Is Roller Skating Good Exercise?

Are you feeling a little uninspired in the gym?

Simply looking for a fun way to get your whole family moving?

Maybe you’re just looking to get in a great, effective workout?

Roller skating may be the answer! 

That’s right, roller skating isn’t just a fun memory that filled up many Saturday mornings for 80’s kids everywhere, but this timeless activity, now resurging in popularity, still proves to be an excellent means of getting in some great exercise! 


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Benefits Of Roller Skating

What’s not to love about roller skating? 

It’s fun, you can do it alone or with a group of friends or family, and it can provide a great workout! 

How great of a workout? Let’s take a look…

1- Low Impact

For starters, let’s address the fact that there are some activities that just aren’t for everyone. For instance, running is a sport loved by many, but for some the high impact nature of the activity keeps them from being able to participate. 

On the other hand, swimming is an activity that has virtually no impact on your body, making it great for those with chronic pain or injuries, but alas, you’ve gotta know how to swim and have access to a lap pool to really participate.

Roller skating, though there is a slight learning curve, is fairly simple and is low impact. 

The fluid motions involved in roller skating make you less likely to sustain damage to your joints while participating in the activity. 

As this activity puts minimal stress on your joints, it makes a great option in place of other activities like running or sports that involve jumping, etc. 

2- Big Calorie Burn

It is estimated that the average adult burns 9-10 calories for each minute spent skating. 

Since roller skating is a cardiovascular activity, your heart muscle gets to working, you start to sweat, and your body is burning…calories that is. 

While the exact number of calories burned while skating will ultimately differ from person to person (age, weight, effort all have a say in this), what is certain is that consistent cardiovascular activity results in consistent calorie burn.

Pair this with a healthy nutrition plan and you’re set up for weight loss and/or healthy living success!

3- Cardiovascular Health

We just briefly mentioned that skating is a cardiovascular activity, but let’s delve into that thought a little deeper here. 

One of the main causes of premature death in the US is heart disease (including heart attack, stroke, etc). 

While there are many factors including numerous lifestyle habits that contribute to this (and thus deserve equal attention), one factor that makes the culprit list for heart disease is inactivity. 

The thing is, your heart is a muscle. For that muscle to be healthy, it needs to be worked or exercised. 

This is why physical activity is vital to heart health, as it strengthens the heart muscle. 

Roller skating, for the average person, will increase heart rate “from 140-160 beats per minute.” And obviously, more vigorous skating will increase it even greater. 

Even the American Heart Association lists roller skating as “an effective aerobic exercise that helps strengthen the heart.”

4- Improves Mood

Exercise in and of itself can improve your mood. 

It prompts a release of chemicals called endorphins that work within your brain to stimulate positive and happy feelings. 

These same benefits are true of roller skating, though some would argue that when you’re truly having fun and enjoying the exercise you are participating in, those boosts to your mood are amplified. 

Participating in a fun activity, like roller skating, with friends or family also amplifies this effect, allowing you to foster relationships and connect with others as well. 

Overall, roller skating has been known to minimize depression (mild forms), clear your mind, and make you feel happy. 

5- Improves Balance

Another great benefit of roller skating is that this activity can help to improve your balance. 

When you have good balance:

  • the energy you exert in other activities is optimized, helping to reduce fatigue
  • you decrease your risk of injury from falling
  • coordination is improved by strengthening your low back and core 
  • improving balance has also shown to have cognitive benefits
6- Targets Multiple Muscle Groups

While roller skating is certainly a cardiovascular exercise, often considered an aerobic exercise, it can also be considered a strength building exercise as it effectively works multiple muscle groups. 

Most classify skating as a full body workout, and here’s a look at some specific muscle groups this activity targets:

Legs
Between stopping, starting, direction changes and control, your legs get a great workout while roller skating. 

Roller skating is said to especially target your thighs. And, it also effectively targets your calves and quadriceps. 

Glutes
The second most benefited muscle group while roller skating is the glutes, essentially your butt muscles. 

Every twist, turn, and forward motion while roller skating targets 3 types of glute muscles. And, this happens as your hips flex to move forwards and backwards. 

Your glutes also activate while skating to balance your lower body, making this activity an excellent choice for glute work! 

Core
Your core, or abdominal muscles, work as you twist and turn while skating.

Every time you stabilize yourself, achieving balance and coordination (which happens frequently while roller skating), you are working the muscles in your core. 

Arms
Yes, even your arms get a good workout while you’re roller skating. 

Your arms are needed to aid in balance and in controlling movements while skating. 

And, using your arms to control these movements requires muscle tension and flexion that can increase arm strength. 

7- Builds Endurance

As we just discussed the many muscle groups that roller skating targets, it’s important to note that these gains in muscle strength aid in other areas of fitness as well. 

These increases in muscular strength also translate to increases in muscular endurance, and skating builds muscle at a greater rate than typical cardiovascular exercises like running or cycling.

Increased muscle endurance means that you’ll be able to push harder during your workouts (skating or otherwise) and perform for a longer period of time. 

8- Ease Of Access

While roller rinks make for rockin’ birthday parties when you’re 8-10 years old, listening to Poison and wearing acid washed jeans…oh, and the neon prints, ya gotta have those to go with the black lights…the fact is, you don’t have to go to a roller rink to skate. 

Really, anywhere with a flat, paved surface void of “no skating” signs will do. 

You don’t need a gym membership. You don’t need a pool. You don’t need weights (but you do need skates). 

You can even enjoy some fresh air when roller skating outside. 

Most all larger cities, and smaller ones too, have some kind of a paved sidewalk area or a paved trail. Even an empty parking lot will do! 

Generally speaking, your options are plentiful when it comes to places to skate. 


Which Skates Are Best?

But, before you race outside to get moving…or skating…unless you’ve already got a pair of skates that you love, you might be asking, “what kind of skates do I need,” or “which skates are best?”

First…let’s not forget safety! 

Most recommend using a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads when venturing out, especially if you are skating outdoors. 

And, as far as skates: 

Generally skates are classified in two categories: roller skates and roller blades. 

The difference?

Roller skates, or quad skates, come with two front wheels and two back wheels that users generally find offer more stability and balance. These are often considered to be a more traditional type of skate. 

Most skates like this have a toe stop feature in front. 

If you’re planning to skate outdoors, be sure to look for a skate with wheels made specifically for outdoor use. 

Roller blades, also known as inline skates, feature a “four wheels in a row” design. 

These skates are considered to be more suited for outdoor skating, though they are less stable than quad skates.

Inline skates are also preferred for activities like speed skating.

While skating does take a bit of technique, most pick up on it fairly quickly. 

Give it a try to add a fun, full-body, heart-healthy, low-impact, mood-enhancing workout to your exercise routine! 


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