Featured Image Caption: Figure Skating Sport
Winter is coming and with it winter sports. As a spectator, you know to dress in warm clothes, jackets, gloves, hats, and boots. This makes sense, as you are usually outside, or in an indoor arena that is going to need to be quite cool to maintain ideal skating conditions.
As an athlete, it is probably more important for you to take measures to keep warm. Even though playing hockey or figure skating involves a lot of movement, which is usually enough to keep you warm, any pause in activity or improper warm-up can leave you feeling cold, which can make your muscles stiffen and lead to other issues that could negatively impact your performance.
Skin exposure to freezing conditions can also become an issue, instances of hypothermia or frostbite are not unheard of, and the cold weather coupled with excessive sweating is a recipe for getting sick.
With that in mind, here are four key ways to ensure that you are comfortable and warm while skating on the ice.
Avoid lacing up your ice skates too tightly
A common mistake made by beginners, and when distracted, by some experts too, is lacing up your skates too tightly.
It might sound obvious, but tight laces will cause a couple of things that can lead to an uncomfortable skate.
Soreness and lack of movement in your ankles are two things that we all want to avoid. However, when it comes to keeping warm, a lack of blood circulation to your feet will actually cause them to feel cold and sore.
There is a proper way to lace up without the worry of doing them too tight.
Lacing should be done in two parts. First, you start by lacing across the instep; then, you lace around the hooks. They should be tight enough to hold the foot securely in place, while also allowing you to bend your knees and walk regularly. This ensures stability, reduces the risk of the laces coming undone, and keeps them at the appropriate tightness without cutting off circulation.
Use proper skating dresses and leggings
Remember: layers, layers, layers! However, don’t use bulky layers that can impact your performance. Instead, wear thermal layers that move with you, allow you to skate naturally, and carry out manoeuvres with ease.
Hoodies, jumpers, and other layers to cover your chest and arms can be a little on the bulky side, but it’s what you wear on your legs that can have the biggest impact on your performance.
By wearing tights under sports trousers, or thermal figure skating leggings, you can keep warm and not lose your ability to skate and move.
If you have a competition coming up and want to wear skating dresses, then a couple of thick layers of tights will help you get accustomed to the outfit.
Leg warmers are another layer that you can use. They help to lock in the heat around the boots as well. This way, if you are skating outside and it’s windy, then they can help stop the cold from getting in through the laces.
Warm up your body before getting on the ice rink
Figure skating, like any physical sport, is best done after a warm-up session to get your muscles limbered and warmed, as well as the blood circulating faster and your heart rate increased.
Any athlete will tell you that their sport is easier after a warm-up session, and it doesn’t have to be long or arduous. A few simple techniques prior to getting out on the ice will help you to perform better and stay warmer.
These can be simple actions like jogging to the ice rink (instead of driving), jump rope, or other forms of movement to get the blood pumping. You don’t need to go to the gym for an hour prior to your session. These simple cost-free actions can warm you up easily.
Dry out and preheat your ice skates
If you skate in outdoor rinks, in particular, but can also apply to any rink, it’s important to not leave your skates in the vehicle when you return home. This will keep the moisture within the skates and prevent them from drying out properly. The end result will be damp skates the next time you need to wear them.
Bring them into the house to dry them out fully, and prevent them from getting any water damage. You can also sprinkle baby powder on the inside of the skate to help remove any excess moisture that has built up.
When it’s time to wear them again, make sure that they are fully dry and paired up with some thick warm socks. You can even blast them with warm air from a hand dryer at the rink prior to putting them on.
You can also place hand or foot warmers inside the skates on your journey to the rink. This will allow suitable time for the skates to warm up, and make your session more comfortable and better overall with warmer feet.
Skate Better When You’re Warmer
Ultimately, when you are warmer, you will find it easier to skate and your performance will not be hindered.
By making sure your skates are dried properly, laced correctly, and even warmed up prior to wearing, you can help to keep your feet warm and comfortable, making skating a lot easier. Dry thick socks and reusable warmers will be your friends in the winter.
Wearing the appropriate attire, such as thermal figure skating leggings and/or leg warmers will help to protect your skin, allowing you to move freely and carry out twists and jumps.
Doing a short warm-up session prior to skating will allow your body to retain heat and your muscles to be free from spasms.
By Devon Graham
who is a blogger in Toronto. He graduated with honours from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing. Devon Graham is a community manager for small businesses across Canada. He also likes to research various topics related to pets, food, storage solutions and business solutions.
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