Outdoor skating

I was pretty excited about the Rink of Dreams opening for the season last week!  If you ask me sometime in February (when it's -40 out) why I moved to Ottawa, I will cringe and say I don't know what I was thinking, but in December, when skating season starts, I'm pretty happy about it.  The photo is one of me and my friend Leah skating in Niagara Falls last winter.

I often get bored of doing cardio in the gym, and skating is a great way to switch up a workout.  Leisurely skating burns approximately 5 calories per minute, which puts it at around the same caloric output as moderate stationary biking in the gym.  Compared to other low-impact activities, skating burns more calories than moderate walking, but less than the elliptical.

Getting ready to go skating?  Here are some tips:

Wear layers that keep you warm, but allow you to move efficiently.  I recommend a long sleeve workout (my personal favourite is ACX brand from Giant Tiger) shirt under a fleece sweater (love this leopard one from Old Navy), and a parka.  A warm pair of tights (these Under Amour tights are expensive, but a good investment if you spend a lot of time outside) and snow pants will keep you warm but won't restrict movement.

Walk to a local rink for your warm up.  Keep in mind that stretching before outdoor skating can be a bad idea since it is so cold outside, the muscles will be cold too.  Never stretch a cold muscle!  Warm up with a fast paced walk instead. 

Cross train in the gym with exercises that work the muscles used for skating, with side lunges, squats and single leg deadlifts.  These exercises will strengthen the glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower back and abs.  They will also improve your balance.  Be sure to maintain good posture with chest out, straight back, abs in and keep your weight on your heels for these exercises:

Skating a fun way to include some extra cardio in your day, and it is low impact!  Enjoy!
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