What are the physical health benefits of skating?
Figure skating is a sport with many physical health benefits, as multiple muscles of the body are continuously used. Jumps, spins, and edge work all activate the core, arms, and lower body. In addition to skating on ice, off ice warm ups and a consistent stretching routine further work to refine and strengthen your body. Sports such as skating have been proven to improve heart and lung functions, reduce stress, and blood pressure, in addition to improving joint flexibility and endurance. All of these factors reduce the health risks of obesity, osteoporosis (a condition in which bones become brittle and are more susceptible to break), and diabetes. Specifically, obesity and diabetes are two growing conditions among American children. Currently, 1 in 5 children are affected by obesity and 15,000 youths are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the United States every year. Figure skating is a great sport to help reduce these numbers. With more participation in physical activities, younger American generations will grow healthier, stronger, less stressed, enjoying these benefits beyond the ice rink.
How does physical exercise affect mental health?
Exercise goes beyond improving just your physical health; though it is true that the risks of diabetes, cardiac failure, and even cancer are diminished with exercise, your mental health is also greatly benefited. Studies have shown that physical exercise can improve sleeping habits, stress levels, self-esteem, and serotonin levels in the brain. Thus, exercise can help eliminate negative thoughts and further develop a more positive outlook on life. Skating comprehensively contributes to these physical and mental health benefits. By working hard on and off the ice with friends, skaters can improve their social skills and build life-long relationships, which in turn can make them happier and further allow their mental health to flourish. Figure skaters also need lots of mental strength to handle the stressful pressures of competition, get past mental blocks, and exceed in their skating careers. Building mental strength takes years of effort, but the self-discipline required by sports helps athletes successfully reach their goals.
Mental Health Resources
May is a national Mental Health Awareness month. US Figure Skating has provided a list of resources for its members on this very important topic:
Join the National Alliance on Mental illness and take this opportunity for all of us to come together and remember the inherent value we each hold.