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4 Ways to Protect Yourself Ice Skating This Holiday Season

November 30, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
Family ice skating

With outdoor ice-skating rinks returning this holiday season, a lot of people will be hitting the ice – hopefully in a good way.

Ice skating is a fun, family-friendly activity that mixes both grace and athleticism. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skater, it’s crucial to prioritize safety to prevent injuries on the ice.

Here are some safety tips to consider before you try out the rink.

Wear appropriate protective gear

One of the most effective ways to safeguard yourself while ice skating is to wear the right protective gear. A helmet is particularly important as it provides crucial protection for your head, reducing the risk of serious injury in case of falls or collisions. Knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards are also designed to cushion impacts and prevent fractures, sprains and abrasions. You can even buy padded compression shorts to protect your tailbone if you fall.

Practice makes perfect

Learning and practicing proper skating techniques are vital to avoiding injuries. If you’re a beginner, consider taking lessons from a qualified instructor about the fundamentals of skating, such as how to maintain balance, execute turns and stop safely.

Understanding these techniques will help you better control your movements, reducing the likelihood of accidents. Remember to start with basic skills and gradually progress to more advanced maneuvers as your proficiency increases.

Warm-up and stretch

Before stepping on the ice, warm up your body and stretch your muscles. Skating requires balance, coordination and strength, and warming up helps prepare your body for these demands.

Engage in light aerobic exercises, such as jogging or jumping jacks, to increase your heart rate and blood flow. Do stretches that target your lower body, legs, hips, and ankles, such as lunges and hamstring and butterfly stretches. This will improve your flexibility, reduce muscle tension and decrease the risk of strains and pulls.

Be mindful of your surroundings

Practicing good ice etiquette is essential for preventing injuries at the rink. To start, always skate in designated areas and follow any posted rules or instructions provided by rink staff.

Keep an eye out for other skaters and maintain a safe distance to avoid collisions. When passing or overtaking other skaters, use hand signals or verbal cues to let them know your intentions. Be mindful of ice conditions and avoid areas with cracks, bumps or slippery patches. If you aren’t the best skater yet, it’s okay to hold onto the wall, too, until you feel more confident in your ice skating abilities.

It’s always better to take precautions and enjoy skating injury-free. So, lace up your skates, follow these guidelines and have a fantastic time gliding across the ice this season!

Brent Newell, MD, Board-Certified Physiatrist for Huntsville Hospital Spine & Neuro Center

– Brent Newell, MD, Board-Certified Physiatrist for Huntsville Hospital Spine & Neuro Center.

Dr. Newell specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation and provides non-surgical treatments to relieve back, neck, and muscle, joint or nerve pain. Call (256) 533-1600 to make an appointment with Dr. Newell today or click here to learn more.