The weather is breaking across the country and as the snow melts away, the temperatures start to rise, and the flowers begin to flourish all signs point to spring and ultimately summertime. What better way to enjoy the great weather than by inline skating. Whether you’re looking to compliment an existing training program or you’re simply looking for a way to get out of the house and get back in shape, inline skating can cater to all of your physical needs. Getting in shape and remaining that way through inline skating is really quite easy, you just need to set some goals to achieve and help you remain focused. Like running or swimming, skating is a full-body exercise. When done properly, inline skating will work your arms, legs, and core simultaneously. When skating to get back into shape, it is important to maintain a steady workout routine and gradually increase the length, intensity, and variety of your workout.
But how do you get started? Well we’re out of hibernation from the winter and if you’re trying to get off the couch and get back into shape like we are, inline skating is the perfect way. To start, we'll cover two important things that you should always do before you head out skating, particularly if it is your first time out in a while. After that we'll get into different types of workouts to get you going. To begin your skating workout, find a flat place to skate. If there is a local biking trail that is paved, this is a great place to start. If not, search around your local area for a place that will work best for you.
First, you will want to stretch out properly. Stretching is a must before almost any physical activity because it helps warm up your tendons and muscles, and it has a direct correlation to injury prevention. Skating, especially when you are doing it for the first time in a while, can result in muscle and tendon pulls or strains if you do not warm-up properly. Spend as little as 5 minutes conducting stretching or other types of warm-up activities prior to skating and you’ll be less likely to be saddled with an injury.
Check Your Gear
The second thing you should do before strapping on your skates is to inspect your skates and safety gear. Inline skates function with the help of ball bearings and wheels. Your feet and ankles are secured in the skate boot with some closure combination of laces and progressive ratchet buckle straps. You should make sure that your bearings are properly oiled and that your wheels are in working order and void of any damage. Check the closure system of your skates, making sure that your laces are in good shape and that any buckle closure is functioning properly. Doing so will ensure that your feet will be safe and secure. Here's a handy guide to help with getting your skates ready to roll.
You will also want to check your protective gear, including your helmet, elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards. Make sure that each piece of protective equipment fits properly and comfortably.
If everything checks out and you’ve performed your warm-up, it is now time to hit the pavement and experience the open air and relaxation that inline skating can bring to your day, not to mention the relief skating on a regular basis can bring to your bathroom scale.
To start, get a feel for the motion and your stride by maintaining a slow pace. Being comfortable is the most important aspect of skating, and if you cannot be relaxed and enjoy the activity you will have a hard time continuing and reaching your goal of getting back in shape.
Once you have completed a couple of easy skating routines, and you are comfortable with your ability level and control, you can begin setting some attainable goals for yourself via a workout program. Like other workout programs, the best thing to do is to set small progressive goals. These benchmarks will be personal to you and serve as motivators to get in shape, stay in shape, and become a better skater.
Types of Workouts
When it comes to skating for fitness and exercise it is important that you vary your workout schedule. The most popular workouts used to improve skating and general fitness are endurance and interval training, both of which should be complimented with recovery skating days.
Endurance training requires you to skate long distances at a moderately fast pace. A workout such as this is great for improving your cardiovascular system and burning fat. The long distance allows your body to break down and burn off fat cells while creating lean muscle.
Interval training is based on a set time and distance. With interval training, you will try to push your body to perform at a high rate over a short, defined distance repeatedly. For example, if you choose a defined skating environment such as a park or looped trail, as well as choose the distance and time for completion, you will be conducting an interval session. The idea is to work harder and harder throughout the workout to maintain the time you set before you started, while completing your pre-defined number of repetitions. Once you start hitting your repetition goals, shorten the time or add more repetitions while keeping the timing the same. You will no doubt get a solid workout from such a routine and you speed and strength will increase over time.
The best places to conduct interval training are locations where you will have a consistent environment. Parks and trails can be great, but when they are crowded they can interfere with your routine and make it harder to execute your workout as you’ve planned it. Parking lots and residential streets are great options as well, just be on the lookout for cars.
We bring up recovery days because we’ve met people who have the, “I started, if I stop it will be too difficult to get going again” mindset. Desire to keep going is commendable, but if you’re skating to get in shape there will be days that you just don’t feel like doing your entire workout. Times such as this are when you can help your body the most. If you’ve skated hard for a couple days in a row give your body a day off from the regular regimen. This doesn’t mean do nothing. After several days of hard workouts, a nice, casual 15 minute skate is enough to work out the soreness you’re feeling. After a day to recover, get back to your regular schedule for a few days, then throw in another recovery day.
The most important thing to remember when using inline skating as a fitness tool is to have fun. Skating is a great way to push yourself athletically, but like anything else, it you aren’t having fun you won’t want to keep doing it. If you start to get bored with skating, try switching your skating location or think of creative ways to add to your workout. Even seeking out different people to skate with can keep you motivated and interested while skating. Hopefully this advice, along with everything we’ve talked about over this blog will motivate you to get out and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air of the spring and summertime.