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Ice Skating - A Great Way to Beat the Winter Blues!
ice skating in winter in the city - downtown Toronto City Hall

Skating as an outdoor exercise activity is one of best ways to enjoy the winter season and to pass those long cold days of winter in an enjoyable and fun way while at the same time benefitting your physical and mental health. It’s an exercise activity that will benefit your cardiovascular system, work out your entire legs, your glutes and your core.

It’s an activity that can be enjoyed at any age, both young and old, and all you need is a decent pair of skates that can be purchased either new or used at a relatively inexpensive price and should last you for many years.

Many cities around the world have outdoor skating rinks provided free of charge for people to enjoy. Some even allow skating on frozen rivers, ponds and lakes when it is safe to do so. You get the feeling of being free when you can skate on a large pond or small lake without having to constantly go round and round in circles as on skating rinks.

It’s a good idea to keep your bones and muscles strong before the skating season begins. A great way to do this is through regular strength training exercise. Focusing on your legs, the exercises that I like to do before I skate and that I recommend are the same ones I use for getting in shape and ready for inline skating (rollerblading): leg presses, leg extensions, calf raises and glutes exercises. You can also add in lunges if you like! At the same time you should also take the time to exercise your upper body and core. You can find various exercises here to do this because a well-balanced weight training program involves the upper, middle and lower parts of the body. This will ensure that your upper and lower body along with your core are strong thus helping you to avoid injuries if you say fall and it provides you with added strength to maintain balance.

Simultaneously, as you work out with weights, you should incorporate upper and lower body (leg) stretches to maintain muscle flexibility.

If you like, walking is also a good way to keep your body in shape for skating but I recommend that you also combine it with strength training and regular stretching.

When you do go skating it is good to dress warmly to keep your muscles warm to prevent muscle soreness and the chance of pulling a muscle or having your muscles tighten up on you. For example, for your legs wear long underwear and sufficient clothing to keep your upper body warm: a warm coat, hat and gloves.

Ice skating is just one winter exercise activity that you can do to beat the winter blues and stay active and healthy. It is probably the most convenient and inexpensive sport to enjoy.

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