Friday December 15th 2017

Ice Skating is nice skating…even if there is NO Ice

Imagine if you will, being invited to go ice skating, indoors, in fact in a mall, but where the surface is not ice? What ? Yes! There is something new out there and the first indoor rink located in a shopping center is right here in Vernon Hills at the Hawthorn Mall. Ice skating is a very health activity and should offer some great alternatives to heading to the gym. By ice skating we work on the following health benefits:

Better Balance: rather than fall, one learns to adjust their weight and thus better balance.

Improves joint flexibility: Gets rid of those creaks and squeaks by strengthening the joints (in particular, the knees).

Building the leg muscles: skating builds legs muscles and tones them as well.

Cardio: Ice skating is considered an aerobic workout and skating will ensure a great cardio workout without even thinking about it.

Endurance: Since skating requires a great deal of energy, over a fairly long period of time, you will find your endurance improved, not just for skating, but for all activities.

Weight management: Skating burns approximately 300-650 calories per hour. YEAH!

Stress Relief: They say that exercise reduces stress and lets face it, skating is more fun than a workout, but with the same results.

Improve joints: The gliding and synchronized movement of the legs, joints and muscles that skating brings to the table ( or rink) is more beneficial than cycling or running, working every muscle group in the body, including joints

Mental Fitness: OUTDOORS- offers sunshine, fresh air and the company of the skaters you are skating with. Self confidence ( by staying on your feet) is built up as well. Indoors, you still get the second half, without the fresh air and sunshine, but you should leave the rink healthier than when you entered.

Now, let’s talk about this new concept and outlet that is called “Skate Room”. Located on the second floor of the mall, directly across from the new “Food Court”, Jane and I took our Grandkids, Adam, Sarah and Rebecca there Monday to try it. Adam is not a skater, Sarah is our expert and the Reb ( our nickname for her) is able to do almost anything her sibling does much quicker. The idea for this  “Rink In The Mall”  came to life when the owners, Alena and Kevin Jotkus had problems finding places for their sons to practice for Hockey. The kids loved to skate, but skating time was scarce because of Hockey Teams in practice, figure skaters needing to work on form, and of course, birthday parties. How could they create the rink that would be cost -effective and entertaining as well as convenient.

Kevin, being a contractor had heard about the synthetic ice that was used for “pop-up rinks” and discovered that this material could be used in a permanent setting as well. There is no melting, and very little maintainance. The mall, after taking a look at their business plan, decided that this would be a great option for the mall. The retail climate is changing and the idea is to bring people back to the mall ( thus the food court, new and improved movie theaters, more indoor, fun activities and now- ice skating.

The rink is open and presently will be expanded. It is now 60′ x 25′ and very shortly will become 60′ x 50′. While not big enough for a hockey game, the kids had a ball skating on this artificial surface that seems to be just like ice, but is in fact a synthetic that is softer to the fall than real ice and is much warmer ( and drier , too). The skates are Hockey rather than figure but people can bring their own. While it feels like plastic, the skates do cause some small particles to peel during sessions and the skaters must use the vacuum and lint remover to make sure they leave the particles behind.

Skate Room can, at this time handle about 15 skaters at a time making it a true destination for birthday parties . They have packages that include food, cupcakes, favors, a host (to aid the non-skaters) for $25 per person, including the party room for an hour and an hour of skate time. They can do this for corporate events as well or try the Friday night “Disco Night” with a DJ (the equipment they have is top- notch (My grandson, Adam is a teen DJ and knows the quality of the equipment and special lighting). Need private time? The rink can be rented by the hour for special needs or if someone needs lessons, Kevin is quite the teacher! He had Adam gliding well, and staying on his feet in no time!

Skate Room is open the same days as the mall with hours of 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m. -7 p.m. on Sundays. For info, visit http://www.skateroom.netor call 847-918-1600

The kids had a ball and while it was not exactly like skating on the cold and slippery ice, they had the same experience without the wet and cold!

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