When the weather turns cold, it is easy to curl up in a ball on a worn sofa and watch yet another movie or television rerun. However, Jack Frost is not the only one knocking on your door. Obesity is right behind him, putting both children and adults alike are at risk. As appealing as it is to sink deeper into the couch cushions, Single Parent suggests an activity that will be both fun and beneficial – ice skating.
You or your children don’t have to be Michelle Kwan to enjoy the benefits of ice skating. Though her triple loops may not be feasible for the average skater, just about anyone can glide around the rink. “It can be done after school hours or on the weekends, and it can be done as a group. If done using proper safety precautions, it’s also a relatively safe sport,” states Julie Patterson, director of programming and skating at Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“It’s not always convenient
to bring children to the gym,
and ice skating provides
a physical activity that
you and your children can
actively participate in
It’s not always convenient to bring children to the gym, and ice skating provides a physical activity that you and your children can actively participate in together. Not only is it a cardiovascular workout, burning between 400 and 500 calories per hour, but it strengthens all muscles in the leg. More importantly, it teaches children balance and coordination that can be applicable to other sports. Also, it provides great interaction between parent and child. “My daughter takes gymnastics. I can’t do that; they’d have to cart me off to the hospital. But, we can skate together,” states Susan Sweetser, marketing director at Skatetown Ice Arena in Roseville, California.
For those parents on a budget, ice skating is an inexpensive way to get out of the house. Generally, ice rinks charge between $5 – $8 for admission and another $3- $5 for skate rentals. However, ice skating rinks around the country offer discounts and specials. Twin Ponds Family Recreation Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, offers a “Cheap Skate” from 1 – 3 p.m. each Monday and Friday afternoon. They offer discounted rates of $6 for those over seven and $5 for those six and under, including skate rentals.
For those clueless to the art of skating, rinks offer family lessons. Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale, Arizona, offers a “Parents and Pups” program for those with children ages two and a half through five for six sessions for $87. If your child develops an interest in skating, nearly all skating rinks offer skating lessons. Ice rinks, such as the Duluth IceForum just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, offer “Learn to Skate” programs that follows the curriculum of the United States Figure Skating Association. It costs $116 for an eight week session.
However, ice skating is easily self-taught through practice and a little perseverance. Once you and your children are familiar with the basics, many rinks offer themed events and scenic views. Skatetown Ice Arena offers a weekly Friday Night Meltdown from 7 – 10 p.m., including a live DJ and light show. “There’s a live DJ, black light show and games. Snow falls from two places in the ceiling. Then, at 9:15, there’s a snowball fight,” states Sweetser. Others offer scenic views. The Depot Ice Rink in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has floor-to-ceiling windows highlighting the Minneapolis Skyline. Admission is $12 a person, including skate rental, but reservations are required.
Don’t know where to go? Visit www.rinktime.com and search for local ice rinks. Cold weather shouldn’t stop you or your children from staying active. Bundle up, put the kids in the car and discover your inner skater. It will make those grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup that much tastier after a few hours on the ice.
- Bundle Up – Whether skating indoors or outdoors, you can never have enough layers. Plus, they shield the body from a fall. Make sure to bring a pair of gloves to save your hands from the ice.
- Use your Head – For the accident prone, a helmet is a must. Elbow and knee pads, too!
- If the shoe fits – Remember that skates don’t always correspond to shoe sizes. Skates fitting well allow the toes to wiggle, while the heel fits snugly against the back of the skate. Taking the time to fit skates correctly means no blisters (and whining) later.
- Sock it to me – Synthetic or wool socks work best, but make sure they are comfortable and fit well.
- Soak it up – Even though it’s cold, hydration is very important, especially if you are skating for more than an hour.