Okay, so it’s time to clean out the garage. You look to the corner where all your unused sports gear is sitting, gathering dust, and your eyes alight on your old pair of rollerblades. You know, the ones you got for your birthday 10 years back, tried out once, fell over and banished to the corner of the garage?
Well, it turns out you should probably give your “blades” (otherwise known as inline skates) another try. Not only are they back in fashion, they also provide a wide range of benefits that you’d probably never even considered. Here are 10 of them.
It’s a low-impact workout
If your knees or joints are hurting from running, walking or jumping on hard surfaces, inline skating is the sport for you. It’s ultra low-impact, meaning that it places very little stress on your body’s joints. Swapping your daily run or even a game of tennis for your pair of dusty old rollerblades could dramatically improve the health of your knees and other joints.
It’s great for muscle development
According to the Inline Skating Resource Center, inline skating is one of the most effective forms of exercise for muscle development, trumping even running or cycling. Heading out a couple of times a week on your blades helps to quickly build up your upper leg muscles, glutes, hips, and lower back muscles.
It’s good for balance
Inline skating requires you to balance on one foot at a time, while maintaining momentum. This requires a considerable degree of coordination, helping you to improve your balance and increase agility. A welcome side effect is that your core muscles receive a great workout as well, as you really need to engage them to avoid falling over all the time!
It burns calories
Rollerblading is great for burning off those pesky calories and hence maintaining a healthy weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, a person of average height who weighs approximately 160 pounds would typically burn over nine calories per minute while skating, while a person of around 240 pounds can expect to burn close to 14 calories per minute. This really adds up, meaning that, depending on your weight, you can burn between 548 and 818 calories per hour from inline skating.
It works both arms and legs
You might be under the impression that rollerblading works only the legs. Well, it certainly gives your leg and glute muscles a run for their money, but it also works your arms and core as you’re constantly using them to balance yourself and keep your forward momentum.
It’s good for your heart
Inline skating provides excellent anaerobic benefits, due to the natural, smooth, side-to-side movement that works your inner thigh and buttock muscles — often ignored or underutilized during other forms of exercise. Just 20 to 30 minutes per day of rollerblading will help you to strengthen your body, lower your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease.
Rollerblading can actually provide some much-needed time for relaxation. Take a skate down a pleasant lakeside path or through a park, and you’ll instantly find yourself unwinding with the smooth movements of your skates. The fluid movements of inline skating makes it an ideal way to relax your mind and enjoy your surroundings.
It improves endurance
Not only does inline skating improve muscle strength and tone, it also helps to improve your muscle endurance, meaning you can skate for longer without getting as tired. Slipping in a few uphill climbs on your daily rounds on the rollerblades trains your muscular and cardiovascular systems to use energy stores more efficiently. This translates into greater muscle endurance, which you can then apply to other sports and exercises to perform better and longer.
It improves coordination
As you’ve probably already found out, inline skating requires a considerable degree of coordination. There’s a complex set of movements and balancing that requires coordination, otherwise you can quickly find yourself plonked on your butt. But in the process of mastering this sport, your body gains greater skill and ease of movement, improving your general coordination.
Have you ever looked at someone rollerblading and seen them looking grim or unhappy? We’re going to go ahead and assume you haven’t, because blading is just so much fun! Going fast and whizzing through scenic locations is even more fun with a friend or group. Inline skating is a great way to get outside and let go of your cares for a while, and as a nice bonus, it’ll get you in shape.
If you’re keen to get out there and give inline skating a try, remember to wear the right safety gear to avoid injury.
Liivi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and is training to become a doula. She inspires women to find peace and personal power by taking control of health and fertility naturally. Liivi‘s passion is ancestral nutrition and primal lifestyle design. She and her partner Will live between Toronto, Canada and Queenstown, New Zealand.