At the time of this writing the new ice-skating rink at Majestic Park has been active for over a month, and updates on the Gardiner NY Facebook group have kept us current on its progress as well as the success of the homemade, 44-gal, Zamboni a local hero, Michael Albright, has been refinishing the ice with. Kudos to Michael and all the volunteers who have been dedicating their time and effort to make the rink a success! I must admit that upon first hearing about the rink, I thought, “what a great idea!”, but then I started wondering how many residents would take advantage of this new outdoor venue for icy play of various sorts. I hoped many would since skating is so beneficial. Learning how to ice skate builds strength, develops confidence, and teaches the value of perseverance, and thus would obviously be great for kids who’d be learning so much more than how to ice skate. Kids are filled with the joy every time they try something new and improve even a little bit, and each time they fall, it will strengthen their confidence to get back up and try again; a very useful thing to learn in today’s world.
For adults looking for a cool way to work out over the winter, ice skating has many health and wellness benefits, plus it’s lots of fun! Anyone who has done it knows that skating works nearly every muscle group in the body—and they have the Ben-Gay to prove it! According to Harvard Medical School, ice skating will burn up to 200 calories per hour, making it a great way to lose or maintain weight when combined with a healthy diet. Like any cardiovascular workout, skating gets blood pumping and the heart rate up. More importantly, it’s a lot of fun to glide around the ice, and after a bit of practice, it feels like flying!
Anyone who exercises regularly would agree that working out in general is a great way to relieve stress because physical activity releases endorphins in the brain. Learning to ice skate also boosts self-confidence and hones focus as you learn the many new moves skating offers, like crossovers, going backwards and spinning. Bringing friends to the rink or meeting new people during lessons is also a great way to relax and unwind after a long week at work. Skating dates, anyone?
The only equipment needed to do it is a properly fitted pair of skates, which is a must. Perhaps a new skate-rental business will start up in town, or perhaps an existing business will be inspired to take on renting skates to those who are not sure they will stick with skating or just want a day’s outing? Rental skates are usually high quality, and typically you’d try on various sizes until you get the right fit. Aside from skates, make sure you bring a pair of gloves to protect your hands during falls, dress in warm clothing you can move in and bring pads and a helmet if they make you feel more comfortable.
I interviewed Sandy Thomson, a long-time skate instructor at Ice Time Sports Complex in Newburgh, about where someone who wants to start skating should begin, and she said, “A basic skating class is the safest bet if you’ve never been on the ice before or haven’t skated since childhood. These classes teach important skills like how to stop and how to fall! Starting out by learning the right way is a lot more fun than struggling, clutching the rink wall, and possibly getting hurt.” As self-conscious as so many-including me–can be, I thought, “I guess knowing how to skate can come in pretty handy. In the least, if a person learns a few things, they won’t have to worry about looking stupid when they get on ice.” For info about the new ice rink, go to townofgardiner.org/parks-and-recreation-committee, or contact the Parks and Rec Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info about ice skating lessons: email@example.com.