Looking for a way to improve your health that doesn’t involve running for miles or lifting weights? Rollerblading might be the solution for you!
Inline skating, better known as rollerblading, was a very popular sport back in the 1990s. However, it has regained some of its popularity thanks in part to the many benefits it offers.
After almost a year and a half of enforced working from home and limited activities, most of us could do with a new way to get in shape. Inline skating allows you to do just that, while also having a lot of fun. Combining some of the elements of roller skating with those of skiing, with a dash of skateboarding thrown in for good measure, this activity can get your heart pumping, boost your metabolism, and energize you.
So, what are the benefits of rollerblading? In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know. But first, let’s take a quick refresher on what inline skating is and how it differs from roller skating.
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What Is Inline Skating?
Rollerblading uses skates just like roller skating. However, instead of having two axles each with two wheels at the ends, your skates have all the wheels in a single line down the center of the skate. Where roller skates have brakes on the front, rollerblades have the brakes on the heel.
The skates themselves look different, as well. When roller skating, you will wear a soft leather boot. It might be ankle height or lower cut, but it resembles a shoe more than anything else. Rollerblades look more like ski or snowboard boots. They’re inflexible and made of hard plastic with straps that help to lock your feet and ankles in place.
The wheels are also different. Roller skating takes place primarily on wood or concrete rinks indoors, and the wheels are made from softer polyurethane. Rollerblade wheels are much more durable and are more akin to skateboard wheels than roller skate wheels.
With all that being said, rollerblading and roller skating don’t differ all that much in form. Both offer great aerobic exercise, work out your lower leg muscles, and deliver important health benefits. But, because rollerblading takes place outdoors, you can often get more exercise, plus the benefits of fresh air and sunshine.
So, what are the benefits on offer? Here’s what you need to know.
The Benefits of Rollerblading: Aerobic Fitness
Aerobic exercise, like running, swimming, and biking, is important for many reasons. The National Heart Foundation recommends at least 30 minutes of cardio-focused exercise five to seven days a week. Rollerblading is a great aerobic exercise for those of almost any age, too.
It helps to improve cardiovascular health, burns calories, and helps keep your muscles toned. What aerobic health benefits might you find with rollerblading, though? Here’s a closer look at some of the most important aerobic benefits you’ll enjoy from inline skating.
Improved Heart Health
Aerobic exercise is excellent for improving your heart health. Your heart is a muscle, and without proper exercise, it can become weak.
Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate and sustains that increase across the workout, helping to strengthen it. Rollerblading can keep your heart at a moderate rate that helps build strength and fight wear that can lead to disease.
Improved Lung Function with Rollerblading
When you’re involved in cardio-focused physical fitness activities, your lungs will work hard to supply all your muscles with oxygen. Over time, sustained aerobic workouts can improve lung health and function in a couple of ways.
You’ll find that your lung capacity increases with your workouts. As that happens, you’ll improve muscle endurance because your body is better able to supply the muscles with oxygen.
Overall Cardiovascular Health Improvements from Rollerblading
When you think about your cardiovascular system, chances are good that you imagine the heart. However, there’s so much more to it!
All those arteries and veins sending blood to organs and muscles around the body and then back to the heart also benefit from inline skating. As your heart works harder and you burn calories, you also decrease blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, and even decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Controlling Insulin Levels to Fight Blood Sugar Problems with Rollerblading
You’ll also find that rollerblading can provide you with better control over your blood sugar. As you exercise, your blood glucose levels naturally drop because your muscles are using those sugars for fuel. That lightens the load on your pancreas.
Aerobic exercise has also been shown to increase your sensitivity to insulin, which counters the resistance that causes type 2 diabetes in the first place. Note that exercise is beneficial for those with type 1 diabetes, but the benefits are different because the two diseases, while similar, are not identical.
Combat Unexpected Mood Swings with Rollerblading
One of the most profound physical benefits of exercise is the ability to combat mood swings. When you exercise, your body releases happy hormones like dopamine and other chemicals. These give your brain a “reward” and your mood rises, improving your mental health and outlook.
This is one of the reasons that exercise is so often recommended for those battling depression, as well as for those suffering from mood swings from perimenopause and menopause.
Improve Muscular Endurance with Rollerblading
Aerobic exercise can build strength, although not as well as strength training. What it excels at, however, is building muscular endurance. What’s endurance all about? You can think of it as staying power – the ability to maintain a level of exertion over a period of time. Here’s an example:
If you’re strong, you can lift a lot of weight a couple of times. If you have endurance, you can lift a moderate amount of weight many times.
Strength is great, but if you don’t have endurance, it’s not worth very much.
As you can see, there are plenty of aerobic benefits to be had, and you don’t even need a personal trainer. However, you’ll find a lot of other benefits of rollerblading, as well, including those you get from anaerobic exercise.
Weight Reduction with Rollerblading
Exercise of any type will result in a reduction in body weight. How much weight might you lose with rollerblading, though? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, but you can figure out what you might expect with a little bit of math.
To lose a pound of fat, you must burn 3,500 calories more than what you consume within a specific period. How many calories does rollerblading burn? That really depends on your body size and current weight.
For instance, if you weighed 160 pounds and rollerbladed at an average pace for an hour, you would burn just over 900 calories. However, if you weighed 200 pounds, that same hour of exercise would give you more calories – almost 1,200 calories burned. If you weighed 240, you would burn around 1,360 calories.
So, while the number of calories burned per hour will vary from person to person, there’s no denying that rollerblading can offer significant body weight reduction over time.
Related: Benefits of Skateboarding
The Health Benefits of Rollerblading: Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise includes things that you cannot really get with an aerobic workout. For instance, with aerobics, you get your heart rate up and improve cardiovascular health, but you cannot build much strength. Rollerblading includes anaerobic benefits that transcend what is possible with pure aerobics.
What Is Anaerobic Exercise?
Chances are good you’re familiar with anaerobic exercise even if you don’t know the term. Have you heard of high intensity interval training, or HIIT? That’s anaerobic exercise.
Basically, this is any type of short, fast, high-intensity exercise. It doesn’t have to be something you do in a HIIT workout. You can work anaerobic exercise into a daily run, and rollerblading is a great way to add it to your day, too.
Even Better Blood Sugar Control Than Regular Exercise
One of the benefits here is that rather than being oxygen focused like aerobic workouts, anaerobic workouts force your muscles to use more glucose. That’s good news for those with type 2 diabetes, as well as those with prediabetes, but it’s important for anyone who struggles with blood glucose control.
Rollerblading for Muscle Strengthening and Toning
While rollerblading certainly strengthens your lower and upper leg muscles, it also engages other muscle groups. It’s not just the lower body – it’s a whole body workout. You’ll build strong core muscles to skate properly and maintain the right posture. You’ll also work your back, arm, and shoulder muscles to an extent, allowing you to build strength and boost muscle endurance there, too.
Which muscle groups does rollerblading work while you’re skating, though?
- Back muscles
- Upper leg muscles
- Lower leg muscles
- Abdominals/core muscles
- Arm muscles
- Shoulder muscles
It’s a fantastic way to build strength and improve musculature without having to lift weights of spend a single minute inside a gym.
Agility, Coordination, and Dynamic Balance from Rollerblading
While rollerblading can offer help with weight loss, muscle toning, your fight against heart diseases and even in maintaining a good mood, it also offers less tangible benefits that are no less important.
For instance, it can improve your agility, coordination, and your ability to maintain balance. That’s because, unlike traditional skates, rollerblades force you to balance your body a lot like ice skates. Plus, skating while leaning forward and maintaining an upright position around turns and obstacles helps your brain and muscles learn the skills needed to maintain balance.
Those are important now, but are even more important as you age. Falling is the most common type of injury for older Americans. Having a good sense of balance and improved agility stays with you for years, and can help prevent fall-related injuries as you get older. Rollerblading helps you develop and maintain those skills.
The Importance of Understanding Exercise Impact
Exercise is important for fighting off heart diseases, losing weight, fighting high blood pressure, and so much more. But some types of exercise are high-impact and have a negative cumulative effect on bones and joints. For instance, runners are at an increased risk for ankle and knee injuries due to the impact they experience while running.
Rollerblading, on the other hand, is a low-impact exercise that allows you to continue working out without having to worry about the effects that it will have on your joints.
Reduced Stress Levels and Improved Self-Confidence
We’ve covered a lot of benefits to rollerblading, but there are two that we haven’t yet explored: stress reduction and improved confidence.
Stress: Stress takes a terrible toll on your mental and physical health. Rollerblading is fun, gets you outdoors, boosts the production of happy hormones and endorphins in the brain, and helps you release that built up stress and tension.
Self-Confidence: Most of us struggle with confidence to one degree or another. However, mastering new skills increases confidence. Rollerblading increases self-confidence not only because of the new skill mastery involved, but also because of doing something good for your body, looking and feeling better, and improving your overall physical and mental health.
The Wrap Up
When it’s all said and done, rollerblading offers an incredible range of benefits. It helps fight heart disease, can put you into a good mood, helps ensure strong muscles and good balance, and so much more.
Almost anyone can rollerblade, too, making it easy to get into and enjoy the benefits we’ve talked about above. At the same time, you do need to get involved in the right way. Make sure you buy quality skates. Use a helmet and pads to help prevent injuries. Work on advanced moves only when you’ve mastered the basics.
In other words, start slow. Take it easy. Work on your balance first, then start moving forward toward more intensive skating, like interval skating. Rollerblading offers a freeing experience, the ability to achieve an effective workout without using the gym, and even the means to improve your overall well-being.