Plenty of reasons why you should skate

With the change of the season, our thoughts turn from sunny days to snow days, from swimming pools to frozen ponds. Soccer, baseball, and lacrosse games are over, and parents start to look for different ways to keep their kids active while also avoiding the dreaded “cabin fever”. One of the most common sports that parents and kids gravitate towards in the winter is skating, whether it be hockey, figure skating, speed skating, or purely recreational. But what most people don’t realize is that skating, in any form, has much more to offer than just being “something to do” during the long winter months.

Some of the most obvious benefits are health-related ones. Skating in general is an excellent way to burn calories and provides a great work out for your legs. Hockey is one of the best cardiovascular games you can play. Figure skating provides increased flexibility and coordination. Speed skating is a great aerobic activity and improves muscle strength and balance. Coming to the rink just a couple times a week can help keep you in shape and improve your overall health.

In addition to being great exercise, skating also provides emotional, social and mental benefits, especially for children. Skating promotes self-confidence and a positive attitude, teaches sportsmanship, how to win and how to lose gracefully, and how to set and achieve goals. It’s a social network – friendships are made, birthdays are celebrated, wins and losses are shared together. Skaters learn how to be competitors on the ice and friends off of the ice. It also teaches patience and time management skills. As skaters progress to higher levels of performance and competition, they develop a strong work ethic and the ability to concentrate and focus better, important skills that carry over into the academic and professional environment.

Skating also has the added benefit of being available year-round. As the frozen ponds melt in the spring, arenas are able to maintain ice indoors while the temperatures rise outdoors. There’s no need to worry about muddy or soggy conditions, getting sunburned, or whether you’ll be rained out. During the hottest months of the summer, the rink is truly the coolest place to be.

Whatever the reason for walking through the doors of an ice arena, whether it be for hockey or figure skating, recreational or Olympic-bound, skating in any form makes getting exercise fun and helps to develop an active lifestyle and healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

–By Amy Fairchild

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