A beginner's guide to ice skating with Olympian Anita Östlund

By Matilde Wergeland

Photo: @anita_figureskating

Like the idea of some idyllic winter ice skating but worried you'll spend most of your time on the ground? We feel you. So we asked Olympian ice skater Anita Östlund for a few pointers

Winter is here and it’s time to embrace the activities that comes with the season. Since many of us tend to hibernate during the colder months, anything fun and outdoorsy that includes getting the body moving is a bonus. Skiing might be the go-to activity that first comes to mind, but a fun alternative that doesn’t require as much equipment and that is definitely less of a project is ice skating. You can do it with friends and you can feel at ease on the ice relatively quickly - especially when you've got some expert tips up your sleeve.


For those, we went to one of Scandinavia’s best skaters: Anita Östlund. The Swedish skate superstar first took to the ice at the age of six and just over a decade later represented her country at the 2018 Winter Olympics. While we can't promise you'll become an ice skating Olympian overnight, these tips should at least help you get over those initial wobbles.

Anita Östlund

Photo: Getty


Get the right skates

“It is very important to have the right type of skates. They shouldn’t be too loose and soft, and should fit your feet well so you don’t injure yourself. It’s not necessary to get the most expensive ones, but I would recommend the classic figure skates with the jagged teeth - called 'toe picks' - on the front blade."


Warm up

“Warming up before hitting the ice is key in order to get your muscles ready. About 5-10 minutes of mobility exercises and getting your heart rate up is enough and will prevent you from injuries. Make sure to dress in warm and comfortable clothes that you can move your body in. That will help you to feel flexible and mobile, which will in turn keep you warm on the ice.”

Anita Östlund

Photo: Getty


Work on your core and leg strength

“Ice skating can be challenging for both your back and thighs, so increasing the strength and endurance in your core and legs will help you a lot, especially during longer sessions.”


Don’t be scared to fall and fail

“Wear a helmet and other equipment and protection if you want to – safety is important. However, I think it’s important not to be too afraid of making mistakes, such as falling. When we fail and fall, that’s actually when we learn and grow the most.”

Anita Östlund

Photo: Getty


Have fun

“If you want to develop and learn more, make sure that you have fun when you’re on the ice. Find practices that suit you and approach your progress in a playful way. And if you’re brave enough, start to practice some jumps and pirouettes."

Anita Östlund

Photo: Getty


Join a skate club

“Join a skate club to get help with what to work on, how to do it, develop your technique and skills, and find others to train with. There are different tests and levels to reach that will motivate you to keep practicing.”