There are a lot of factors that affect performance in ice skating, including equipment, experience, and technique. One of the most important factors is the physical demand it places on your body, and this can leave many beginners wondering if ice skating is tiring.
The 8 tips to prevent fatigue when ice skating are:
- Check your equipment
- Warm up carefully
- Learn how to fall
- Take it in your stride
- Get stronger
- Eat well
- Watch your technique
- Know when to stop
Many who are new to ice skating overlook the physical demands the activity places on you. However, there is a lot you can do to maximize your performance. In the article below, we’ll analyze what these factors are and how you can maximize your efficiency when ice skating.
Is Ice Skating Tiring?
Ice skating can be tiring. It places demands on your muscles and cardiovascular system, and it requires energy and effort. A beginner may find that just 20 minutes of ice skating causes muscular discomfort and fatigue, but even the best skaters get tired after prolonged sessions.
However, just like any form of exercise, your body will adapt to the activity. It’s not uncommon to experience rapid gains in stamina even after a modest amount of activity. What was once exhausting becomes very achievable, but this takes time and commitment.
Ice skating requires skill and technique and learning a new sport or activity forces you to use your muscles in unfamiliar ways, which can cause some muscle soreness and fatigue. However, your body adapts quickly to new techniques, and once you have the basic skills down, soreness diminishes greatly.
How Hard Is It To Learn?
The most important consideration is your goals. If you just want to have fun with family and friends, then it doesn’t take much time. A couple of lessons to build confidence is all you may need. However, if you want to compete on any level, you will need a lot of preparation and training.
How quickly you adapt depends on your fitness levels. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, then it’ll probably take several sessions for you to get used to ice skating. If you’re in good shape, then 20 minutes on the ice may not challenge you much at all.
Is Ice Skating More Tiring Than Running?
Ice skating can be more tiring than running, but in different ways. Ice skating is a very low-impact activity that’s easy on your joints. Running, on the other hand, can cause wear and tear on the knees and ankles. Both activities, however, cause your lungs and heart to work harder.
Running is a good activity to compare to ice skating. They both use and challenge your whole body. There are key distinctions though. The balance requirements for ice skating are high, and this is one of the biggest factors that can tire you out more than running.
Running is something most people know how to do instinctively. It’s an activity most of us have done since childhood. In contrast, it can take a long time to get used to balancing on skates, and this factor makes ice skating more tiring for beginners.
Which Is Right For You?
For beginners, ice skating has a steeper learning curve that increases the load on your body. However, it also has unique benefits. It’s a vigorous form of exercise that’s easier on the joints, but the difficulty and balance demands are what make the activity so enjoyable.
While running is easier to get into, it’s often considered monotonous and a chore by many. Ice skating, on the other hand, often puts you in the moment. There’s a reason many people choose this activity as a family event or a date night. It connects you to yourself and the people you are with.
There are various mental and physical benefits to alternating between the two activities. One important benefit is to the body, because running and ice skating uses very similar muscles in different ways. If you’re a dedicated runner adding some ice skating to your regimen can help your train your body without developing overuse injuries.
8 Tips To Prevent Fatigue When Ice Skating
1. Check Your Equipment
It may seem obvious, but checking to make sure that your equipment fits well is important so you can approach the ice rink with confidence. Your boots should fit snugly and you should feel supported. If your boots are wobbly or leaning out, then they don’t fit well enough.
Ice skating rinks are cooled via a process like refrigeration,so make sure you wear warm clothes. This helps you save on energy as your body expends extra calories to maintain your temperature. If you dress in layers, you can take one or two off if you get too hot.
2. Warm Up Carefully
Walk around the aisles and do some light stretching, but don’t overdo it. Research shows that over-stretching can increase your chances of injury. Instead, do some gentle stretching like touching your toes or exercises like jumping jacks before you put your skates on to get the blood flowing.
When your muscles are cold, they can tear and rip much more easily. When you warm up, you’re increasing the temperature and the elasticity of your muscles. This makes your body able to withstand greater force and increased range of motion much more easily.
3. Learn How To Fall
Falls happen to everyone on the rink, from beginners to Olympian figure skaters. Learning to take a fall properly on the ice is essential, because it gives you the confidence you need to get better. Knowing how to fall will also help prevent injuries like broken wrists or arms from landing on the ice wrong.
The best way to practice falling is to do it on purpose. Get your body as close to the ground as possible by going into a squat position, and don’t fight the natural direction of your fall. Try to land on your bum if you fall backward and catch yourself on your hands if you’re falling forward.
4. Take It In Your Stride
A lot of beginners spend a huge amount of energy worrying about falling and making mistakes. This alone can make ice skating a more tiring activity than it is. The more you fall over, the better you’re getting. Ice skating takes practice, so don’t get discouraged.
It doesn’t matter if anyone laughs at you. They will respect you more for getting up and going again. Altering your mindset even slightly can turn the learning curve into a fun experience filled with great memories, rather than a tiring or embarrassing ordeal.
One of the hidden benefits of ice skating, especially for kids, is that ice skating teaches you resilience in a very fun way. It gives kids an experience of learning to stand back up again after a knockdown, something very hardto teach in the classroom.
5. Get Stronger
There’s an old saying in sports coaching: Strength fixes almost everything. If you’re legs feel wobbly and weak after some time on the rink, consider doing a little strength training. You don’t have to lift heavy weights at the gym. Some yoga poses, bodyweight squats, and lunges can all give your muscles the strength they need to ice skate efficiently.
6. Eat Well
Eat a light meal before ice skating. While it’s true that you don’t want to be weighed down by a large meal, you must eat enough to cover your energy expenditure. Ice skating is a physical sport, and if you don’t eat properly, you’ll find yourself tiring out sooner than you would like.
Not eating enough is a major cause of fatigue. Ice skating over an entire afternoon uses up a lot of calories. A sign that you haven’t eaten enough is that you feel a sudden and deep fatigue where everything you do feels difficult. It’s easy to avoid this by bringing along some food or eating properly beforehand.
7. Watch Your Technique
It’s very possible to teach yourself ice skating, but this can ingrain some bad habits into your technique. If after some time you feel particularly sore in one place, or if you’re feeling a great deal of fatigue even though you’ve not been skating for a long time, get a professional to look at your technique.
8. Know When To Stop
If your knees are locking up and you’re standing up straight, this means your stabilizer muscles have had enough and it’s time to stop for the day and come back to it later. You should always maintain a slight bend at the knee and not learn too far backward or forwards.
Ice skating can be tiring. It’s a relatively low-impact activity, but it challenges your muscles and aerobic capacity. Being able to maximize your stamina and keep you on the ice for a long time without getting tired or injured is key to becoming a better ice skater.