When you think of an exercise or fitness routine, it is more than likely that the first things to come to your mind will be running on a treadmill, lifting weights, and riding a stationary bike. It is unlikely that you will include inline skating in that routine, because many individuals do not understand how effective inline skating is as an exercise mechanism.
Inline skating is a very effective workout when it is done properly. There are many benefits to inline skating for fitness, including its ability to burn calories, reduce wear-and-tear on your bones and joints, and improve balance and coordination. Below is a discussion on how effective inline skating is in each of the areas just mentioned.
Skating for Fitness: Burning Calories
When it comes to getting healthy, or staying healthy, many people consider themselves to be calorie counters. They keep track of the calories on the foods they purchase and consume, and they also try burn calories through various exercises. Inline skating is great fitness activity for helping to burn calories because it takes very little time to become effective.
During a 30-minute skating period, an average inline skater will burn 285 calories at a heart rate of 148 beats per minute, if they are skating at a steady, comfortable rate. By comparison, if you elect to perform interval skating, in which you will alternate skating aggressively for one minute, and skating easy for another, you will burn 450 calories in 30 minutes.
If you choose running or cycling instead of skating, you will lose 350 and 360 calories respectively, at the same 148 beat per minute heart rate. The numbers are still slightly higher for running and cycling, but the number of calories you can burn per minute is largely dependent on your weight. Thus, you may still lose more calories in a 30 minute period while skating versus running or cycling. Not to mention, the toll that running and cycling take on your body, skating is a very suitable fitness option.
Skating for Fitness: Low Impact
In addition to the calorie burning benefit of inline skating, skaters also gain from the low impact on the bones and joints of the body. If you have ever been jogging, you know that running produces a jarring impact on your knees, back, and ankles. The repetitive nature of this jarring impact is not good for your joints and it takes life out of them with each and every stride. Inline skating is a great alternative to jogging and an excellent way to alleviate your body from the damage to bones and joints. In fact, inline skating has been proven to show slightly less than half of the shock of running, while providing all of the same benefits. If you are a runner and your legs routinely hurt, you may wish to consider inline skating as an alternative. It will save you much pain and anguish in the future.
Skating for Fitness: Cardiovascular Workout
If you are dedicated runner you know that it is a tremendous cardiovascular workout. However, as was just discussed, running takes a toll on the body. If you give up running, how are you supposed to get in your cardiovascular activity? The answer is inline skating. Not only does inline skating help to relieve you of the jarring impact from running, but it provides close to the same cardiovascular workout. The only exceptions being that you have the ability to coast on skates, which you cannot do while running. One way to compensate for this however is to skate in an area with a slight incline which will prevent you from coasting.
If you are curious about how hard you should be pushing yourself when skating in order to get a good cardiovascular workout, the answer can be found with a few simple calculations:
Begin by subtracting your age from the number 220
220 – (Your Age) = _____ (A) From now on we will use (A) to represent this number
Next, subtract your resting heart rate from (A), multiply it by .60, and add your resting heart rate.
(A) – (your resting heart rate)= _____ * .60 = _____ + (your resting heart rate)= _____
Finally, subtract your resting heart rate from (A), multiply it by .85, and add your resting heart rate.
(A) – (your resting heart rate) = _____ * .85 = _____ + (your resting heart rate) = _____
Skating for Fitness: Balance and Coordination
Whether you have skated before or not, it isn’t a secret that inline skating requires a fair amount of balance and coordination. It also isn’t a surprise that many athletes, amateur and professional, will utilize inline skating as a training tool to improve balance and coordination.
If you are looking to take your balance and coordination training to the next level, inline skating is a great option for you. A great way is by practicing skating on each foot independently. Pick up one skate for 2 to 4 seconds, and then switch to the other foot. This will accelerate your balance and coordination very quickly. If you do attempt this exercise, please remember to always wear protection gear.
However, even if you aren’t looking to use skating as a balance and coordination training tool, a little extra balance and coordination doesn’t hurt.
Skating for Fitness: Muscle Building
It is not a surprise to most that inline skating is a great aerobic and cardiovascular workout. However, it is also a great way to build muscle. In general, an individual who is working out is seeking to burn fat, not muscle. From a muscle building standpoint, inline skating has been found to be more beneficial than both running and cycling. This is do in large part because the motions of inline skating are easier and more natural for building hip and thigh muscles. Unlike cycling, inline skating develops the hamstring muscles. While inline skating also helps preserve your knees and joints, unlike running. Many studies have also been completed on the effectiveness of inline skating for building muscles; with each study showing that inline skating develops muscles in the entire upper leg, rear end, hips, and lower back. Additionally, your upper arms and shoulders are affected when arms are swung vigorously in intense skating periods.
Skating for Fitness: Sports Training
As touched on briefly earlier, inline skating is often used by athletes, both amateur and professional, as a sports training tool. In fact, Rollerblade, Inc. was founded by two hockey players who were looking for a way to train for ice hockey in the off season. Most hockey players utilize inline skating for this same purpose to this day. Additionally, Alpine and Nordic skiers will develop leg muscles, improve their cardiovascular fitness, and their agility via inline skating. These are just a few of the many ways that inline skating can be used for sports training.
Skating for Fitness: Mental Fitness
Among all of the benefits that have been discussed to this point, the one that is routinely overlooked is mental fitness. Inline skating can be a casual stroll around the block, or an intense, fast-paced adrenaline rush. Regardless of which style of skating you participate in, the mental health benefits that you gain from inline skating should not be taken lightly. Leisurely skating helps to reduce stress levels, and has also been shown to lower the likelihood for depression. Intense skating also has its benefits by increasing mental acuteness and reaction time as well. All in all, inline skating provides a number of significant benefits on many levels, both mental and physical.