Ice skating is a popular and fun activity that is also the basis of many winter sports, including figure skating and ice dancing, ice hockey and speed skating. But Olympic dreams aside; ice skating in all its forms is an easy way to spend time with friends and family and stay active during winter months.
Ice skating has been around for a long time and was first used to get from one place to another in cold climates. The oldest pair of skates was found at the bottom of a lake in Switzerland and date to 3000 B.C. These skates were made from the leg bones of a large animal, probably a deer or elk. Holes were bored at each end of the bone and leather straps were used to tie the skates onto the footwear. Now ice skates we have metal blades attached to
Ice skating may seem difficult but achieving the appropriate balancing of the body for successful skating is really not too difficult to master.
Popular ice skating sports
Figure Skating. Most of us are familiar with this Olympic sport where individuals, pairs or even groups (as professionals) perform a series of dance-like movements including jumps, spins and turns to music. Figure skating offers a more artistic form of ice skating.
Ice Dancing. Is also an Olympic sport in which couples perform dance routines to music. Ice dancing differs from pair figure skating in the types of moves allowed. Any lift above the shoulder is against the rules!
Speed Skating. Speed skaters race each other on an oval track and the racers can reach up to speeds of 30 miles an hour! Types of speed skating are long track speed skating, short track speed skating, and marathon. Male skaters race 500, 1,000, 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters. Female speed skaters race 500, 1,000, 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters.
Ice hockey. An icy version of field hockey, this winter sport features bladed sticks, a hockey puck and plenty of body padding, this contact sport is certainly not for the faint-hearted! Ice Hockey is played on a rectangular rink which has curved corners. The six players on each team aim to score as many goals as possible, by getting the puck into the other team’s goal. A puck is a black rubber disk which is 1 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. Each goal is worth one point. Each game lasts for three 20 minute periods. Often the games are very fast and very rough.
If you live somewhere with cold winters any one of these ice skating sports can keep you active all winter. But, even if you live someplace warm you can find indoor places to skate all year long.
Why It’s Good for You
- Burns Calories
- Improves Balance and Coordination
- Increases Endurance
- Builds and strengthens muscle tone
Finding Places to Skate
Many communities have indoor ice rinks where you can skate year round. Arena Maps and Find Rinks are two places to find a rink in your area. If you want to find a local rink that allows you to skate outdoors your best bet is to check your local Parks and Recreation website for locations.