close-up on ice skates

The health benefits of ice skating

The list is as long as the Rideau Canal! Whether you want to strengthen your muscles, work on your balance, or just get some fresh air with your family, ice skating is one of the best winter sports around. Discover its key benefits.

Balance and coordination

Learning to skate means learning to shift your centre of gravity and develop fluid, coordinated movements. Even when you’re motionless on your blades, certain muscles are working hard to keep you balanced. Imagine how much work they do when you’re moving!

If you don’t know how to skate, don’t worry. Take it slow and be patient; you’ll feel more comfortable on the ice in no time. 

a mother and daughter skating and trying to keep their balance on one leg

Muscular training

Ice skating works the abdominal and lower body area, including the hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, pelvic floor muscles, back muscles, and gluteus maximus. If you don’t know where all those muscles are, you’ll probably find out the day after a long afternoon on the ice! 

Children  having fun while skating

Energy expenditure

In terms of energy expenditure, ice skating is similar to running. That’s right—it may not feel like it amid the festive atmosphere at the rink, but you burn about 400 calories per hour while skating. For children, it’s the perfect opportunity to use up excess energy while having fun. 

lady taking a skating break on the bench

Vitamin d production

Outdoor rinks have an added bonus: the ice reflects UVB rays, which stimulate the production of vitamin D. So while you may be all bundled up, you still get some much-needed sun. Vitamin D helps fight seasonal depression and strengthens bones, teeth, and the immune system. 

Cognitive benefits

Learning new things promotes brain health, memory, and cognitive function. The same is true for physical activity. That means learning a new sport packs an exceptional cognitive punch!

Picking up new activities can also improve your mood. So, if you feel like you could use a break, lace up your skates and let loose on the ice.

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