Lacing up your skates and heading on the ice is one of the most enjoyable activities around.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be addicted to hockey, figure skating, recreational skating, and other ice sports.
Several decades ago, skating on ice had a high degree of risk.
People would skate on ponds and lakes (they still do) which came with a possibility of cracking. Anything less than 4 inches of thickness can be dangerous.
The thickness is also dependent on factors like weather and how long the ice froze.
For example, ice closer to spring is considerably weaker than the start of winter.
Today, people prefer backyard rinks, refrigerated rinks, and synthetic ice skating.
Synthetic ice skating, in particular, has risen in popularity over the years.
Many of our customers prefer synthetic ice tiles and panels instead of natural ice.
These specially made panels connect and form a smooth skating surface that you can use with your metal skates.
Synthetic ice is highly customizable, durable, and easy to install.
With these rinks and refrigerated and backyard rinks, the dangers of skating reduced significantly.
That does not mean that we can skate without thinking about any safety.
Everyone wants to have fun without thinking about injury to ourselves, our kids, and our loved ones.
Whether you own a commercial space or a backyard rink, there are a few steps that will have you slipping and sliding safely.
Check your installation
Our synthetic ice panels are easy to install.
Once you connect the puzzle piece edges, you’ll need a heavy rubber mallet to make sure they lock in place.
While rare, there is always a chance that the rink can shift out of place.
Constant use can also cause the surface to lose some of its smoothness, which is essential for skating.
Both issues can increase the chances of falls and injury.
Make sure to check your installation periodically.
Before skating, make sure to inspect the rink for debris, bumps, and loose tiles.
Then, clean the rink and fix any loose tiles or panels with your mallet.
Synthetic rink owners are always encouraged to invest in a resurfacing agent.
This helps the rink to regain its smoothness for a better skate.
Mix the solution with water and spray it evenly on the rink before you or your kids start skating.
Walls = Clearly defined edges
You don't necessarily need walls if you have a synthetic rink.
The tiles or panels come ready right out of the box.
For a small space with 4-8 tiles, you’ll have a small surface area to skate or practice drills.
However, large rinks over 30’ long increase the risk of skating off the edge if there are no rink walls.
Rink walls are plastic or wood barriers that give the skater clearly defined boundaries.
The added plexiglass you see in hockey leagues prevents stray pucks from heading into the crowd.
For any large personal or private rink, adding even the smallest barriers will help them stop, preventing falls and injury.
Show good skating etiquette.
Even with your rink walls in place, collisions can happen.
People can bump into each other, and hockey can (and will) get physical.
Having good rink etiquette will minimize the chances of injury.
You’ll need to reduce actions like bodychecks, which can happen against goalposts and boards.
Younger skaters should focus on skills and speed.
Excess bodychecks can quickly send someone to the hospital.
If possible, keep a safe distance, especially on larger rinks where multiple activities can occur simultaneously.
Don’t Forget To Warm Up.
Muscular pains, strains, tendonitis, and other musculoskeletal conditions are common in skating.
In many cases, skaters could avoid these injuries with the proper warm-up.
Hockey and figure skating are explosive activities that require your muscles to fire effectively.
Warming up lengthens the muscles and ligaments, getting them primed for work.
You’ll probably need to warm up longer than usual since the added cold temperatures reduce the amount of oxygen going to your muscles.
That means muscles that can’t contract quickly enough, increasing the chances of injury.
A simple warm-up should consist of 10-15 minutes of stretching to cover the legs, hips, arms, and shoulders.
From there, skaters should skate around the rink for another 10 minutes, gradually increasing the intensity.
This 20-25 minutes of stretching and exercise should be enough to help with muscle contraction and reduce strains.
Consider safety equipment
Do you have a young child that’s eager to get on the ice?
Not so fast. With skateboarding, rollerblading, and biking, safety often comes first. The same should be done for skating.
Get your children helmets to keep blows to the head at a minimum.
It would be wise to invest in elbow and knee pads as well.
Then, they can move on to standard hockey safety gear as they get older. Figure skaters have less protection than hockey players.
However, padding under the clothes can prevent injury when falling during practice, which is inevitable.
Check your skates
Wearing ill-fitting skates is one of the fastest ways to a twisted ankle or toe injury.
Skates that are too small can increase the chances of falls, blisters, and ankle injuries.
It’s essential when buying skates for yourself or loved ones that you try the skates with the same thick socks you’ll use on the ice.
This extra step ensures the skates are comfortable.
Furthermore, you want your skates to fit warm, cozy socks.
Skating for prolonged periods in the cold increases the chances of frostbite or circulatory issues if you don’t have the right socks.
Choosing the right size is tricky since different brands have different sizes and skate volumes.
It’s best to visit a skate shop for a proper fitting, which means a safer skate.
While you’re at it, make sure to clean your skates and have your blades sharpened after every 15-20 hours of skate time.
Blades get uneven, thanks to nicks and bumps.
The damage can increase the chances of falls, especially if you’re hard on the edges.
Synthetic ice can dull your blades thanks to increased friction, so check your blades early and often.
Learn to fall
No matter what you do or how hard you try, falling is part of ice skating.
Even the most experienced and skilled skaters fall (hard) on the biggest stages, which begs the question; how can they get back up so quickly?
One of the basics of ice skating is learning how to fall.
Falling properly prevents injuries like wrist fractures and even softens the blow.
Experts recommend practicing to fall on the side or behind, using the forearms for support.
This technique protects the head and wrist from serious injury.
Placing your hands down around other skaters also increases the chances of cuts or collisions.
Finally, falling too far forward increases the chances of injury.
Unfortunately, proper falling comes with experience, as using the wrong technique is purely instinctive.
However, teaching about the mechanics of falling can help skaters cope with the issue.
Get a coach
Whatever type of skating you’re into, there’s someone out there who can teach you to do it the right way.
Hiring a coach increases your skillset in a shorter timeframe.
Coaches also hold you accountable, can inspire and install confidence.
But that’s not all. Coaches can teach the essentials of safe skating.
Clear floodlight wires
Are you or your loved ones skating at night?
A backyard rink at night is a great place to have fun, but you’ll need some light.
It is not uncommon to see floodlights or other light fixtures around backyard rinks.
However, these lights can also cause trip hazards with long cables.
Make sure to keep these clear.
Not only can your young ones trip and fall, but they can also damage the lines with their skates.
Stay Covid-19 safe
With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we are all looking for ways to remain safe while enjoying the things that we love. Ice skating is no different.
Taking some extra precautions can ensure you stay virus-free, especially during the winter or in a cold space where viruses are more likely to thrive.
If you are on a synthetic ice skating rink that’s open to the public, ensure that you and your loved ones maintain the proper social distancing.
If required, wear a mask or follow any additional Covid-19 protocols at the rink. Installing your rink at home serves as a safety precaution too.
The initial investment in a synthetic ice rink ensures you and your loved ones are in a safe, controlled environment.
If you’d like to learn more about installing your synthetic ice rink, check out some of our content to help you get the ball rolling.
Skating and falling go hand in hand.
However, there are some things you can do to avoid unnecessary falls which lead to injury.
If you have a personal rink, make sure to check the surface and install safety features like rink walls.
Have everyone understand the rink rules and follow them as best as possible to avoid hurting themselves or others.
Commercial rinks have their own safety protocols, so don’t hesitate to read them before skating.
Skating is a freeing experience, but there’s no harm in taking some extra precautions.