Summer may be coming to a close, but if you’re still looking to beat the heat, why not put your workout on ice?
While ice skating is most often associated with the Olympics and holiday outings, it’s also a fun, low impact way to get fit. And if you find the ice a bit intimidating, never fear - Lisa Ware has a program proven to take anyone from tennis shoes to ice skates with ease and grace.
Ware, a USFSA Freestyle Gold Medalist and CFSA Artistic Gold Medalist, has been teaching people to skate for 25 years. Currently, Ware is the “Learn to Skate” Director with the Kingsgate Skating Club at Kingsgate Ice Arena.
Ware gets everyone from four year olds to 84 year olds out on the ice.
“We have all ages all levels. We have people who have never skated and people who are turning and starting to really take off,” said Ware.
About a year ago, Scott Reussser was one of those newbie skaters. On his 50th birthday, he decided to cross learning to skate off his bucket list. Reussser signed up for lessons, and now you’ll find him expertly spinning, jumping and skating backwards across the ice every week.
A great byproduct of all that skating, Reussser has gotten into great shape.
“It’s an incredible exercise. This year when I went in for my physical, my doctor goes, oh you’ve been really working out, and I said no I’ve actually just been skating,” said Reussser.
That’s no surprise since ice skating works your entire lower body including the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Plus, constantly balancing improves coordination and recruits all the muscles in the core. As you become more comfortable and can skate laps around the rink, skating becomes a great cardio workout as well. In fact, estimates say a 150 pound woman can burn 390 calories in one hour with light skating and 500 calories per hour with more vigorous skating.
With lessons available for both parents and kids, skating is an activity the whole family can enjoy.
Emma West loved watching skating during the Olympics and asked her mom Trisha if she could give the sport a try. Not only did Trisha agree, she joined her daughter. Over the last year and a half, the duo has loved using their time on the ice to bond.
“It’s about just being with my mom and having some alone time and being able to do stuff together. It’s just fun,” said Emma.
Along with having fun together, Trisha and Emma have proven to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders.
“She’s wonderful ‘cause she’ll say, ‘Mommy, good job.’ She’s way more advanced than I am, but she encourages me,” Trisha said. “We go out together on the weekends during free skate, and then we do lessons. It’s just been a nice mother-daughter activity.”
According to Ware, ice skating offers a feature more competitive and high intensity activities sometimes miss.
“I think that skating is different than other sports other recreation,” said Ware. “There is an element of art sports. It’s a very creative thing,”
Similar to dancers, ice skaters add music to their routines and Ware teaches students how to build programs. The combination of focusing on skating skills while your favorite song plays in the background allows the mind to escape email inboxes and daily to-do lists.
Plus, “it’s just so fun, everyone’s happy,” added as Reusser. “You don’t see one unhappy person, and even if you fall down people are still pretty happy.”
To keep from falling down, Ware offers a few tips for new skaters.
• Lessons start off ice so skaters can get a feel for their blades.
• Once you hit the ice, keep your knees bent and aim for a low center of gravity.
• Resist the urge to lean back and keep arms in front of you.
To learn more about the Kingsgate Ice Arena and lessons with the Kingsgate Skating Club check out their websites:
Other arenas around Western Washington that offer ice skating classes for adults:
Castle Ice Arena – Renton
Kent Valley Ice Centre – Kent
Bremerton Ice Center – Bremerton
Comcast Community Ice Arena – Everett
Highland Ice Arena – Shoreline
Lynnwood Ice Center – Lynnwood
SportsPlex – Bellingham
Caitlin Murphy's website: Fit Fab Cities