All eyes have been firmly fixed on Dancing on Ice this weekend (especially after Pammie's unfortunate nip-slip!), but can donning a sparkly suit and gliding across ice really help to keep you fit?
According to the experts ice skating, especially figure skating, is a brilliant endurance exercise that helps to build stamina, improve heart health and strengthen your core and lower leg muscles.
40 minutes of moderate ice skating can burn 200 calories (that equates to about one can of full fat coca cola) but, according to the Harvard Medical School, a nine stone woman can burn 420 calories per hour figure skating. That's more than vigorous weight lifting and low impact aerobics. Other comparable activities include water-skiing, tennis and advanced Zumba.
Skating in circles for an hour will up your heart rate, but it won't make you drastically fitter. The key is to try new things - skating backwards, jumping, spinning - anything that tests your body and your muscles.
The more you skate the more your endurance levels will increase, so you'll be able to exercise for longer periods of time before you fall about exhausted. This has a positive impact on your heart health but also on weight loss because your metabolism is raised (allowing you to burn more fat throughout the day).
Will I get more toned?
Skating requires lots of different muscles in the lower legs, upper thighs and the core, so you should notice more tone and definition over time. To really feel the burn, try adding squats and lunges into your circuits, or partner with a friend and skate on one leg while holding your stomach muscles tight.
How often would I need to go skating per week?
Skating once a week isn't going to cut it if you want to lose weight! According to the American College of Sports Medicine you'll need to do three sessions per week for 20 to 40 minutes at a time.
Don't throw yourself in at the deep end straight away. Take some classes, get used to simple circuits and then add the more complicated manoeuvres in when you're feeling confident.
Will I lose weight?
Working up a sweat regularly alongside a healthy diet is the ideal way to lose weight, so ice skating will definitely help! Not only will you be giving your metabolism a boost, you'll also be exercising your heart and lungs which lowers your risk of long term heart disease. Over time you'll notice a shift from fat to muscle in your lower legs and thighs, which means less wobble.
Where is my local ice rink?
Click here to find a list of the permanent ice rinks across the UK. Don't forget there are plenty of temporary ice rinks dotted around the country throughout January, so get in there before they close!
Will you be hitting the ice now? Leave a comment below to be in with a chance of winning a £100 goodie bag
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