With summer on the horizon, many of us are trying to watch what we eat and hit the gym…but did you ever consider burning off the calories through ice skating?
Ice skating is a fantastic way to keep fit and have fun. Hitting the ice for an hour is great exercise, skating just 15 laps around the ice rink equates to a mile in distance…that’s a workout in itself! Plus, if you’re 10 and half stone and skate continuously for an hour, you’ll burn off around 600 calories…that’s a bottle of wine or a very large chocolate bar!
If you’re looking to get fit and healthy, or if you just want to try skating for fun, it’s an enjoyable sport and ice skating offers a number of key health and fitness benefits –
Improving joint flexibility through ice skating – if your leg joints creak when you get out of bed in the morning, ice skating could offer a real solution. With its emphasis on quick foot movements and supple knees, your leg joints will receive a great workout and hopefully feel more flexible in no time.
Building leg muscles through ice skating – your legs may currently resemble knobbly-kneed, trembling twigs but ice skating exercise could really change all that. Focusing on lower-body movement, ice skating offers fine exercise for the leg muscles, building them up over time.
Boosting the cardiovascular system through ice skating – an intensive session could really work out your heart and lungs, feeding muscles with oxygen more efficiently.
Keeping mentally fit through ice skating – as well as the physical benefits, ice skating is equally useful for improving mental fitness. Requiring high concentration, strong memory skills and spatial awareness, your mental attributes should develop the longer your ice skating training goes on.
Better balance through ice skating – if you normally topple over at the drop of a hat, ice skating could really help you improve your balance through fun and positive exercise. Travelling across an incredibly slippery surface should quickly train you to stay on your feet!
For more information on Skate UK lessons or public ice skating sessions call 0843 373 3000 or click here for more information.
Elise Christie on Saturday 14th March took Silver in the 500m at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Moscow, Russia for the second consecutive year. She came second only to China’s Kexin Fan, who has dominated in the distance this season.
Christie’s Silver came as welcome news following a tough start to the day when she missed out on a place in the 1,500m final after losing an edge with two laps to go in the semi final.
Christie commented: “I had a bit of a bad start to the day today when I fell in the semi finals – I was disappointed but it’s just one of those things unfortunately and there was nothing I could do about it. That, combined with a difficult few weeks in my personal life, meant that my head was all over the place going into the 500m finals.
“I knew that it was a totally different race though and I still had chance to medal so I was ready for it. I finished top in both my quarter and semi finals but found the final a bit more challenging. Under the circumstances, I’m really pleased with Silver, but I believe that I could have got more out of it if my head was in a different place”.
Christie’s team mate, Charlotte Gilmartin, raced alongside her in the 1,500m semi finals, finishing fourth out of seven and qualifying for the B Final where she took 10th place overall.
Elise added: “Charlotte did so well to finish fourth in her semi final and second in her B Final today – she was up against some of the top skaters in the world and she looked good. There have been some really good performances from the rest of the team this weekend too, and they’ve been unlucky in their races.
“I’m really pleased to have won a medal today for the team and everyone else who has supported me, particularly during this difficult time”.
Stuart Horsepool, Performance Director for GB Short Track said: “I’m really proud of Elise. Despite facing a challenging time, she put in a strong performance in the 500m final and walked away with a medal; we couldn’t have asked for more”.
Jack Whelbourne and Jon Eley raced well in their 500m and 1,500m events today. Unfortunately, Whelbourne received a penalty in his 1,500m semi final so he missed out on a place in the final. In 500m, both skaters made it to the quarter finals with Eley finishing 11th overall and Jack taking 16th place overall.
Horsepool said: “Jack and Jon both had bumps on the start and missed out on a place in their finals. They are up against the best skaters in the world in 500m here in Moscow, so two top 16 finishes out of 40 skaters is still a great achievement as the sport is so competitive and unpredictable.
“The same goes for Charlotte – she placed 10th in 1,500m out of the top 42 female speed skaters in the world and that’s no easy feat. It just goes to show much all of the skaters have progressed this year”.
The men also competed in the semi finals of the 5,000m relay today, with Jon Eley, Jack Whelbourne, Richard Shoebridge and Billy Simms making up the team.
Horsepool added: The men’s relay semi final made for an awesome race today. The men were up against Hungary, the Netherlands and Russia, and we led right from the start. It was a really close race which came down to the last two laps; on the last corner, Jack was in second place on the inside when he unfortunately fell over, resulting in third place”.
The men have qualified for the B Final in the relay, which will take place tomorrow (Sunday 15th March) when the 2015 World Championships will draw to a close. Sunday will also see Elise Christie compete in the women’s 1,000m finals, whilst Jack Whelbourne and Jon Eley will also race in the men’s 1,000m finals.
The GB athletes are all part of the National Ice Skating Association’s (NISA) World Class Short Track Programme.
For a full list of results, go to shorttrack.sportresult.com.
Seven members of the GB Short Track Speed Skating squad are currently in Russia, gearing up for the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships this weekend (Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March). The event is the final competition of the 2014/15 season for the senior speed skaters.
Based on their performances throughout the ISU World Cup Series this season, Jack Whelbourne, Jon Eley, Elise Christie and Charlotte Gilmartin have qualified to compete in the individual events at the World Championships.
Stuart Horsepool, Performance Director for GB Short Track commented: “The quality of the performance programme has meant that we have become progressively better over the course of the season, which has given the squad the experience and confidence they need to skate well this weekend. That’s not just down to the skaters; it’s the whole team behind the scenes including coaches, sports science and sports medicine experts who have seen the squad through the season.”
Elise Christie, who has had a successful season – collecting four medals during the ISU World Cup Series and claiming the European Champion title in January – will be competing in the World Championships, despite losing her Grandmother just a few weeks ago.
Horsepool added: “Elise is very brave for making the decision to compete in the World Championships, considering everything that is going on in her personal life. She was extremely close to her Grandmother, and the passing of family members is emotionally draining so it’s a testament to her professionalism that she’s even come out to Russia”.
Christie’s boyfriend and team mate, Jack Whelbourne said: “Family comes first and Elise needs to have her time to focus on her personal life. I know firsthand how much pressure is involved in the sport, and the whole team is really proud of her for soldiering on. Now more than ever, we need to step up and support Elise in order to get the results for the team.
“I’m feeling really excited going in to the World Championships this year. I’ve been focused on my individual performance for much of this season, and going out to the training camp in Korea in summer was a massive boost for me. It’s given me the confidence to go out and give it my best shot this weekend”.
Horsepool has confidence in his team, having seen noticeable improvements in all of them during the 2014/15 season. He added:
“We have more skaters performing at a higher level now; we have had 30 top ten finishes from the squad at the World Cups and European Championships this season, which just shows the depth of talent we have going into the World’s and beyond. Elise has had a really strong season, medalling in 1,500m and 500m distances at the European Championships earlier this year. Charlotte has continued to improve and is now consistently making top ten’s at World Cup level. She also made her first ever World Cup A Final this season and narrowly missed out on a medal at the European Championships.
“Following Sochi, Jack had a slow start to the season, but he has shown big improvements in the last two World Cups; reaching three out of four finals is exceptional. He now needs to turn those opportunities into medals. Jon, whose biggest strength is 500m, has also had a consistent season, making top 16’s in a number of races this year.
Richard Shoebridge will skate alongside Eley and Whelbourne in the men’s 5,000m relay, with Billy Simms and Joshua Cheetham hoping for the fourth and final place in the four-man relay team. Qualification for the relay is based upon results from the World Cup Series, with only the top eight teams in the world securing a place at the World Championships.
Jack Whelbourne added: “We’ve done really well to reach the relay at the World Championships this year as we only competed in four out of six relay events in the World Cup Series. It’s exciting to have Junior and Senior skaters racing together in the relay. The event isn’t about getting a medal for us this year, it’s about experience and development for the Juniors. Billy and Josh have both been performing well and as our top junior skaters, they will need the experience of competing in the relay at world level as we turn our focus to the next Winter Olympics.
Christie, Gilmartin, Eley and Whelbourne will compete across all three distances in the individual events (1,500m, 500m and 1,000m), starting with the qualifying rounds on Friday 13th March. The 1,500m and 500m events will continue to a finish on Saturday (14th March), along with the men’s relay semi final. The event will culminate in the 1,000m and men’s relay finals on Sunday (15th March).
Horsepool said: “While I have every confidence in the squad and their ability, we have to keep in mind that speed skating is very unpredictable, with a lot more competition than in some other sports. This year, we have been strongly focused on performance and developing race skills, because the more experience they can take into Pyeongchang 2018, the better”.
The GB athletes are all part of the National Ice Skating Association’s (NISA) World Class Short Track Programme.
To follow the results over the weekend, go to http://www.isu.org/en/short-track-speed-skating/calendar-of-events/2015/03/isu-world-short-track-speed-skating-championships.
The races will be streamed live at http://livemanager.eurovision.edgesuite.net/isu/index.html.
For more information on GB Short Track and speed skating in the UK, go to www.gbshorttrack.org or www.iceskating.org.uk.
For International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating our women of the moment in ice sports here in the UK! These are women who are on the top of their game now, inspiring others to join their ice skating disciplines:
Gedling’s Jessica Urquhart made Nottingham Lions men’s team history when the 16 year old Great Britain International ice hockey player became the first ever female to play for the men’s Division 1 team this season. Jessica also ices for the women’s Vipers team as well as the U18A men’s team in Nottingham. She was also top goal scorer in her Junior league last season. In 2012 Jessica also made history by being the youngest player on the U18 GB team that competed in the World Championships and has been on the team ever since competing in two further world championships in Germany and earlier this year in Poland. Jessica has been a winner of the prestigious Gedling Women’s Sports Award and also the Nottinghamshire Sports Person of the Year Award.
Elise Christie, Nottingham Sportswoman of the Year in 2013 is a GB short track speed skater. Christie was born in Scotland in 1990. When she was 15 she moved to Nottingham to train full-time. Christie had the most successful season for any British female short track speed skater ever in the 2012/13 season. At the 2015 European Championships in Dordrecht in the Netherlands Christie claimed her first overall European title after winning gold in the 500m and 1500m and finishing second in the 3000m super final.
Team Icicles are the Junior team from Nottingham who finished the British Synchronised Skating Championships with a National title and a Gold medal with a score of 109.38. Comprising a squad of 20 skaters, this young team have gone form strength to strength on the National Stage and are currently at the top of the National Rankings for Junior level synchronised skating. Representing GBR at the Junior Worlds in 2014, they achieved the highest ever score for a GBR team (93.16) and the highest ranking at this level: 14th place. They are currently the most successful Junior level synchronised skating team in GBR and hope to consolidate their position with an improvement on last year’s position at the forthcoming Junior Worlds in Croatia.
Penny Coomes (partner to Nick Buckland) is an English ice dancer, she is the 2014 European bronze medalist and has won six other international medals. Penny and Nick are also three-time British national champions (2012–2014) and competed at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. Penny Coomes trained at the National Ice Centre from 2004 to 2011 at which point she relocated to the USA to train with two-time Olympic Champion Evgeni Platov.