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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
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Characteristics of Adult Competitive and Recreational Figure Skaters: 2375: Board #107 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Ferrara, Cynthia M.; Hollingsworth, Emily

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University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA.

Figure skating is an increasingly popular sport in the United States, pursued by active people of all ages. In recent years, the number of adults (those 25 years and older) who enjoy skating as a recreational or competitive sport has increased significantly.

PURPOSE: To our knowledge, no studies have examined the training and nutrition habits of adult skaters. Therefore the purpose of this study is to present information on lifestyle and physical characteristics of adult recreational and competitive skaters, as well as to examine the training and nutrition habits of these men and women.

METHODS: Eighty-five adult skaters (75 women and 10 men, 44±10 yr, mean±SD) voluntarily completed a health history and study questionnaire asking about their skating and exercise habits and daily nutrition, as well as basic demographic questions.

RESULTS: More than half (51%) of the participants work 40 or more hours/week, with 32% working between 20–39 hours/week, and 17% working less than 20 hours/ week. Study participants have been skating for an average of 12±10 years (range 1–68 years), and many are regional (n=31), national (n=32) and international (n=4) adult competitors. Most of the study participants ice skate 3–4 days/week (41%), for 4–5 hours/week (41%). Similar to their younger counterparts, most participate in other types of exercise in addition to skating, with walking and running, weight training and aerobic conditioning, and pilates being the major forms of exercise. Only 47% of study participants warm-up and/or stretch before each time they skate, and only 15% stretch after completing their skating workout. The average body mass index (BMI, mean±SD) for the women and the men was 23.1±3.6 and 25.6±3.7 kg/m2, respectively, within the normal range for women (18.5 kg/m2<BMI<25 kg/m2) and the overweight range (25 kg/m2<BMI<30 kg/m2) for men. Thirteen skaters (8 women and 5 men) were classified as overweight, and seven skaters (6 women and 1 man) were classified as obese (BMI>30 kg/m2). Only 58% report eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables/day, as currently recommended.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest the need for more educational programs for adult figure skaters, addressing exercise training and nutrition for better health, injury prevention, and improved athletic performance.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine


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