As winter is upon us, we hide away in the warmth of our homes, avoiding the cold dark days outside. Harsh temperatures and a ground covered in snow and ice prevent us from most outdoor sports activities. But if you’d like to keep up your alternative exercise routine in the cold winter months instead of resorting to the gym, it’s time to embrace winter and explore some of the great sports it has to offer. From skiing to snowboarding, from cross-country skiing to ice-skating—winter has excellent potential to keep you fit all the way to spring.
One of the most versatile winter sports is ice-skating. Few sports are beneficial for your body on so many levels as this ancient sport that was first practiced in Finland over 4000 years ago. Ice-skating can provide an excellent cardiovascular workout, comparable to running, as you improve your skating skills. But because you glide over the ice, the impact on your joints is relatively low compared to the relentless pounding your knees, hips and ankles have to endure during a jog.
Low impact, but high results is what ice-skating is all about. Besides a cardio boost, ice-skating is also a great way to help you lose those post-holiday pounds. With an hour of recreational skating, you burn between 250 and 850 calories, depending on your pace and weight. To put this in perspective, burning about 3500 calories with physical activity will allow you to lose one pound.
Skating also builds your stamina. Of course, going for longer distances will increase your endurance more than short distances do. But as with any sport, it’s best to start off easy and build your routine from there to allow your body and muscles to get used to the exercise. Because those muscles will have to get to work out there on the ice. Ice-skating primarily works your upper legs, but also your back and abdominal muscles, as you need them to keep your balance and the right posture.
Last but not least, ice-skating is a great way to get away from it all—especially outdoor skating. The fresh air and natural surroundings should leave any troubles you might have well behind you on the ice. If there’s no suitable natural ice near you or if the weather prevents you from taking to the lakes and ponds, find the rink closest to you here.
Dress warm and have fun out there!