Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Joe Starks0
Exercise Spotlight: Ice Skating
Ice Skating is both a sport of speed and beauty. As a sport there is speed skating and figure skating to represent both those aspects. Ice skating is a rather dangerous sport, compared to more typical sports, but it is also thrilling and pleasant. Watching ice skaters is also a marvel to behold. Some of the best dancers in human history chose ice skates as their means of delivering artful dances in front of thousands of fans. Especially in colder countries, ice skating is also a recreation for the non athletes. Wherever there is a solid frozen lake and a town you will probably find people skating in winter time. In this articles we’ll discuss about the history of ice skating, the training one has to go through to succeed in it and what benefits this training will offer you.
What is Ice Skating?
Ice Skating is the sport in which you actually slide on ice with the help of special shoes. These shoes usually have a long thin object on the bottom, on which is it easier to balance on ice and slide along its surface.
The first skates are recorded from even before the Christian era. These skates were actually just long pieces of bones bound onto simple shoes. These were used for practical reasons, to carry people across long stretches of frozen water when needed.
In medieval times we have the first recordings of actual ice skating. In the canals of the Netherlands and the Scottish lakes ice skating was a typical sport. In the 14th century people begun using wood instead of bone and later on the skates were made of iron. Sadly, all these materials were brittle and iron rusted easily. This is why the sport became truly popular after steel skates were introduced. Speed skating for men was first introduced into the Olympics in 1924 and later on the sport was introduced for women as well.
How to Train for Ice Skating
Ice skating needs two parts of training to be done on a decent level. The first part is the off-ice training, as it is called, and the second part is the on ice training.
It is actually very important to train off the ice at least half as long as you do on the ice. You need to have many abilities to be able to perform on ice, which you have to train beforehand. This is why many figure ice skaters are also ballet dancers.
The four parts you need to train the most are:
- Flexibility. Doing split jumps and spirals needs a lot of flexibility. You have to train this beforehand on steady ground to avoid injuries.
- Strength and Power. Propelling yourself into the air, dashing across a huge rink in seconds and even sometimes having to carry your partner (mostly men) needs extreme power and strength. You need to train this with weights and exercises.
- Balance. This one is self explanatory. If you try to walk on near frictionless ice you will see why having excellent balance is part of the bargain. You absolutely need to train that with yoga or ballet like exercises.
- Core strength and stability. You simply can’t have any of the above without decent core strength. Core strength is hard to train well and is best done in a gym with very thorough exercises.
Once an athlete has managed to gain all these skills he or she is ready for the ice rink. There the training takes on its true form and everything learned beforehand is put into use.
Benefits of Ice Skating
Ice Skating has many benefits to it. Some of the most prominent are:
- Great cardio AND strength training. Ice skating is a thorough training for the body. This is why ice skaters have those gorgeous bodies with the balanced muscle mass.
- It is a great way to lose weight.
- Children are good at it. It is best to learn this sport young, when flexibility is easier to gain and the weight light to avoid injuries.
Ice skating is not a sport for the elderly and it can be too hard for just anyone to learn. If you do have the inclination or simply want to enjoy a little bit of ice skating for leisure purposes then make sure you have a professional watching over you for your own safety. Children should NEVER skate without supervision. Do NOT skate on lakes that are not safe. If You don’t know if a lake is safe just avoid it and go to a professional ice rink.