If you're eager to show off your skating skills but haven't been on the ice since your early teens, work on improving your balance. Controlling your balance on the ice can help keep you from falling and embarrassing yourself and potentially getting injured. Exercises to improve your balance are a dime a dozen, and can be modified to meet your skills -- start with easy balancing exercises and as you gain more control, increase the difficulty to challenge yourself. In no time, you'll be skating like the ice princess you always thought you were.
Face forward, place your feet about hip-width apart and extend your arms at your sides.
Suck in your tummy so your abdominal muscles tighten and help to keep your back straight. Imagine you're trying to zip up jeans that are too tight.
Bend your left knee 90 degrees so your left foot rises off the floor behind you, and transfer most of your weight onto your right foot.
Balance on your right leg as long as you can before switching to your left leg. Repeat the exercise about eight times or until your stabilizing muscles fatigue.
Increase the challenge once you manage to maintain your balance on each leg for 30 seconds straight. To make the single-leg balance exercise more challenging, do it with your eyes closed or while standing with your stabilizing leg on an unstable surface, such as a pillow. Making circles in the air with the foot of your non-working leg also increases the challenge. If you're up for a real challenge, combine all three -- stand on a pillow, close your eyes and make leg circles.
Come into a skating stance -- bend forward at your hips so your torso is about parallel to the floor. Tighten your tummy to support your back, and bend your knees, placing your right foot about 1 foot in front of the left. You want your weight to rest on your right foot; your body should be close to the floor so it's easier to maintain your balance.
Transfer your weight to the front of your right foot, push off on the floor and hop forward and slightly outward with your left foot while swinging your right arm forward and your left arm backward to help you balance. Land on the ball of your foot, transfer your weight onto your left foot and slowly lower your heel down. Avoid standing upright as you hop -- keep your body close to the floor the entire time.
Alternate your legs and arms as you hop forward -- your movement should resemble a skating motion. Hop forward until you can't maintain proper form, take a break and complete the exercise two more times. Start with small hops and as you gain more control, make your hops bigger.
Stand on your left leg, bend your right knee and raise it up so it's hovering above the floor in front of your body.
Contract your abdominals, bend your left knee, push your tush back and lower down about 45 degrees. Imagine you're lowering down to sit on a chair. Keep your chest up and face forward the entire time.
Push yourself back up to the starting point and repeat the exercise eight to 12 times before switching legs. Complete three sets and if needed, hold onto a wall or chair for support. For an extra challenge, do the exercise while balancing on an unstable surface.
- Do balancing exercises in front of a mirror so you can monitor your form.
- Warm up your muscles before starting balancing exercises. Jog in place for five to 10 minutes or ride a stationary bike.
- Consider taking yoga classes. Yoga has many balancing poses that can help improve your balance. It also strengthens your core, which is essential to maintain your balance. Martial arts are also a good option.
- Consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine, especially if you have injuries or have health concerns or medical conditions.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.