Posted on Sep 12, 2023, 3 p.m.
It can be hard to get people motivated to exercise, but that becomes much easier when you encourage people to do an activity that is interesting and fun. Rollerskating provides an opportunity for people of all ages and skill levels to exercise while having fun, listening to music, and socializing with friends and/or family on rollerskates or rollerblades. It is so much fun that people forget this is actually exercise, and according to research, this activity is better than running the same distance.
What is not to love about rollerskating? You can do it inside or outside, it is relatively easy on the joints, and it is a great full-body workout that is fun with or without music, alone or in a group. Roller skating helps to strengthen the heart muscles and improves blood circulation. According to research conducted at the Universitat Konstanz moderate-intensity rollerskating can increase the skater’s heartbeat to 146-160 beats per minute, and if the skater picks up the pace that number could reach 180 beats per minute or more.
Studies have also shown that roller skating is a complete total-body aerobic workout as it engages all of the body’s muscles, especially the heart. In terms of health benefits, caloric consumption, reduction of body fat, and leg strength development roller skating is the equivalent of jogging. Additionally, the Roller Skating Association International reports that the American Heart Association recognizes and recommends rollerskating as an aerobic fitness sport.
While you are having fun you are also improving your coordination, stamina, posture, leg strength, balance, and confidence while burning calories. A 143-pound person can burn 330 calories in an hour of moderate-intensity rollerskating, and if that same person picks up the pace to be rolling at 10 mph this could burn up to 600 calories in an hour session. An hour may seem like it is a long time, but most people completely lose track of time while they are skating because they are having so much fun.
According to research conducted at the University of Massachusetts, rollerblading (in-line skating) causes less than 50% of the impact shock to our joints compared to running. The International Inline Skating Association reports that during a 30-minute session at a steady and comfortable rate expends 285 calories and produces a heart rate of 148 beats per minute. Dr. Carl Foster, who is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin Medical School suggests that rollerblading (in-line skating) as a form of exercise is just as beneficial as running or cycling.
Whether you skate outside or at a rink, alone or with friends, rollerskating gets your entire body moving without you realizing that you are working out. The more you skate, and the more effort you put into it the more you will have muscle contractions in your core, glutes, calves, hamstrings, pelvic floor, ankles, back, and arms, and as a plus, while you are doing this you are also building endurance, balance, muscle control, and better posture.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that rollerskating is just for kids either. I rollerskate at least twice a week and I see just as many, if not more, people aged 30 and up than children rolling around getting their groove on. It is not just for those advanced people you see showing off their talent either, in fact, there are more people just learning and at the intermediate level than advanced.
This activity provides a great cardio workout that has less impact than running, which is great for those trying to improve their health for longevity who want to avoid activities that beat up their joints.
When you are skating, you are building your leg muscles, but most people forget that you are also using your upper body muscles as you rotate your upper torso and use your arms and shoulders to balance and pump while you skate. Skating also helps to improve your sense of proprioception as it requires focus to maintain good form to stay upright, stabilize, and continue moving in the right direction. Although this is a lower-impact form of exercise, one typically uses more muscles while rollerskating than you would while running.
You could get in a great workout in as little as 10 minutes, depending on intensity, but sessions that are 25-30 minutes long give you more time to stretch, warm up, and cool down afterward. Skating at a slow and steady pace for 20-45 minutes can be an effective aerobic workout. For beginners 10-15 minutes could be long enough to make the quads and lower body feel like jello, but the more you skate the longer it takes to reach that point. As you progress you may find yourself doing short interval speed sessions or longer steadier glide sessions that can turn into casual long jam skating sessions.
Regardless of skill level, it is important to take the time to stretch and warm up before you start to skate. It is also important to remember that anyone, including those who are extremely advanced, can fall, so you may want to invest in some personal safety equipment to help prevent injury. Additionally, those who have trouble with balance and coordination may want to think twice about skating because it isn’t always easy to stay upright.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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This article was written by Tamsyn Webber at Worldhealth.net