What Does Roller Skating Do For Your Body

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In the pantheon of sports, skating checks in somewhere in the middle of the hierarchy – interesting, highly social and probably a good workout, but not glamorous like car racing or basketball. For this reason, it takes a little more than just celebrity inspiration for folks to dust out the blades.

For many of us, however, the choice of sports is not simply about its glamor quotient, but also the possibility of playing it in our backyard or neighborhood, and getting health benefits aplenty while doing so. Keeping these in mind, we have taken on the role of your friendly local physiotherapist to give some quick advice on whether you should go skating, how much is right and how this helps you.

Introduction

Roller skating has experienced a remarkable resurgence in recent years, captivating people of all ages with its blend of fun, fitness, and freedom. Beyond the joy it brings, roller skating offers a multitude of health benefits that can improve your overall well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the physical advantages of roller skating and uncover why it’s a fantastic activity for enhancing your body’s health.

Cardiovascular Health and Endurance

What Does Roller Skating Do For Your Body

Roller skating is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing. The continuous movement involved in skating increases your heart rate, improving cardiovascular fitness. 

When you roller skate, your heart works harder to supply oxygen to your muscles, which strengthens the heart muscle over time. Regular roller skating sessions can enhance lung capacity and oxygen uptake, strengthening your respiratory system and providing a valuable aerobic workout. 

The sustained movement involved in skating helps burn calories, making it an effective activity for weight loss and weight management. According to the Mayo Clinic, roller skating can burn approximately 330-600 calories per hour, depending on factors such as your weight and the intensity of your skating.

Strength and Toning

Roller skating engages various muscle groups, particularly in the lower body. The constant push-and-glide motion strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, giving your legs a great workout. 

The gliding motion on skates activates the muscles in your calves, leading to their strengthening and development. Roller skating also requires the use of your core muscles to maintain balance and stability. 

The abdominal and back muscles are continuously engaged during skating, leading to improved core strength and better posture. Additionally, as you progress in your skating abilities, you can incorporate more dynamic moves and tricks that further challenge and tone your muscles.

Balance and Coordination

Roller skating is an excellent way to enhance your balance and coordination. The act of balancing on skates requires continuous adjustments and weight shifts, stimulating the development of your proprioception and spatial awareness. 

Proprioception refers to your body’s ability to sense its position and movements in space, and roller skating helps improve this crucial skill. As you become more proficient, your balance and stability improve, enhancing overall body control. Roller skating also challenges your coordination and motor skills. 

The synchronization of leg movements with arm and upper body actions, such as arm swinging or performing tricks, requires precise timing and coordination. By regularly practicing roller skating, you can refine your fine motor skills and enhance overall coordination.

Joint-Friendly Exercise

One of the remarkable benefits of roller skating is its low-impact nature. Unlike high-impact activities such as running or jumping, roller skating reduces the strain on your joints while providing an effective workout. 

The smooth gliding motion of skating minimizes the impact on your knees, ankles, and hips, making it a suitable exercise option for individuals with joint issues or those recovering from injuries. Roller skating also strengthens the muscles around your joints, offering added support and stability. 

By developing these muscles, you can reduce the risk of joint-related conditions such as osteoarthritis. However, it’s essential to ensure that your skates fit properly and provide adequate ankle support to minimize the risk of ankle injuries.

Mental Well-being and Stress Relief

Mental Well-being and Stress Relief

Beyond the physical advantages, roller skating has a positive impact on mental well-being. Engaging in this activity releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that boost your mood and create a sense of happiness and euphoria. Roller skating can be a fun and exhilarating experience, providing a sense of freedom and enjoyment that can uplift your spirits. 

The rhythmic and repetitive movements of skating can be meditative and provide a much-needed break from daily stressors. Roller skating allows you to immerse yourself in the activity, clearing your mind and promoting relaxation. Additionally, roller skating often fosters social and community engagement. 

Participating in group skating activities creates connections and a sense of belonging within a supportive and inclusive skating community. This social interaction can further contribute to positive mental well-being and reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Safety Precautions and Tips

To ensure a safe and enjoyable skating experience, it’s important to take proper precautions. Always wear appropriate protective gear, including a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards, to protect yourself from potential injuries. 

These protective items can help minimize the impact of falls and provide cushioning for vulnerable areas. Choose suitable skating surfaces and environments that are smooth, clean, and free from obstacles. Avoid areas with heavy traffic or uneven pavement that may increase the risk of accidents. 

Practicing proper skating technique, such as maintaining a balanced stance and using controlled movements, is crucial for injury prevention. Regularly inspect and maintain your skates to ensure they are in good working condition. Check the wheels, bearings, and boot for any signs of wear or damage, and make necessary repairs or replacements. 

Lastly, it’s important to start gradually and listen to your body. Begin with shorter skating sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity as your fitness level improves. If you experience any pain or discomfort, take a break and consult a healthcare professional if necessary.

FAQs

What’s happening to my body when I skate?

Answer – You may have seen skating included in the list of cardio workouts, and this is with good reason. Skating works out the heart, allowing medium speed skaters to reach heart rates of about 140 to 160 bpm(beats per minute). Push yourself to high speeds and you can clock 180 bpm. While pushing yourself to 180 beats early on may not be a great idea, 140-160 can easily be achieved.

On a muscular level, this cardio workout becomes an aerobic workout. Your abs, glutes, thighs, calves and other lower limb muscles are constantly adjusting your weight, balance, and changes of pace and direction. This constant workload pushes these muscles to greater effort, thereby building up endurance in the long run.

Lastly, it is a fallacy that skating is only a lower body workout. In reality, as you twist and turn on skates, your arms and abdominal muscles are also getting a workout, albeit one that is lower than your lower body muscles.

What’s happening to my body when I skate?

How does all this help?

Answer – For starters, muscle training and heart training allow for building up of coordination and balance. These are important for a variety of activities, including competitive sports. In fact, many athletes use skating as a cross-training exercise during their offseasons or when they want to take a break from their regular sports.

Then there are the actual muscles themselves. As the workout progresses, the muscles become leaner and fitter, allowing you to get more out of them even as they give you a more healthy and muscular appearance.

In the long term, skating has some less visible benefits as well. For instance, skating being an inherently social and friendly workout tends to release endorphins and positive hormones. Over time, these can improve mental health among folks who suffer from stress and depression. Also, given that the workout helps improve body metabolism, it is also seen as a means of reducing risks of type-2 diabetes.

But does it help me lose weight?

Answer – Yes, most definitely it does. The muscular workout allows a 190 pound man to burn about 10 calories a minute, reaching up to 148 calories per hour on skates and up to 160 on rollerblades. For a 150 pound woman, the burn rate is 9 calories a minute, with hourly burn adjusted accordingly.

If you’re constrained on time, a 30 minute session per day will lose you a hefty 1250 calories per week. These findings have been confirmed by multiple sources, including the folks at the University of Konstanz.

Of course, you must remember that the number of calories burnt depends on the BMI (Body Mass Index) of the person, which is a fancy way of saying that the more overweight you are, the more you will burn. Over time, the workout’s main benefits shift from fat burn to muscle toning, giving you not just a flatter belly, but a more toned and ripped appearance.

Conclusion

Roller skating is not just a fun and exhilarating activity; it also offers a myriad of health benefits. From improving cardiovascular health and endurance to enhancing strength, balance, and coordination, roller skating provides a total-body workout. 

It is a joint-friendly exercise that supports overall joint health while toning and strengthening muscles. Roller skating contributes to mental well-being, reducing stress and promoting a positive mood. 

By following safety precautions and enjoying the activity responsibly, you can embrace roller skating as a fantastic way to improve your physical fitness, mental well-being, and overall quality of life. So, lace up your skates, hit the rink or the pavement, and let the health benefits of roller skating unfold. Your body will thank you for it!

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