Learn How to Ice Skate in 10 Steps

The great thing about learning how to ice skate is that you can do it at almost any age. Ice skating gives you a good aerobic workout and can improve your balance and coordination. Over time, you'll also strengthen your leg muscles, improve your joint flexibility, and have more endurance.

Health benefits aside, ice skating is fun! You don't need anything except access to an ice rink and the willingness to try something new. Wear clothing that is warm and lightweight, and that allows freedom of movement. A helmet isn't required, but if you're afraid of falling, a hockey or snowboarding helmet can give you some added protection (and confidence).

When you're just beginning to learn how to skate, it's perfectly okay to rent your skates at the rink. Any public rink rents skates for a small charge. But as with any sport, you're serious about, owning your own skates gives you a performance advantage and a custom fit that allows you to improve as a skater.

Once you learn the basics, you can stick with gentle laps around the rink or advance to figure skating or ice hockey, depending on your interests. As with any new physical activity, it's a good idea to talk with your doctor first if you have any worrisome health issues.

Female figure skater tying up skates in skating rink
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After you have paid for your admission and skate rental, go to the rink's skate rental counter and rent a pair of skates. Make sure your skates fit properly and that you have tied your skates correctly. Don't be afraid to ask someone who works at the rink for help.

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Go to the Rink's Entry Door

Close-up of woman ice skating
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Most indoor ice rinks are surrounded by a soft mat or carpet that makes it possible to walk safely to the ice rink's surface. The mat also protects ice skate blades. If you own your own skates, walk to the ice surface with skate guards on. Remove the skate guards just before you step on to the ice. Do not walk on concrete or wood with your skates on.

You may find you need some assistance walking to the ice!

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Practice Falling and Getting up off the Ice

Father teaching son to ice-skate on outdoor rink
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  1. Bend your knees and squat into a dip position.
  2. Fall to the side and lean a bit forward as you fall down.
  3. Put your hands in your lap.
  4. Turn over on your hands and knees.
  5. Take one foot and place it between your hands. Then take the other foot and place it between your hands.
  6. Push yourself up and you should be standing.
Mother and daughter ice-skating on rink
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After mastering falling down and getting up, it's time to skate forward on the ice.

  1. First, march in place.
  2. Next, march and move.
  3. Now, do short "scooter" steps with one foot at a time. Pretend you are riding a scooter down the street. Arms can be kept in front on imaginary scooter bars for balance.
  4. Next, do alternating scooter steps. Take a step on the right foot, rest on two feet, and then step onto the left foot.
  5. Try pushing from one foot to the other, and skate around the rink.
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Get on the Ice and Hold on to the Rail

Happy friends on skating rink
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Some skaters are frightened when they step on the slippery ice surface; others are excited. Use the rail to acclimate to being on the ice.

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Move Away From the Rail

Family ice-skating outdoors
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Now, work up some courage. Move just a bit away from the rail. Bend your knees a bit. Don't let your hands and arms swing around.

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Learn to Stop

Hockey players as seen through the goal
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Push your feet apart and use the flat of the blade to make a bit of snow on the ice and do a snowplow stop. This is similar to skiing.

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Practice Gliding on Two Feet

Young Woman Ice Skater Skating on Outdoor Ice Rink
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March or step across the ice and then "rest." Glide forward for a short distance on two feet.

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Do a Dip

In a dip, a skater squats down as far as possible. The arms and rear should be level. This is a great exercise to warm up your knees. First, practice doing a dip from a standstill. Once you feel comfortable gliding forward on two feet, practice dips while moving.

Couple ice skating, holding hands
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Remember that ice skating is fun. Enjoy your time at the rink. Smile and laugh. Once you master the basics, play games on the ice or try to spin, skate backward, glide on one foot, or do forward or backward swizzles. Happy skating!