by Bill Levy
If you’re looking for a local place to ‘beat the heat’ all summer long, look no further than your nearby ice skating rink. Whether you’re interested in seeing how well you can handle the ice, or helping out with a fun event, chances are you’ll have no problem staying ‘cool’ this summer at the rink.
“It’s never warmer than 65 (degrees),” says Lisa Headen, the skating director at the Fort Myers Skatium, a city-owned skating rink in downtown Fort Myers. “It stays so cool.”
Headen said that the facility offers both private and group classes to all ages and abilities – “We have students that range from 18 months to age 77,” she said.
Besides hiding from the heat, Headen also noted great reasons for seniors to take up skating.
“It’s really good exercise,” she shares, “It’s great for toning legs; it’s great for developing balance and for developing core strength. You also learn the proper way to fall,” making for a safer landing.
If any seniors are hesitant to try, Headen strives to put their fears at ease.
“We really like working with the (seniors),” she said. “It is a great feeling.”
The rink ensures accommodations are made to help everyone feel comfortable.
Local ice skating rink offers senior-
friendly lessons, discounts and cool
volunteer opportunities for all
“The group classes are divided; we have an adult class and a kids class,” she explains, also noting that the adult class is taught by a “seasoned” instructor, and that seniors get discounted public skating sessions.
The rink itself may be cool, but skater Deborah Carter, 77, says the seniors are always warmly welcomed.
Carter, now a resident of Fort Myers, first started skating in Michigan. She recently began lessons again at Skatium, after not skating for about 25 years.
“I loved all of them,” she stated emphatically when asked how her lessons went since returning to the ice. “Everyone always waves and is smiling.”
Carter shared that after giving up the sport when her coach left Michigan, she attended to life’s other duties, but eventually longed to lace up the skates once again.
“I just wasn’t having fun,” she says. “I wanted to have fun again. (Skating) helps me feel confident and secure.”
Though she admits to falling during a few lessons, she indicates that it’s just part of the process, and hopes people try skating in spite of fear, to see what’s possible.
“If you stop falling, you stop learning,” she said. “I want to learn from my mistakes.”
For those who may want to be involved, but not get on the ice, Headen noted shows, competitions and other events hosted by Skatium, that always need volunteers