A fun Christmas activity can have lots of hidden benefits for visitors to Sunderland in the run up to the festive season.
The city’s ice rink is now open at Keel Square, with sessions for families, individuals and friends now available, as well as the opportunity to book private parties for work colleagues or as a staff party.
And, according to research, taking to the ice can also come with a whole host of other positive results, including improving health and well-being.
Ice skating gives a workout to the cardiovascular system and, because legs are constantly in motion, it gets the heart rate up and boosts blood circulation.
Research carried out by America’s prestigious Harvard Medical School shows that it’s possible to burn more than 300 calories in just 30 minutes of ice skating, with skating also seen as a great way to help strengthen leg muscles.
Because it’s low impact, ice skating is also considered a good choice for people with a history of joint pain to exercise, as well as being helpful in improving co-ordination and balance.
At the same time, skating is a perfect antidote to the inevitable stress in the run-up to Christmas, with studies in America showing that spending time taking part in a fun activity in the fresh air is extremely beneficial.
Ice skating has also been proven to help increase bone density and so lessening the risk of osteoporosis along with giving those who take part on a regular basis better posture.
Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID which has installed the ice rink as part of the Christmas programme created with Sunderland City Council, said the health benefits are an unexpected bonus.
“The emphasis is very much on people having lots of fun and enjoying the ice rink regardless of their age,” she said.
“But the fact that it can also be doing them some good is a real plus.
“It is a great activity which is bringing people together and hopefully will make them feel good and fitter.”
A number of packages are available including private bookings or tickets which include skating and rides at the fairground at the Crowtree site.
Anyone wanting more details about private bookings at the rink should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 722 1002.
To book the fairground and ice skating packages or to just book ice skating sessions, visit www.sunderlandrink.co.uk
Full details of the city’s festive programme are available at www.mysunderland.co.uk/christmas