Getting started

Make sure your blades are sharp enough to cut into the ice. You are basically balancing on a knife-edge, so get a feel for what it’s like by having a tentative  skate around, but be prepared to fall over. Take small steps with your toes, one foot in front of the other. Your body should be loose and upright, but your knees always bent and your body weight poured over the front of you, from the balls of your feet up.

Motion perfect

Point your feet forward and start gliding by pushing one forward at a time, your free leg extended behind you to make a nice straight line. Essentially, you are standing on one foot with that knee bent. Keep your arms out like a tightrope walker for balance, and concentrate on making a rising and falling motion with your body. You’ll pick up speed by bending your knee more deeply and increasing the intensity of your push.

Stopping and falling

The best way to stop is by doing a snow plough, like in skiing. From a gliding motion, bring your blades in parallel to each other, then turn your toes in slightly and kick out your heels out so the blade is across the ice. Maintain bent knees and an upright body. 
If you fall, just go with the flow and don’t try to break it with your arms. Clench your fists when getting up with your hands, else you’ll lose your fingers with other skaters around.

Going left, going right.

Pick one foot up after the other and turn your outside shoulder forwards, towards the direction you want to turn. Think of your body as on an axis, so if you’re going anti-clockwise, your right shoulder turns forward, and your left shoulder pushes forward if you’re going clockwise.

The benefits

You’ll burn close to 600 calories per hour. Your core muscles and your thigh muscles are constantly working, so you’ll get stronger, and it’s great aerobic fitness.

The cons

Injuries are common so expect to bruise your knees or twist your ankles. But remember to have fun!



Where to skate

Canary Wharf Skate in the shadows of Canary Wharf’s famous towers.
Until Feb 19
Rail: Canary Wharf

Alexandra Palace
Open all year round amid the palace’s striking Victorian architecture. It hosts fun sessions and courses.
Tube: Wood Green

Somerset House
An annual institution and a glamorous setting. Try a beginner’s or skating in pairs course.
Until Jan 22
Tube: Charing Cross

London Eye
Skate for the first time ever by this global icon.
Until Jan 5
Tube: Waterloo

Westfield Stratford
Shop and skate – easy!
Until Jan 8
Rail: Stratford

Streatham Ice Arena
A year-round fixture for everyone’s ice skating needs. Try out the disco sessions.
Rail: Streatham