Think safety first when lacing up your skates. Ice skating is an accessible and social pastime which offers a diverse range of health and fitness benefits. Whether you hope to improve balance, strengthen leg muscles or gain nimbler footwork, it could be time to get your skates on! Mass in Motion Worcester is offering these simple tips to families as they get out and move this winter!
- Don't look down when skating - Keep your head up and look in front of you so at least you can see who or what you are about to collide with! Never mind your feet, they know they are moving in the right direction.
- Get some good skates - If you're stepping out for the first time, then renting skates will be fine. But if you get the skating bug and decide to take it up, buy a decent pair of skates that will last and most importantly, fit well and provide good support.
- Tie skates the correct way - The right skates for you will not be the correct ones if they are tied incorrectly. Make sure your skates are not too tight or your feet will likely go numb, while having your skates too loose will not provide the proper support for your ankles.
- Warm up for skating slowly - Given that skating takes place generally in a cold arena, then your muscles are initially going to be cold. Prior to skating, it's not really wise to just throw your leg over a barrier and start stretching. Stretching in a cold environment can lead to muscle tears, so wrap up well (but not as to restrict your movement) and start with some bend and work up to stretching.
- Take skating lessons - If you really want to master the basics, then taking some lessons is an absolute must. Take a few group lessons which are available at most rinks and for a variety of ages. Also take a friend along, as learning with someone will help you relax on the ice.
- Don't lean backwards when skating - Leaning back will likely send you flying on your backside or worse. The best advice is to keep your knees bent and your weight forward. Hold your arms out in front of you and open them wide to help you stay balanced.
- There's no stopping you! - Naturally, one of the basics you'll need to know is how to stop. To stop, bend your knees, turn the toes of each foot inwards, point your heels out, and push out on your heels. This will slow you down and bring you to a stop. Now that’s a relief!
- Skate in the correct direction - While initially the direction you are skating may not be of your choosing, there is usually a directional rule to follow on the ice, either clockwise or vice-versa. Don't try skating the wrong way round the ice rink as you'll end up hurting others and quite possibly yourself.