roller-skating
October 5, 2021

Roller Skating Isn’t Just Fun—It’s Also a Solid Workout

Roller skating has become everyone’s favorite activity in general, if you tried to buy a pair of skates recently like many others. What’s not to like? You can do it outdoors, it’s great fun, and it’s a great exercise. Roller skating is great for leg muscles, but it’s also very easy on the joints. It can also get your heart pumping even when you aren’t rolling to your favorite tunes.

You might be curious to learn more about how roller skating is good for your body, and what you should know before you buy your skates.

MEET THE EXPERT

  • Future’s performance coach is Tess Strang.
  • Andrew Laux, a NASM-certified personal coach with Fyt.
  • Brett Durney is a personal coach and co-founder of Fitness Lab.

Is Roller Skating a Good Workout?

According to Tess Strang (a Future performance coach), roller skating is an excellent form of cardio, regardless of age or skill level. Roller skating is a less impactful form of cardio than running or cycling. Because your body must balance, stabilize and propel you forward, it uses more muscle than running.

Andrew Laux, an NASM-certified personal coach with Fyt agrees. He says that roller skating is a full body workout. It uses both your inner and outer legs muscles (such as your glutes or inner thighs) as well as your core, arms, and core. It’s also less impactful than other forms of cardio like running. You will need to be more focused and balanced than with other forms of cardio, as it is less intuitive than running or jogging.

What Are the Benefits of Roller Skating?

Roller skating has many benefits, including balance, posture, control, and confidence. Strang says that the more you skate, the more muscle contractions you will experience in your core, glutes and hamstrings, pelvic floor, back, ankles and core. You’ll also be able to build endurance.

Laux states that roller skating has many benefits. It’s more impactful than running and you can stand instead of sitting like in cycling. He says that as we age, we need to be more mindful of our health and avoid doing cardio that damages our joints. Skating is an excellent cardio exercise that builds leg muscles and upper body muscles. You can rotate your upper torso while skating and use your arms and shoulders “pump” to move your legs.

Roller skating has many physical benefits. It can improve balance and coordination. According to Brett Durney, a Personal Trainer and co-founder of Fitness Lab, skating improves proprioception. It requires focus to keep your form correct, maintain your balance, and move in the right direction. It works your body through multiple planes of motion, while other forms of cardio tend not to.

It’s also fun. Roller skating is a great way to get your body moving, whether you’re at home or in an indoor rink.

How Long Should You Roller Skate?

It will ultimately depend on the individual’s ability to skate, but it doesn’t have to take too long. Laux claims that you can get a great workout in 10 minutes. However, he recommends sessions lasting 25-30 minutes to allow enough time for warming up and cooling down.

Durney says that interval training is a great way to get a quick and effective workout once you have mastered the technique. This involves sprinting fast and recovering slowly, then repeating the process for several rounds. Skating slow and steady for between 20-45 minutes can also be a great aerobic exercise.

Strang suggests that beginners on skates should not wait for more than 10-15 minutes before their lower bodies and quads feel like Jello. She recommends alternate sessions of short, steady sessions (15 to 30 minutes) with longer, interval-speed sessions. She suggests that longer, more relaxed sessions allow you to have conversations, take in the sights, and practice your casual jam-skating skills.

Strang recommends that you do a basic strength program 2-3 times per week in addition to 2-4 skating sessions each week if you want to make roller skating part your routine. To help stabilize your ankles, claves and hamstrings you can begin with small plyometric jumping. Next, move on to body-weight exercises such squats or hip lifts, lower body hold, and core exercises such as planks or bear crawls. If you are comfortable or want to improve your skills, I recommend adding forward-to-backward skate transitions, lateral T pushes, lateral walking, and even jumping to the duck. She says this will be beneficial for any skater looking to improve their speed, jam skating, roller derby or get after it at the skatepark.

Strang stresses that no matter your level of skill, it is important to warm up your ankles, hips and knees before you start to tie the laces.

Who Shouldn’t Try Roller Skating?

Before you attempt to learn to skate, it is a good idea to consult a doctor if you have any injuries to your knees, back, shoulder, or neck. Strang suggests that you work with a strength coach if you’re just starting out and have never exercised or sat on a pair skates. This will help prevent injuries.

Laux states that it is important to be able to balance and coordinate when you are trying to learn to skate. It can be difficult to stay upright once the skates have been put on. Laux encourages everyone to use all of the protective gear and to find someone who can teach them the basics. Durney agrees with this advice and states that it is crucial to have the correct safety equipment in order to prevent injury. He says that you shouldn’t let this stop you from trying to skate. Every exercise is different. Running and other forms are not without risks. Focus on technique and invest in good equipment. Take it slow.

How to Get Started

Laux suggests that you find a place where you can skate without distractions once your safety gear and skates are purchased. You can start skating around the perimeter to make sure you have something to hold onto. Then, find a spot five feet in front. To propel yourself in the direction you want, do one push-off. Keep your skates parallel so that you can ‘roll’ to your destination. Continue doing this until your feel comfortable stopping and starting again. He says that roller skating is all about learning how to stop and start.

The Final Takeaway

Roller skating can be fun and a great exercise. Roller skating can strengthen your upper and lower body and improve coordination and balance. Even if you haven’t skated since childhood, it’s never too late. It’s important to find the right pair of skates, but consistency is also key. The more you skate, your body will improve. Strang offers one final piece of advice. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to fall. “The only way you can learn is to try. And with trying, comes some falling.”