SUNDAY, Jan. 29, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Ice skating is a great source of exercise for the whole family, but injuries could take the fun out of this winter activity.

Adhering to several essential safety tips can help prevent ice skating injuries, according to the U.S.-based National Safety Council.

The first step is to ensure a proper fit. Ice skates should be comfortable and offer adequate ankle support to prevent falls, the group cautions.

The safety council provides other tips to avoid skating injuries:

  • Have ice skate blades professionally sharpened at the beginning of each season.
  • Avoid sketchy or possibly thin ice. Skate only on specially prepared rinks that are known to have strong ice.
  • Before skating, always check the ice for cracks, holes or debris.
  • Learn the basics. Before venturing out, make sure you know how to stop and fall safely.
  • Dress warmly and be sure to rest if you're cold or tired.
  • Never skate alone.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provides more on winter sports injury prevention.