Stay Fit This Winter - Go Skating

Posted: Nov 20 2017 News

Whether it’s winter or summer, ice skating can be a great year-round activity to keep you active and fit. Skating is great for the heart and the lungs. If the wind-chill factor is below -15°C and you have heart or respiratory problems, stick to an indoor rink. But, before you step onto the ice, check out these quick “skating” tips for novices to save you potential injury and embarrassment.

1. Don’t look down — It's amazing how many people learning to skate spend all the time looking at their feet rather than the direction they are going. Just keep your head up and look in front of you and hopefully, your feet will follow.

2. Get some good skates — If you’re stepping out for the first time, make sure you choose the right type of skates for you. The most common form of skates is “hockey skates”, figure skates and speed skates. Hockey skates are typically what everyone wears (boys and girls) when they are first learning. Figure skates have a much different blade including picks on the toes to execute jumps and twirls. The problem if you don’t stride a proper way the picks catch in the ice and trip you.

3. Tie your skates properly —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 and if you are outside in colder weather it will increase the incidence of frostbite on your toes due to poor circulation. Having your skates too loose will not provide proper support for your ankles and may increase the likelihood of you falling down.

4. Skates Must Be Sharpened To Reduce Injury - People learning to skate rarely understand the need for skates of all types to be sharpened. The blades must have enough edge so they can cut into the ice and keep you standing tall and propelling you forward. If blades are dull they can be unsafe and it’s much easier to be injured in a fall.

5. Warm up slowly — Given that skating takes place generally in a cold arena, then your muscles are initially going to be cold. 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.

6. Get some lessons — If you really want to master the basics, taking some lessons is a great way to start. Take a few group lessons which are available at most public ice rinks and are usually available for a variety of ages. It is a great way to learn to skate, get fit and maybe meet some new friends.

7. Don’t lean backward — 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. It is a good idea for novice skaters to learn while wearing a helmet and possibly wrist guards. Common injuries include head bumps and sprained wrists from falls to the ice.

8. 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 at a public venue, either clockwise or vice-versa. Don’t try skating the wrong way around the ice rink as you’ll end up hurting others and quite possibly yourself.

9. Make use of temporary rinks — If you are not fortunate enough to have a skating rink near you, then make the most of the temporary ice rinks if one pops up near you.

Laurel Green has an added advantage with Meadows Rec Centre being steps away from the community.Meadows Rec Centre (link) offers outdoor Leisure Ice Surface rink which has Free admission and opens: Sunday-Saturday, 8:30am–10:30pm

If you want to feel the adrenaline rush of ice skating outside, then you can head towards one of Edmonton’s renowned outdoor rinks, surrounded by gorgeous snow-covered winter scenery. Here is the list of few of Edmonton's outdoor rinks you can use this winter:

1. Castle Downs (153 Avenue & 115 Street)
Outdoor skate change 

2. City Hall 1 (Sir Winston Churchill Square)
Change room (south-east corner) open during City Hall hours

3. Jackie Parker Park (50 Street & 44 Avenue)
Jackie Parker Park Pavilion 
Washrooms open 7:00am-9:00pm

4. Rundle Park (113 Avenue & 29 Street)
Rundle Family Center Pavilion open 9:00am-10:00pm
Ice surface open 10:00am-10:00pm

5. Victoria Park Oval (12130 River Valley Road)
Skate change room and washrooms open
Warming trailer and ice surface open 10:00am-10:00pm
Victoria ice surface closed for maintenance: Tue, Wed & Thu, 5:00pm-6:00pm, Mon & Sat, 8:00am-10:00am
No public skating (reserved by the Edmonton Speed Skating Association): Mon & Wed, 6:00pm-7:00pm, Tue & Thu 6:00pm-9:00pm

6. William Hawrelak Park (9330 Groat Road)
Warming pavilion open 9:00am-10:00pm
Ice surface open 11:00am-10:00pm

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