roller skating workout
05 October 2021 (updated)

Roller Skating as a Workout: Tips to Get You Started

Whether you prefer rollerblades or the classic quad-wheel model, roller skating can be a lot of fun. Not only is it fun and stylish, but it also has plenty of health benefits that make it a great workout, too! Read on to learn more!

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How Is Roller Skating Good for You?

Activities like a hike on the trail, a run through the park, or a fitness class at the gym can be an easy way to get in a daily workout. But sometimes, it's good to change up your exercise routine. That's where roller skating comes in! Whether you go to the rink or down the street, hit up the boardwalk after work, or even take skating classes, it's a fun way to burn calories, socialize, and enjoy the fresh air. It may even become your new favorite exercise! Here are a few reasons to get out there and hit the road or skating rink:

  • Improves Balance – Because you must keep your core steady to stay on your skates, roller skating improves your balance and coordination. Using the strength of your abdominal and back muscles, you can improve your agility and find you may even have better posture!
  • Strengthens the Heart – According to the American Heart Association, skating is an aerobic activity that supports the heart! When skating at moderate speeds, the heart rate increases between 140-160 beats per minute. Track your workout with a smartwatch or Fitbit to monitor your heart rate and calories burned. Try a 10-second, 20-second, or 30-second sprint mixed with a rest period for a high-intensity workout.
  • Works as a Cross-Training Exercise  – Roller skating as an aerobic exercise is similar to running in terms of calorie-burning, weight loss, and body fat reduction.
  • Reduces Joint Damage – With this sport, you're engaging in a fluid motion where your feet won't leave the ground. That means it's low-impact on your joints, unlike higher-impact activities like running.
  • Builds Endurance  – Roller skating can help to increase your endurance and stamina, especially if you're doing some uphill action. The more you do skate, the easier it will become, and you'll be able to glide for longer distances and time.
  • Builds Muscles – Skating uses your arms, legs, and glutes to push your body forward. Your arms, core, and lower back will also get a workout as you balance your body during the movement.

Photo Credit: @lolo.skates

As a Beginner, Should I Buy Rollerblades or Roller Skates?

If you want to skate longer distances, rollerblades are best because you can go faster. But roller skates might be easier for very young kids and beginner adults. Skates will feel more stable initially, and they require less leg muscle to maintain balance.

When it comes to navigating multiple directions and avoiding obstacles, quick directional changes are a bit easier with each inline skate. Because the narrower wheels are linear, you can weave blades in and out more easily while both skates remain on the ground.

Rollerblades and rollerskates are also different in the way you brake. With rollerblades, you press your weight backward onto the break on the back heel of your boot. With rollerskates, you have to drag the brake on the toe of your boot.

What Are the Different Kinds of Roller Skates?

There are three different kinds of roller skates to choose from, and your decision depends on what kind of activities you intend to do. 

  1. Outdoor skates-- Just like the name implies, these skates are made for the great outdoors! They come in either low-top or high-top boots, and the wheels are designed for less smooth terrain. Outdoor wheels are softer and more absorbent, so you'll have a smoother skate over not-so-smooth surfaces.
  2. Indoor skates-- These can also be called artistic skates, traditional skates, or recreational skates. These are made for the rink, artistic dance, and rhythm skate. They're usually high boots that allow for good control while performing a spin or jump. The wheels are also more narrow for easier turning and maneuverability.
  3. Roller Derby Skates-- This sport goes back to the 1930s and continues to gain popularity. The quad skate design is perfect for the harsh conditions of the sport. They're both durable and fast and hold well through tight turns. 

Photo Credit: @meeshi.sk8s

Can You Lose Weight by Roller Skating?

Roller skating might make for a fun pastime and even a fun birthday party activity (especially at a rink with an arcade). But roller skating is actually a full-body workout! A person who weighs approximately 160 pounds will burn around nine calories per minute of skating. If you skate for a full hour, you can burn anywhere from 300-600 calories, depending on your height and weight. Combined with a well-balanced diet and a calorie deficit, you can lose weight by incorporating roller skating into your fitness routine.

Photo Credit: @tessaduquette

Where Do I Buy Roller Skates?

Surprisingly, due to many people discovering the joy of rollerskating in 2020, many major fashion retailers began selling roller skates as the public fascination grew. Videos and reels on Instagram and Tik Tok showed expert skaters in retro and funky clothing and glamorous makeup, making roller skating look effortless and fun. Luckily, since so many retailers wanted to get in on the trend, now we have plenty of fun and funky options when it comes to choosing skates!

Dick's Sporting Goods, Urban Outfitters, Walmart, and Macy's all carry a selection of high-quality roller skates and skating essentials. However, if you're looking for a bit more of a unique choice, plenty of online stores like Impala, Moxi, Angels Skates, and DivaSkation have anything you could want, whether that's inline skates, skateboards, or roller skates. For budget options, check eBay or a local used sports equipment store.

Photo Credit: @sincerelyniyah

What Kind of Protective Gear Do I Need for Roller Skating?

While those roller skaters on Instagram may look FABULOUS in their street clothes and roller skates, you should always be wearing protective gear when roller skating. That means a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads. Especially if you plan on going at faster speeds or attempting any fancy tricks or maneuvers. Even if you're at the roller rink, a hard fall can do some severe damage. So it's better to be safe than injured.

Which Sports Use Roller Skates?

There's so much more to roller skating than just hitting the sidewalks! Roller skates are involved in lots of sports! In-line skating has many variations, including vert skating, in-line speed skating, and roller hockey. But the big sport associated with quad-skates is Roller Derby, where two teams compete while skating in the same direction around a track (with plenty of brutal maneuvers and elbow jabs). But there's also artistic rollerskating, which can include Figures, Dance, Freestyle, and Precision Teams who compete at roller skating rinks. 

roller skating workout

Photo Credit: @tessaduquette

Get Ready to Rock and Roller Skate!

Roller skating is so much more than just a fun recreational activity. It has plenty of health benefits that make it a worthwhile exercise! And, they make plenty of great activewear that you can pair with your stylish skates! Have you ever gone to a roller skating event? Maybe you have a favorite roller skating influencer on Instagram! Share pictures with the people you love and fellow roller skaters on FamilyApp!



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