Get Inspired: How to get into Figure Skating

Yuko Kavaguti; Alexander Smirnov

Figure skating is a lot more than sequins and skates.

One of the original Winter Olympic sports, skating in the UK has enjoyed a renaissance with the rise of reality TV - but the sport requires serious skill and dedication to be successful.

Why is it good for you?

Figure skating is reported to burn almost 900 calories per hour at its most intense, though beginners won't be doing anything quite as strenuous.

Skating around a rink at close to 30mph requires a great deal of strength in both the leg muscles and core, as do the jumps and lifts associated with the sport, which add the aerobic workout of dancing while on the ice.

Get involved

The National Ice Skating Association's flagship campaign is Skate UK, a 10-stage programme to increase participation and involvement in all forms of skating from beginners to more experienced skaters.

Skate UK aims to nurture the skating stars of the future by promoting all skaters through the Nisa system, encouraging and identifying "talented skaters" who can be fast-tracked.

To find your nearest skating rink, use the rinks and clubs finder.Skate NI offers similar services.

Nisa offers membership to those skating at Nisa-accredited skating rinks. Membership includes £5m civil liability insurance whether competing at home or abroad, as well as basic personal injury cover.


Modern figure skating originated in the 19th Century and claims to be the oldest of all sports contested at the Winter Olympics - though its original incarnation was extremely rigid and didn't allow for the expression and movement of today's figure skating.

The International Skating Union was founded in 1892, a year after the first European Championship had been held in Hamburg.

In 1896 the first World Championship took place, although both the European and World Championships remained for men only until 1908, where pairs skating was introduced for the first time.

Figure skating was featured at the inaugural Winter Olympics of 1924 and has been a fixture within the Games ever since. The United States and Russia are world leaders, with both winning numerous medals throughout the sport's history.

Though success has recently been hard to come by, Great Britain also features prominently in the record books, with a haul of 15 medals including five gold. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean were Olympic champions in 1984 before going on to TV stardom as the faces of Dancing on Ice.

Are you inspired to try Figure Skating? Or maybe you are an enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the activity by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired or email us on

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.

Get Inspired Activity Finder

Run by the BBC and partners

Find ways to get active near you: