Hello hello. Stephen @whataspoon here, and today we shall be taking a look into how Inline skating can be an amazing option as a type of exercise to keep you fit and healthy. I myself have been skating non stop for around 19 years now and because of this I have maintained a high level of fitness without needing to go to the gym or taking up any other new sports. How have I managed this without getting bored? Let's find out.
The Health Benefits of Inline Skating
Being on wheels has many benefits for your body and one of the many reasons for this is how freeing and fun it can be. When I was in my teenage years my father was looking for some company to motivate him to go to the gym to lose some weight and to keep fit in general. Whilst accompanying him I quickly found out that I am not one for standing in one place repeating the same movement over and over again. I found it incredibly boring which did not motivate me to continue going to the gym to exercise. Staring at myself in a mirror or looking at the same 4 walls for an hour just wouldn't cut it. For some people I imagine it works really well as gyms are so popular but I found myself thinking about being on my skates the whole time I was there so it made sense to me that the gym was not going to be a good option for myself when it came to keeping fit. This gave me the options of riding my bike, running, playing team sports or inline skating. Now, of course the other options would definitely work to keep fit as someone who plays football consistently will definitely keep a high level of fitness, but again, I found that sport to be a little repetitive. Inline skating can offer so much more variety to keep your brain engaged which was evidently very important for young Stephen to stay motivated. Let's see how.
Whilst on wheels it is very easy to cover a whole lot of distance. This can be done at fast speeds and also at comfortable cruising speeds which can be held for long periods of time. This allows you to travel long distances without getting too tired which in turn helps you work your leg, back muscles and abs. Contrary to this you could choose to push yourself to go very fast which can then improve your stamina. If you choose to do either of these on a nice smooth path in the city, on a beach or in the countryside you will be rewarded with the amazing views and landscapes. You could stumble across something you would never have seen before which can be very motivating. This would encourage you to do something similar again in a different location to discover more eye candy. Another beautiful thing about this is that your hands will be free to take photographs or to take videos on your journey. Another two huge benefits to skating opposed to running or cycling would be the lack of things to carry around and the low impact on the knees. Bikes are huge and especially in London, they like to go missing. With skates you can carry a small backpack with your shoes and water bottle and nothing else with no worry of someone stealing your skates off your feet. Skating can also be a lot cheaper than buying a bike along with it being much more of a challenge to learn which can lead to you being more rewarded when you learn how to skate. Running can sometimes cause long term knee and foot injuries as, if the wrong technique is used to run, your joints will be receiving multiple impacts throughout your exercise. When cruising on wheels over a long distance your knees will be experiencing little to no impact the whole time.
Not only can you simply skate forwards to a destination but you can also choose to skate in one particular area performing skills which will also keep your body in fighting shape. Inline skating has so many disciplines from slalom, slides, wizard skating and skatepark. All of these can keep your brain active as well as keeping you fit. I found this to be my favourite way to skate and also to keep fit. I grew up skating in skateparks, spending countless hours rolling up and down ramps, gaining speed to jump over obstacles and to perform tricks. This got me jumping and exerting force with my muscles for hours on end without getting bored as I had the reward of landing the trick at the end. Having that end goal really helped to keep me in the park for hours as opposed to getting bored in the gym after 60 minutes. Sometimes I can have my skates on for up to 14 hours. Obviously I am not constantly skating for this whole time as I would stop for food or to rest every so often but simply having the motivation to keep my skates on, due to the fun I'm having, keeps me subconsciously exercising all day long. I've been very lucky to have my passion as something that keeps me healthy and physically fit.
Skating keeps your whole body working hard as you need to use your legs, abs, back and arms to keep you balanced. It's very easy to work your lower body of course as simply skating along can do this no problem. Jumping and performing balancing skills can also have huge benefits for your lower body. For the upper body, I have found that bowl skating in skateparks has been successful at making my arms feel tired after a session. Falling over trying tricks in a bowl and having to climb out on repeat has unexpectedly helped me exercise my arms more than I could ever have expected. It's always very surprising at the end of these sessions when I find that my arms are tired but it has proven to be extremely beneficial for my upper body strength.
Another huge benefit to Inline skating would be the social aspect and the freedom to choose whether you skate alone or in a group. This solo sport has a huge community worldwide who are very welcoming of new joiners. If you grab some skates and turn up at your local park and find other skaters, you could definitely go up to them and say hello. Within minutes you will probably find that you have many new friends that you can "exercise" with. Some of the world's major cities will have weekly group skates and sessions you could join in with. Most indoor skateparks will have one night per week where you can usually find the local aggressive skaters practicing their tricks. These sessions or group skates could become a weekly thing for you where you get to see your friends to have a laugh and to have some fun skating with music through the city, in the skate park or at the local skate spot. Having other people expecting to see you every week will motivate you to get out and keep fit without forcing yourself to go for a jog or to go to the gym.
The social aspect to skating is also extremely good for your mental health. Going out in groups to skate around a city can create some amazing moments that you will remember for years to come. You may create some close bonds with people as you skate together that could last a lifetime. Falling over together and motivating each other to get up and try again can really help you with other things in life that bring you challenges. This was extremely beneficial for myself as a child as I learned very quickly through skating that I could be very resilient after falling over so many times to try and try again to get a trick on my skates. When I would finally land it I had not only achieved something but I managed to burn some calories and sweat out the toxins from all that rubbish Scottish junk food I was eating.
How Often Should You Inline Skate for Fitness?
Because skating is so varied it is possible to skate every single day if you like. It's possible for me to skate less some days than others and to do different forms of skating depending on what body parts are tired. If I have spent a whole weekend doing lots of tricks then I can simply choose to just leisurely skate to work on Mondays to help my muscles loosen up as opposed to just sitting on a bus not using my legs at all. The next day I could look at covering some distance or to simply go for a skate around the park with some friends before maybe choosing to return to tricks on the next day. Due to me having the freedom to choose how heavy my skating session can be, I can happily skate every single day without worrying about my body needing to rest. This can definitely be helped along with proper stretching which I could not recommend enough. Now that I am approaching thirty years old I am starting to stretch much more and this is allowing me to continue skating every day.
Combining Inline Skating with Other Exercise
In my time on skates I have tried my hardest to just never take them off.. I am always looking to shop in stores that allow me to keep my skates on, and to get involved in other hobbies where I can also wear my skates. Of course this is due to me being so obsessed with this sport but it has opened my eyes to see how many things are actually possible with skates on. Because you are simply attaching wheels to the bottom of your feet, the skates become an extension of your own body. You are not carrying something around with you which allows you to do most things you can do on a day to day basis but with skates on. This means that there are many other sports that you can do with skates on.
I have come across yoga classes that can happen with skates on your feet where you can use the wheels to roll you into certain yoga positions.
A very popular skating sport would be hockey. There are many ice hockey teams who like to practice in the summer with inline skates on to recreate those ice skating moves outdoors.
Similar to hockey, people who ski can also choose to skate in the summer months to keep them fit and to keep the muscles working in the same way so that they do not need to build up their stamina again for the next winter.
Rollerrobics is also a thing that exists. Here you can combine challenging body movements with skating in the form of circuit training to help keep you fit and to keep it interesting as you have wheels on your feet. This can be enjoyed by all ages and levels.
A popular sport in India is Rollerball where you essentially play handball with skates on. This can be very fun and competitive to keep you in good health and to have an absolutely great time. Check out @rollballengland on instagram to find out more about this unique sport.
I have also seen people performing juggling, hula hooping and other similar activities with skates on as your hands are free when skating.
Get your Skates on and stay Fit & Healthy
No matter what type of exercise you are looking for, inline skating will have you covered. I'm so glad that I managed to discover many of these benefits at a young age so that I could keep myself extremely fit going into my thirties. I've met many people who have also started skating later in their life, some as late as 65 years old, who are now reeking in the many healthy benefits that skating has to offer and I'd like to think that these people will live on to be fighting fit for many more years to come thanks to the amazing invention that is the inline skate.
If you would like to find out which types of inline skates would be best for your activity then check out our buyers guides here.