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Ice Skating into Winter: Top Tips for a Safe and Fun Ice Rink Experience.

This is the time of year when we see those Ice Rinks appear and how inviting they are! So what Top Tips can we give if you fancy having a go and stepping out onto the ice?

1. Wear Thick Socks when Ice Skating.

No Really. This isn’t because the ice rink is cold, because actually most people feel really hot when they go ice skating. It is because it is really important to make sure those boots are done up tightly. Several years ago Gina did First Aid on an ice rink for the winter season. Let’s just say she got very good at spotting a broken wrist after a few weeks! We noticed on the rink there was a direct correlation between how tight people’s boots were and how many broken wrists we got.

The key here is to do them up tight enough that you can only get two fingers down the front where the tongue is. Any more and your ankle becomes all wobbly and this makes you far more likely to take a tumble. When you fall on an ice rink, you tend to put your hands out in-front of you to protect your face from the hard ice, and bingo, one wrist gets broken. Every time we checked the boots were tight enough, we had a quiet session first aid wise! So your kids may not like their boots being done up tightly but it is the best way to enjoy that ice skate, without a trip to A&E.

2. Ice Skating is great for developing Gluteus Strength.

The Gluteus muscles are the big muscles that form your bottom. They are strong and powerful and are important for all aspects of life from walking to running and standing to sitting, so it is important that they remain strong. But Oh can they be tricky to strengthen sometimes!

So if you know your bottom could do with strengthening, getting on a pair of skates over the festive period is a great idea. The skating action uses these muscles really well. You may notice feeling somewhat stiff here the next day, but what a fun form of exercise. As you drive your foot forwards and out to the side to move yourself across the ice, the main driving force are the Gluteus muscles. The whole lower body is involved of course so getting those skates on will help with that winter exercise program.

3. Balance and core strength improvements.

No really, forget that pilates class, here is a great winter activity that can work your ankle and hip stabilisers as well as your core. Remember that when you are ice skating, you are essentially balancing on a thin strip of metal and that makes you pretty unstable. Add to that the fact you are on a slippery surface and it becomes a pretty convincing workout for your lower body stabilisers. See my first tip about boots being tightly done up? Well this is why. If the boot is not on tightly your ankle will be able to move about freely and it will be very hard to balance, unless you have amazing ankle stability, which lets face it, most of us don’t.

This is why the boot comes up over the ankle, it helps to support it. However, even with the ankle supported, it is still doing loads of work which is often why your lower leg aches a few days after skating. Your hip joint is also doing a lot of stabiliser work when you are on the ice and the gluteus muscles, mentioned above, are very important for stabilising the hips. They don’t just work to propel you across the ice, they help to strengthen your hip stabilisers. Finally, anything you do that works your body in an unstable way, will activate the core and spinal stabilisers, so what better way to get those deep muscles working than on the ice rink!

4. Hot Chocolate.

Well ice skating burns lots of calories, depending on your weight, you could burn up to 500 calories in a 45min session! It is a great aerobic workout, well as long as you aren’t clutching on to the side for dear life! So why not treat yourself to a Hot Chocolate afterwards, it is after all Christmas Time!

If you find yourself taking a tumble on the ice rink, take a look at how we approach sporting injuries here.

For more tips on ice skating, take a look here.