Once-a-year ice skating warning

Skaters at the Tower of London
Image caption Warming up before getting on the ice is key, say experts

With temporary ice rinks appearing in towns and cities across the UK, the Society of Sports Therapists is reminding people that ice skating can be a dangerous sport.

It warned of a risk of serious injury and advised people take precautions.

It recommends jogging to warm up and avoiding the mulled wine.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said falling over and bumping into people was part of the fun, but there were safety precautions.

The chairman of the Society of Sports Therapists, Prof Graham Smith, told the BBC: "It was not about going 'bah, humbug'. Have fun, but be careful."

He said: "While it is a fun sport it can be very dangerous and should be treated with a large degree of respect, especially as for some, it is something that is done only once or twice a year."

By contrast regular skaters learn "how to fall properly".

'Don't over-estimate ability'

If you fall, he recommends tucking your arms in and rolling - rather than putting you hand out to stop the fall, which could damage the hand or be hit by another skater's blades.

He said the hazards were greater for older people.

Peter Cornall, head of leisure safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: "Leisure activities should be as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible; when going ice skating this means you should expect to fall over and for others to bump into you - in fact, that is part of the fun.

"If you're going skating, wearing a pair of gloves is always a good idea, as is wearing whatever protective kit the rink operators give you and lacing up your skates properly.

He also warned people not to over-estimate their ability: "you probably won't be able to recreate what you see during the Winter Olympics," he said.

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