Activities to Keep You “Skating” All Year Long
By Kris Fondran
For those of us who live in the coldest parts of the northern hemisphere, the winter months do not really lend themselves to a lot of skating unless it is on an ice rink, roller rink, or indoor skate park. Those that love to experience skating on the city streets and parks usually have to hang up their skates and hibernate until the snow thaws. This can make for a long, long skatingless winter.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The following are some ideas to help keep your skating skills sharp as you wait for the snow to melt and sun to shine in your part of the world.
Make Your Way South
One way to beat the “winter blues” is to make plans that will take you south toward warmer weather or to a skating event like the Great EsSkate in Miami, FL February 8-10th. At the Great EsSkate you can join hundreds of inline skaters from around the world as you explore Miami, Florida, USA and one of the “hippest and hottest” skate weekends around!
Don’t have the cash at the moment to fly off to a warm locale to skate? Not many really do given the current world wide financial crises. Why not make the most of what you do have and hunker down and prepare for the skating season ahead by staying right where you are?
Surf the Internet
Do you want to know what is going on in the skating world around you? Take these winter months to do a little research. Inline Planet is an amazing “all things inline skating“ website that caters to the fitness skater or distance skater. Product reviews, tips by the pros of the industry, and skater forums are just some of what this site has to offer. Skatelog.com and About.com are also good resources for skating information.
For the younger or more adventurous skater who may be drawn to the “extreme” side of skating check out Aggressive.com. There you will find off the hook pictures and videos of skaters around the world along with blogs and forums that will keep you posted on the “cooler” side of skating.
Of course you could just stay right here at Rollerblade.com and explore the Rollerblade site, which is loaded with articles, videos, and product information to keep you privy to the latest and greatest Rollerblade has to offer.
Read More Books
If you are a “hard copy” kind of person and want to learn more about skating in general or improve your overall technique or skating experience, try a good old-fashioned book. Author and inline skating instructor Liz Miller has a few that at will get you well on your way to rolling or rolling better by the spring. Liz has been skating and promoting skating for over 20 years so you know you will be in good hands.
For additional “how to” books, children’s books, and even Playstation skating related videos check out Amazon.com where you can find something for every kind of skater.
Online Videos & Tutorials
When it comes to finding videos on skating, You Tube is brimming with all sorts. From basic skills to extreme skating there is a video to show you how. Some are better than others so you may need to click around a bit to find the best ones, but if there is a skating skill or “trick” you have wanted to master but haven’t quite yet, no doubt you will find someone, from somewhere telling you how!
Skateline Skate School out of Singapore has quite a few “how-to videos” ranging from basic skills to teaching children to learning the “Makio” and “Cross Nelson” for slalom skating. Also check out Skate Fresh from the UK where you will find basic skill “mini-tutorials” that just may inspire you to put your skates on right there in your living room! Both sites feature instruction by certified skating instructors so expect clear and effective instruction throughout.
Ice Skating/Roller skating
If you live near an outdoor ice skating rink, pond, or track then you should be outside ice skating! However, if ice skating outside is not an option then take your skating to a nearby indoor ice or roller rink. Sure, it isn’t as exciting as skating outdoors as the environment is fixed and predictable, BUT the technique is basically the same and you will not have to battle the elements to keep those skating muscles active. Just about all ice and roller rinks offer group and private skating lessons, which can be an excellent way to ensure that you will be a better, faster, more agile skater come spring.
If you are heading to a roller rink and you wear a heel brake be sure to have a “hex key” or Allen wrench on hand as most will want you to remove the brake before skating. Need to get your inner “Blades of Glory” on instead? Try Rollerblade’s Bladerunner Ice to get the most of your ice skating experience.
Take the Time to Get In Shape
Putting on a few kilos/pounds of “winter weight” is common for most but it doesn’t have to be. Why not prevent it from happening to you AND keep the muscles of the legs, hips, and glutes toned and ready for skating? You already know the importance of good health and a well-rounded fitness routine so let the New Year be the perfect time to get started or to establish new goals for the year ahead.
Keeping up the level of cardiovascular fitness during the winter months, which includes improving the function of both the heart and lungs, is integral for those who like to skate for long periods without getting tired. If you currently are not doing something to keep your level of cardiovascular fitness up you will most likely pay for it the first time you put your skates on in the spring. Shortened breath and soreness in the legs from lactic acid build up will not make your skating experience too pleasant! Improve the muscle endurance in your legs by engaging in more cardiovascular conditioning.
Thirty minutes of cardio 3 times per week is recommended to maintain your current level of fitness. If your goal is to skate longer and faster in the spring you will need to work toward 45-60 minutes and increase intensity if you want to see improvements.
While skating automatically builds the muscles of the legs, hips, and gluteus, these muscles are further developed and can be engaged for longer periods of time without tiring when there is additional strength training.
Conditioning muscles for strength is accomplished through variety of resistance exercises. Free weights, nautilus, resistance bands, and even your own body weight (squats, lunges, etc.) can be used to build muscle strength and endurance.
Don’t forget the upper body and core. Since upper body and core strength is also important for balance and skating posture, maintenance and development of these areas should also be included in your strength training routine. Body weight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups can be done at home and, if performed correctly, can be quite effective at increasing muscle strength in these regions of the body.
Strength training regularly will stabilize joints and in turn can assist in injury prevention. In addition, maintaining or increasing muscle mass will help keep your metabolism high and slow down the “winter weight” gain that so many people experience during this time due to decreased physical activity.
An increase in flexibility and improvement in posture will undeniably benefit those skating for fitness, recreation, competition, or fun.
Click on the following links that will take you to a few yoga poses with pictures and detailed descriptions that address specific skating muscles. This is just an initial list to get you going.
Add these and other traditional stretches and come springtime you should see improvement in your skating posture, technique, and overall skating experience regardless of your age or the kind of skating that you do.
Do Your “Homework” and Roll Smoothly in 2013
Just about all of the above can be done in the comfort of your home, nearby gym/recreation center, or indoor skating facility. Don’t let the dark days of winter keep you from the sport you love. “Roll” into spring by doing something now that will make skating an even more pleasurable competitive, extreme, experience.