If your family New Year's resolution is to be more active this year, the cold and grey Michigan winter can really put a damper on plans. Going for a walk or bike ride is out of the question during these long frozen stretches but ice skating is one winter activity that torches calories and is fun for the whole family. According to the Discovery Health website calorie calculator, ice skating can burn between 400-500 calories per hour, depending on your weight.
Not sure where to hit the ice? Luckily, the Ann Arbor area has a nice selection of both indoor and outdoor skating rinks.
The Ann Arbor Ice Cube on Oak Valley Dr. offers drop-in skating most days of the week with admission of $4 for adults and $3 for youth. Skate rental is available for $3.
Yost Ice Arena, home of the University of Michigan ice hockey team, offers a public skate at $5 for adults ($4 if you are a U of M employee) and $3 for youth. Additionally, they offer a special $2 skate if you come to the noon session.
- Buhr Park has a new outdoor skating rink open to the public. Adult skating is $5 and youth are $3.75 (rates are slightly higher if you are not an Ann Arbor resident). Skate "learners" (little ones not quite skating on their own yet) can skate for free! Skate rental is also available for a nominal fee.
If you live out the outskirts of town or are willing to drive a bit, there are also options in Chelsea and Manchester.
The Arctic Coliseum, located in Chelsea, has Winter DJ nights (skating with music) and offers a special Snow Day deal for kids. $8 includes admission, skate rental and a pizza lunch.
- The Village of Manchester offers a free outdoor rink at Chi-Bro park on Ann Arbor Hill. The rink is made possible by the Manchester Men's Club.
If your family is planning to hit the local rinks in the near future, keep in mind that the most physical fitness benefits occur while you are moving continuously. Maximize your efforts by keeping in motion as much as possible. When done continuously, ice skating improves cardiovascular fitness, can strengthen leg muscles and can even improve flexibility.