Back in the late 1990s, it seemed like everyone had a pair of inline skates. Today, the trend has topped off, but there is definitely a reason more than 13 million people around the country still break out the blades for a fun, fast workout. Not only do you get to feel the breeze whooshing through your hair, you can burn ample calories and tone your muscles with inline skates as effectively as other intense cardio exercises.
“Skating makes you feel like you’re just floating. It’s such a great way to lift your moods while getting in some awesome exercise,” says Kalinda Bogue, director of marketing at Rollerblade. In fact, studies show that an hour of inline skating can burn about 840 calories and can work your muscles just as effectively as running. Spring and summer are an excellent time of year to break out your blades. If you need new ones, here some tips to help you find the perfect pair for you.
If it has been years since you last tried on a pair of skates, you may be in for a surprise when you hit the stores. “Inline skates have improved and changed significantly over the past few years,” says Bogue. “They’re lighter, perform better, and are much more comfy than they used to be.” You will also notice that many have much bigger wheels. “Compared to skates of the past, today’s trend is to have larger wheels,” says Bogue, explaining that the bigger the wheel, the smoother — and more powerful — your ride. But if you are a traditionalist (or just a bit shaky on your feet), you may want to stick to smaller wheels, which are more grounded and makes it easier take sharp, quick turns.
Make sure you get a fantastic fit
No matter the wheel size you choose, the same rule applies to all skates when it comes to fit. Like a good pair of running shoes, they should be supportive and snug and not too roomy. Sizes vary by brand and will not always match to your shoe size. So when you go to try on skates, ask for a half-size larger and half-size smaller than your regular shoe size to see which feels best. Then, as you put the skates on, stand up and bend your knees, mimicking your skating stance. “When you do that, you should feel like your ankles are being supported without getting pinched, and that you can easily place two fingers in the back of the boot,” says Bogue.
Protective gear is essential
Regardless of your experience level, falls are inevitable when skating. Be safety savvy by following the National Safety Council’s safety tips for inline skating and never hit the road without protective gear. Plan to invest in knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards (for gear with a less-bulky fit, check out the Rollerblade Lux Activa 3 Pack designed for female skaters). Wearing Lycra or cotton athletic pants when you skate will offer another layer of protection if you happen to take a spill.
Get rolling with your inline skates
Now that you are geared up, it is time to get rolling! Hit the pavement rolling with this workout:
- Before you put on your skates, gently stretch your major muscle groups for about 10 minutes.
- When you are geared up, keep warming up for five minutes with a leisurely-paced skate.
- Continue skating at a comfortable, yet quickening, pace for 30 minutes straight.
- If you want a cardio challenge, do interval skating — skate speed two minutes for every five minutes (use the remaining three minutes to recover).
- Cool down by skating slowly for five minutes, then stretch again.
Inline skating is a fun workout to include in your regular exercise regime, especially if you need a new fitness activity to keep you motivated and excited to keep exercising. Best yet, inline skating will help you burn fat, build muscle and improve cardio.