Learn a new skill: ice skating

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Ice skating can really healthy and, but make sure you dress up warm!

Ice skating is an excellent way to get kids outdoors and active without them even realising! Ice skating works almost every major muscle group in the body and is good for the joints. Some claim it is even more beneficial to the body than cycling or running.

Ice skating offers:

  • Improved balance, challenging kids to adjust their weight as they move across the ice. Even if they fall to begin with they will quickly learn to balance, leaning their weight slightly forward and bending their knees
  • Better joint flexibility and range, with quick foot movements and strong knees required
  • Muscle-building opportunities, with a strong focus on lower-body strength and movement, which helps to build and tone leg muscles
  • Cardio exercise, giving kids an aerobic workout once they have built confidence and are able to glide from one end of the rink to the other
  • Endurance, with a need for continued energy expenditure as time passes on the ice
  • Weight management, as skating burns calories quickly (between 300 and 650 calories an hour, providing you’re not hanging on to the edge the whole time!)
  • Stress relief and mental fitness. With plenty of space to unwind and interact with peers in a stunning setting, ice skating is tough to beat in terms of stress-busting exercise

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What to wear

Ice rinks can look like fashion shows at times, but the main focus should be on warmth and safety. Dress your children in trousers or leggings, long sleeves, gloves, a padded jacket and a hat for maximum coverage and insulation. Most importantly, make sure the skates you buy or hire fit well.  Thick socks will help to prevent rubbing.

Five tips for beginners

  1. Practise off the ice (with and without your skates) to improve balance
  2. Teach them how to fall safely and to get back on their feet afterwards
  3. Move away from the edge so that kids are forced to challenge themselves and build confidence
  4. Pick a quiet time so they don’t feel intimidated by large crowds and can move around freely
  5. Book some lessons if you’re all complete beginners, taking lessons will reduce the pressure on you and to teach them the basics. Some ice rinks offer skating aids, so if your kids need a little extra help, don’t be afraid to ask

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Where to skate

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