few weeks of aerobic training should get you on the right path. Aerobics classes, which are offered at virtually all gyms, are a fun and effective way to exercise your heart and lungs without the monotony of other methods. If you prefer machines, the stair master is also an excellent route because it provides the additional benefit of strengthening the legs. Ice skating will pick up where these exercises leave off and continue to strengthen your aerobic system. Depending on how often you go to the ice skating rink, it may be advisable to continue doing aerobic exercise on non ice skating days to progress more quickly.

Ice Skating Requires Proper Training

In years past, ice skating rinks primarily offered beginner ice skating lessons for children. Since gaining popularity among adults, ice skating rinks have expanded their ice skating lessons and now provide adult ice skating lessons to meet demand. It is imperative to learn ice skating from an instructor in order to learn proper technique and avoid injury by having an experienced ice skater present as you progress in the sport. Personal attention and individualized lessons make private ice skating lessons the ideal choice, but that isn't to say private lessons are the only way to learn ice skating. Group ice skating lessons are a fine way to learn ice skating and may be a better option financially.