Things You Did Not Know About Ice-Skating
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Ice skating is a fantastic way to keep fit and have fun at the same time. It’s the sense of freedom you get on the ice. Armed with headphones, gloves and warm clothes, there is no better way to spend an afternoon. I wish I could persuade more adult friends to participate in skating. Most are too apprehensive or consider it just for kids. This is far from the truth, the benefits of ice-skating safely are wonderful and you get to meet new people, exercise and socialise.
The origins of ice skating
Ice skating originally was introduced in Scandinavia, over 1000 years ago. At this time ice- skates were used as a practical measure for getting across the frozen waterways and canals. The ice- skates were made out of animal bones with a piece of leather string, threaded through a hole in the bone, to secure it to their feet. They would skate and use a stick for support. I don’t recommend anyone trying to make a skate out of animal bones now though! Inexpensive ice-skates can be purchased from numerous retailers!. It was King Charles of England who eventually brought ice-skating to England. He saw ice-skating whilst visiting Holland. The ice-skate boots, as we know it today, were invented in 1848 by an American E.V.Bushnell. He invented the first steel clamp for ice-skates. It was Jackson Haines a ballet dancer and ice skater who, around 1864, developed the figure skating. He incorporated skating into ballet and dance movements. The name figure skating comes from days when skaters used to make figures on the ice with the blade of their ice-skates; this coined the term ‘figure skating’.
Tragedy in Ice-skating
The world of ice skating had a tragedy in 1961. The entire ice-skating team, of the US Olympic team, died in a plane crash on its way to the Soviet Union. Over 19 of America’s most renowned and highly successful ice-skating coaches and competitors died. It is due to this tragedy that the Soviet Union excelled in the sport of ice-skating, as America had to completely rebuild their team.
Places you can go to ice skate
Telephone or search online for your local ice-skating rink. You may have outdoor rinks as well as indoor rinks in your area. If you’re not confident, you can book lessons. Most rinks offer lessons, private and group sessions, and the prices are very reasonable. You will be able to hire boots from the rink and if you keep going then you could invest in your own ice-skating boots.
What to wear when ice-skating
1: Even if it is a warm day, it will be chilly on the ice –even in an indoor rink. Take a sweatshirt or jumper with you. If you are skating outside, you will definitely need to wrap up warm.
2: Socks are a must. This will prevent damage to your feet and keep your feet warm.
3: If you suffer from cold hands, take a pair of gloves with you. Hands can get very cold on the ice.
4: Take some extra money to purchase a drink or snack.
5 If you decide to take young children, the same advice applies as above. I would also take a protective helmet for young children. I notice that many young children in the UK do not wear protective helmets when ice-skating. I cannot understand this, as head trauma can be very serious. I make any child I take skating wear a helmet. Often they are the only children wearing one, but I think safety must always come first with young children. A bike helmet is fine.
6: Take a pack of tissues, for a runny nose!
Practical Skating Tips For beginners:
1: Slowly ease yourself onto the ice and hold on to the barriers. Stand on the ice and get a feel for it by moving your feet to and fro.
2: Keep your head upright and looking in the direction you are going. You will be tempted to skate with your head down. Do not do this, as your head is heavy and it will pull you forward and you will fall over.
4: Take tiny steps. I tell the little ones to march gently like a soldier. Basically, pick up each foot and put in front of the over- you only need to lift it a little. Remembering to keep your head up and looking in the direction you are going. Don’t worry about the other ice-skaters whizzing past you, you will get to that level soon.
5: To begin with you may want to use the barrier for support. Stand to the side of the barrier, put one hand on it and slowly move forward.
6: Practise skating around the rink a few times. Then take both hands away from the barrier, still keeping near to the barrier, and use your hands for balance placing them at the side of your hips with your palms out facing the ground. Again, keep practising walking slowly around but this time you’re not holding on to the barrier.
7: It only takes about three/ four sessions ( about 3 hours of practise) before you are gliding along.
8: Whilst you are learning avoid busy sessions, find out when the quieter periods are on the ice. Most quiet sessions are during the day when children are at school.
Good luck. I hope this article has inspired you to give ice-skating a go. Have fun.