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The Health and Fitness Benefits of Ice Skating

The Health and Fitness Benefits of Ice Skating

Posted by Staff on Nov 8th 2019

Health and Fitness Benefits of Ice Skating

Ice skating is a fun and engaging exercise that will encourage you to stick with your fitness regimen long-term and help you achieve fitness goals fast. Besides the fun factor, health and fitness benefits of ice skating will improve muscle mass and strength, accelerate weight loss, increase bone density, and maintain joint health. Have a blast with your exercise while enjoying all the health and fitness benefits of ice skating, and enjoy reading about them below.

Don't forget to pick up some ice skates on Amazon.

Ice skating builds major muscle groups

The lower body and core muscles benefit more than any other muscle group during ice skating. Hamstrings, hips, calves, quadriceps, and core muscles, like pelvic floor muscles, back muscles, and the gluteus maximus, increase in mass and are strengthened and toned, even during leisurely skating.

This provides numerous health benefits specific to the improvement of each of these muscle groups. For example, urinary stress incontinence, suffered frequently among childbearing women and the aging, can be improved or eliminated completely through exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, as ice skating does. Additionally, many back issues can be attributed to weak back and leg muscles and can also be resolved through ice skating.

Besides preventing and solving many common health problems, strengthening these muscle groups will increase energy levels by making everyday tasks easier. Activities like standing, squatting, walking, reaching, twisting, bending, and even sitting all rely on core or leg muscles or a combination of both. Improving the strength and mass of these muscles, not to mention their flexibility, will result in less energy expenditure during use, leaving you more energetic and able to accomplish more each day.

Hockey Skates

Ice skating accelerates weight loss

Weight loss accomplishments are among the most difficult to reach, and finding an activity that accelerates weight loss efforts is a golden ticket to a better life. Becoming overweight brings with it a myriad of health problems. Overweight people are more prone to cancer, heart disease and cardiovascular events, diabetes, intestinal diseases, brain disorders, and... gaining more weight. Ice skating burns the calories needed to lose weight quickly, taking you out of the high-risk category more quickly and improving your odds of living a long and fulfilling life.

For every hour of leisurely  ice skatingthe average person can expect to burn from 200 – 650 calories, depending on weight and energy expenditure. A person weighing 185 pounds burns, on average, around 622 calories per hour while ice skating. For every 30 pounds over 185, add another 60 calories burned. For every 30 pounds less, subtract 60 calories per hour. Actual values will differ by gender, age and body composition, of course. These are just averages to give you an idea of how quickly you can lose weight when you ice skate.

Note that, as your weight decreases and as you become a better skater, you will find it harder to burn the same number of calories in the same length of time on the ice. This is a good time to add speed and learn moves that challenge you. Try skating faster, or skate in short fast bursts more often. New maneuvers, even basic ones, that challenge you will help you off this plateau by increasing muscle mass and the energy needed to skate, while improving metabolism and getting you back on the fast track to weight loss.

Joints benefit if you keep it low-impact

Besides risk of disease, carrying excess weight is also hard on the cartilage that  cushions joints. Excess weight and aging both result in eventual wearing of this cartilage. This causes damage to the joints and the bones that they connect.

Ice skating improves joint health mainly because it is a low-impact exercise that improves strength, endurance, flexibility, and range of motion. Incorporating jumps will cancel out ice skating’s low-impact benefits, but, provided your body can handle jumps, you will still maintain all the other joint benefits of ice skating.

Jumps improve bone density

Bone density decreases with age--more rapidly in women. Preventing bone loss and increasing bone mass is important for good posture, bone strength, and for preventing diseases like osteoporosis. Besides adding more vitamin D and calcium to your diet, you can incorporate jumps into your ice skating. Even little, low-clearing jumps help.

Evidence has long shown that activities that place more stress on the skeleton (loading the skeleton) will increase bone mass. Practicing jumps for as little as 10 minutes daily will slowly increase bone mass in the bones that are impacted, namely, in the legs, feet, hips, and ankles.

Variety in your ice skating routine is also important, as bone mass will return to what it was once you stop the activity that is helping to increase it. If you have trouble getting creative with your skating to keep it interesting, try taking a class, watching a video lesson, or just watching other skaters to pick up on a few moves you don’t know yet. There are literally thousands.

Ice skating creates a host of other health and fitness benefits too, including gains in flexibility, balance, and mental health. The variety of different ways you can skate and the moves you can learn (or make up!) will keep you interested enough to stick with skating for the long haul. Although the health and fitness benefits of ice skating are many, don’t forget that you are supposed to enjoy yourself, too. Ice skating is fun and, if you stay active with it, you will reap the many health and fitness benefits of ice skating for as long as you can lace up.

You might also enjoy our articles on other winter sports, including downhill skiingcross-country skiingsnowshoeing and snowboarding.

photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks. Sculpture Garden Ice Rink By Night via photopin (license)