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October 20, 2021 6 min read

If you’re anything like us, you love the chilly winter season. Sure, summer is a blast, and spring brings beautiful lush flowers while fall is pretty cool with its epic foliage, but when it comes to the superior season... winter comes out on top.  

Otherwise known as the most wonderful time of the year, winter is when sleds come out of hibernation, hot cocoa is an acceptable everyday drink, and holiday cheer is in the air. From snowball fights to snow tubing and everything in between, the season is surely one that brings a whole lot of joy.

And while we’re pretty big fans of ridinglegendary sleds at record speeds down snowy hills, there’s another awesome winter activity that we simply can’t get enough of —ice skating

A favorite pastime that has been passed down from generation to generation, ice skating is a beautiful sport that can be learned at almost any age. And while you may think that it’s a pretty simple skill to master, the truth is that learning how to balance on ice is certainly no easy task, to say the least. 

You see, learning how to skate takes time, determination, and hard work. In other, don’t expect to slip ice skates on for the first time and think you’re going to be a graceful swan on the ice. 

That being said, if you want to join in the fun under the festive lights this winter, twirling effortlessly on the ice to lively music, then you’re going to need to know a thing or two.

In this post, we’re exploring the world of ice skating to uncover everything you need to know to skate like a pro. So grab a mug of hot cocoa and get comfortable — let’s learn how to ice skate!

Everything You Need To Know About Ice Skating  

Ice skating is a fun winter activity that requires one to propel themselves across a body of ice using a pair of specially made skates. These skates are made up of a boot and a sliver of metal shaped like a blade, located right underneath the boots. 

Before we dive into the basics of learning how to skate, it’s first important to understand how it works. 

How Does Ice Skating Work? 

The low friction of ice is why speed demons can reach 35 mph, why beautiful figure skaters can twirl in dizzying circles, and why a44-pound curling stone can glide effortlessly towards a target. 

But for much of the past few centuries, experts have struggled to explain why, exactly, ice is slippery and why ice skates can glide atop it so well. 

The first theory is that pressure melts ice. When put under high pressure, it’s thought that ice turns back into water. So when a skater glides on top of it, the pressure from their thin blade melts enough water to reduce the friction, ultimately allowing for a smooth glide. 

Seeing as a snowball can form whensnow is pressurized in between our mitten-clad hands, this theory makes sense! However, the truth is that you would have to be an incredibly large individual in order for the blades under your feet to melt ice sufficiently. 

Today, recent studies suggest that ice is always slippery because themolecules in its top-most layer behave like liquid water, causing the ice to be extra smooth. 

So, what happens when an ice skate touches the ice, you ask?

It’s thought that the ultra-tiny liquid layer is the reason why skates can start moving instantly on ice. And as the blades move faster through the ice, more friction is generated, which melts more water. This allows skaters to essentially hydroplane over ice, allowing them to glide seamlessly on the wet, slippery substance. 

Are There Any Benefits? 

 As a matter of fact, there are many great benefits of ice skating.

Here are a few of them:

  • Enhances balance. Ice skating is a wonderful activity that can help to improve your balance through fun and positive exercise. When you hop on the ice for the first time, balancing can be pretty tricky. After all, ice is slippery, and ankles wobble — it’s a completely new way of trying to stay upright.

But give it a little time, and you’ll quickly notice an improvement. And keeping your balancing ability strong is a crucial part of staying healthy as you age. 

  • Supports Heart Health. Aerobic exercise is an essential aspect of cardiovascular health. However, running hours on a treadmill or climbing fifty flights of stairs can be quite boring. Ice skating, on the other hand, is not boring and an excellent way to keep your ticker in tip-top shape. 
  • Improves Flexibility. Do your legs squeak every time you rise from the couch? If so, ice skating just might be able to help. With its emphasis on supple knees and quick foot movements, your joints will receive a fantastic workout.

Plus, unlike running, it’s a low-impact activity, so it’s a great way to get physical exercise for those with joint pain. 

Ready To Enter the Ice Rink?  

Now that you know all about ice skating, it’s time to lace up your skates and hit the ice!

Here are six essential ice skating tips for beginners:

Tip #1: Dress For Success 

What you wear to the ice rink will have a major impact on your first ice skating experience. Dress for success and stick with clothing that ensures comfort, warmth, and safety. Avoid tight jeans that can greatly limit your movement and long scarves that can get caught under your skate. 

Tip #2: Enter the Rink Slowly 

Once you’re bundled up in warm clothes and have your skates laced up, it’s time to enter the rink. Take your time getting onto the ice and place one hand onto the railing so you can balance. Make sure to keep your knees slightly bent at all times and begin to push from one foot to the other to get moving. 

Tip #3: Stay Close To the Railing 

When you’re new to ice skating, it’s important to be patient and start slow. Stay close to the railing and get a feel for the ice and how your body reacts to the unfamiliar movements. 

Tip #4: Prepare For the Inevitable Fall 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional ice skater or just starting out: everyone falls. That being said, it’s a good idea to prepare for that first inevitable fall by practicing. Bend your knees and squat into a dip position.

Fall to the side and lean slightly forward as you fall down. To pick yourself back up, simply turn over on your hands and knees before taking one foot and placing it in between your hands. Then, take the other foot and place it between your hands. Push yourself back up to standing, and voila!

Tip #5: Move Forward 

Once you’ve mastered the art of falling, start by marching in place. Then, hold onto the railing and do a lap or two, taking short, marching steps. When you’re comfortable with the marching steps, try pushing from one foot to the other and glide. Stay close to the railing in case you need to catch your balance.  

Tip #6: Learn To Stop 

Before skating away from the rail, it’s important to learn how to stop. Simply turn the toes of each foot inwards and push out on the middle of the feet (similar to skiing). Don’t lean forward and keep your chin up to prevent crashing into another skater. 

Lastly and Most Importantly — Have Fun!  

So there you have it, everything you need to know about learning how to skate. No matter your age, this is a winter activity that everyone can enjoy. And the best part? In addition to being a whole lot of fun, ice skating is a great way to exercise! Make sure to practicebasic skating safety (helmets aren’t just for bicycles!). 

After you’ve mastered ice skating, grab your favoriteFUNBOY sled to master the slopes. From toboggans and inner tubes to snow sleighs andsnowmobiles, you can count on us to have just what you need to make this winter nothing short of amazing.



Sources: 

The Chemistry of Water: Ice Skating | National Science Foundation

Why is ice so slippery? | Vox

Why does a curling stone curl? | Smithsonian Science Education Center.

Ice Hockey and Skating Safety | Alberta Health


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