If you’re trying ice skating as a newbie, one of the first things you’ll discover is how hard. While watching people glide gracefully on ice might seem smooth and easy, it’s a lot of hard work that goes into making that possible. So why is ice skating so hard?
Certain factors make ice skating relatively complex. This includes the lack of stopping mechanism, slippery ice surface, thin blades, frequency of falling, and the need for flexibility and balance. But it has benefits too, such as improving cardio, balance, joints, and managing weight and stress.
However, anyone can still learn ice skating as long as they have the discipline. All it takes is commitment and regular practice. So, if you have a passion for ice skating, this article discusses why it’s hard and the several benefits of skating.
Factors That Make Ice Skating Hard
The following reasons usually complicate the learning experience for newbies:
1. Balance and Posture
To skate properly, you’ll have to stay low with your knees slightly bent above your toes while your shoulders are at your hip. This position helps you distribute your body weight to avoid falling when skating. But achieving this posture itself is a challenge. The design of skates with short blades that only extend from the toes to the hells makes it difficult to maintain balance. The blades are also quite thin, and having to balance your whole body on this base can be very tricky. As a result, you may fall multiple times before you eventually learn how to do this right. But you don’t necessarily have to worry because you can learn how to balance skates in your first practice session.
2. Braking and Stopping
Ice shares are for constant movement on ice, so they don’t have any braking mechanism that’ll help you stop. This inability to stop is a challenge for many skaters who’re just getting started. So, as you’re learning how to move, you’ll also be learning how to stop and the various stopping techniques. As a beginner, all these can be a little bit overwhelming. Unlike ice skating, roller skates usually have a toe stop, especially for beginners.
3. Ice Surface
As cold as ice is usually the common expression. But ice isn’t just cold. It’s slippery too. This makes skating on ice also difficult as you’re in a constant struggle to maintain stability. The design of skates doesn’t help matters either. But you can eventually learn how to maintain balance with lots of practice.
Ice skate blades are usually about 4 millimeters thick if you use regular figure skates. That’s not a lot of room to balance on at any time especially given the things you’ll be doing while skating. It takes exceptional strength and coordination even to maintain a position talk less of completing various routines. Also, you’ll need to keep your blades in very good shape. Rusty blades make it difficult to perform jumps or gain the required speed. Constant sharpening is important to prevent the blades from flattening.
5. The Ease of Falling
It’s almost impossible to skate without falling at least a few times. There’s no place where falling is fun, but falling on a hard cold surface can be even more painful. When it comes to ice skating, you can’t avoid it. To improve, you’ll need to learn new techniques, jumps, skills, spins, etc. Of course, regular ice skating won’t require as many techniques or skills as figure skating, which means your falls would be lower than that of a figure skater.
6. The Need for Flexibility
Ice skating requires you to be flexible to maintain your posture and balance. The fact that you’re doing it in the cold makes that flexibility even more challenging to achieve because you’re contending with the cold, which stiffens muscles. Even if you’re not planning to do skills, you still need the flexibility to do most of the basic moves in ice skating.
Benefits of Ice Skating
Although ice skating can be quite hard due to multiple factors, it’s still worth learning because of its benefits. The benefits of ice skating include:
1. Improve Cardiovascular Health
Ice skating offers you an excellent opportunity for intensive aerobic workouts, which can benefit your health. Every move or technique in ice skating is a cardio exercise, and you don’t even need to make an extra effort. Just as it improves your cardio, skating also increases your enduring. It requires high energy to skate, and the more you skate, the higher your endurance gets.
2. Joints Improvements
If you’re looking to improve the flexibility of your joints and their overall health, consider ice skating. The synchronized movements, gliding, and spinning provide a great workout for your joints.
3. Build Leg Muscles
Skating will also help you build muscles, especially in the leg area. The activity focused on lower body movement. So, if you’re looking to improve that part of your body, you’re in luck. Constant skating will build and tone your leg muscles.
4. Managing Weight
Are you thinking of losing weight, or do you want to maintain the one you currently have? Try skating. Ice skating helps you to burn calories. You can burn between 300 – 600 calories per hour when skating.
5. Stress Management
Do you need to clear your headspace? You can try doing that with skating. Working out helps you combat stress because your brain releases endorphins when you do it. With skating, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment with every new thing you learn. You also interact with several other people and even make new friends.
6. Improve Balance
Skating will also help you improve your balance and coordination. This sport incorporates physical activity with fun, which could be great for your whole self. Skating could be what you need to learn how to dance.
Skating is hard due to various reasons. But it’s not an impossible thing to learn as long as you have a passion for it and practice often. The benefit of skating is enough motivation to learn and get better.