Temperatures all over the country have been in the high 90s for about the past month, with warnings to stay inside for those who are vulnerable to the health dangers of heat and humidity. While there are diehards out there jogging at 5 a.m. to beat the heat and humidity, getting up at that hour to exercise is probably not all that appealing to most people (only two people I know would do that). So what is a weight watcher to do when it is too hot to exercise outside or for health reasons, you must exercise indoors?
The answer? Take your summer exercise indoors by going to an ice skating rink. Right here in the Albuquerque area we have two arenas where you can skate. On the west side is Blades, in Rio Rancho; and on the east side, near the road to the Tram, is the Outpost Ice Arena, with its CooLLoop(R) Concept rink (loops around entire facility–watch the video on its website). General admission for both arenas starts at $10, including skate rental. You can buy discount tickets for additional skating time, especially if you plan to take lessons.
Like any sport, costs can add up pretty fast if you are into matching the “look” of the professionals or wanting to wear the latest when it comes to attire, including the skates themselves. But you don’t need to spend a dime on a new ice skating outfit–just wear jeans (but not tight-fitting ones!). Women might want to wear a long-sleeved top; guys can get by with a short-sleeved t-shirt. You might like a light jacket (after all, it has to be cold enough inside to keep the ice from melting), too. For those who skate an entire public session of 2 hours, you will likely be shedding your jacket before long. So wear something light, and then tie it around your waist when you start to get warm. While ice skating is a low-impact execise, adults are still vulnerable to injuries. It is not uncommon to see adults wearing helmets. This figure skater has always worn gloves when skating–and leaves the watch and rings at home. If you do fall, you don’t want to damage those items.
As for burning calories, this low-impact sport has big yields–a 150-pound adult who skates recreationally for an hour can burn 600 calories. If you weigh more, you burn more calories. Your entire body gets a workout, from your feet and ankles to your shoulders. You will improve your balance, too, as well as strengthen the muscles in your legs. And, for those taking lessons, you will learn even more moves that will burn more calories. Lessons can help keep you from getting bored on the ice, too, if you tend to just glide around each time. If you are concerned about falling, the instructors will teach you how to fall. Believe me, you WILL fall at some time (and more than once). But if you have ever fallen when skiing, then falling on the ice should be easy to learn.
Sticking with a fitness program means finding something you enjoy doing and, preferably, as a bonus, something that is inexpensive, lots of fun, gets you socializing with others, and is fairly easy to learn the basics. As with any sport, checking with your doctor if you have some medical concerns is always advised.
If you think you might be the lone ranger among a bunch of kids and teenagers, guess again. The age range you see on the ice will be little kids all the way up to people in their 80s, and even older. The popularity of figure skating among older adults has increased considerably. Grandparents take their grandchildren, girlfriends plan a day out, couples enjoy an activity together, and singles have fun, too.
So, give it a try. Get relief from the heat and burn calories at the same time. With more than 75 public skating sessions at one rink alone from which to choose in a month, you have absolutely no excuse for not exercising!