Many people take up skating later in life as a fun way to stay in shape and get fit. And skating for weight loss is definitely possible if you skate for increasing lengths of time with fairly constant exertion.
Skating’s popularity as a fitness activity comes from its strengthening of the legs and glutes, and the good cardio and aerobic workout it offers. As certified personal trainer Amy Fanella says, “skating can make you stronger and help improve your heart health”.
According to research published by the National Institutes of Health, “Rollerblading is intense, burning 683 calories per hour”
This definitely helps explain some of the weight loss benefits of inline skating (when done right).
Is skating more sustainable than running?
Many sports involve some kind of running, to which many people’s bodies do not respond well.
Personally, I find running for exercise very serious, strenuous, and a bit boring. When I had to do it for school sports my knees didn’t like it, and after my school days I rarely ran again. In contrast to the boredom I felt while running, in skating I experience a calm concentration and joyfulness, and regular moments of feeling ‘in the flow’.
For me, skating is the perfect alternative to running, with almost meditative qualities.
We recently asked our Instagram community how they felt when they skate, and the answers were very similar:
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I know many people of all ages, all over the world, who take regular pleasure in a skating stride that is solid, smooth, efficient, and fast.
And in many countries there are now thriving communities of amateur speed skaters participating in marathons, tours, street skates, and recreational skating in both rural and urban settings.
For a great dip into global speed skating, and other skating disciplines, there’s lots of great stuff on Big Wheel Blading.
Fitness training on inline skates
Skating is taxing at first because all our muscles are involved in basic balance and movement.
Once we’ve mastered the basics and are using a small stride we can begin fitness training on skates, using scooting exercises, rolling lunges, and slow-motion stride drills.
This is where skating for weightloss becomes a possibility, if that’s your goal. These all work the cardiovascular system even as they improve skating techniques. Drills like this will strengthen and build your lower body muscles and help you tone up and lose weight and body fat.
If you’d like to try out some of these simple stride drills, click ‘FREE Trial’ on the bar near the bottom of these pages:
How to master skating forwards
However much skaters may enjoy learning multiple stopping methods, or turns and crossovers, or backwards skating and sundry tricks, at the end of the day we are all mainly just skating forwards.
This, therefore, is the skill to master and consciously work on. It’s no surprise that improving your technique and becoming more comfortable on skates will increase the benefits you derive. Whatever your speed: you’ll be able to skate for longer, burn more calories, and lose more weight.
As an awesome bonus you’ll also be safer, and you’ll fall less often. Conversely, should you try to gain speed by brute force and without improved technique, instability will result. Using your brain to skate is the best way to produce positive sustainable change in your body.
When we skate well, we feel relaxed, and we breathe better and deeper.
When we skate well, we can go faster, push harder, and still feel safe, maximising our workout without compromising our physical wellbeing.
When we skate well, we feel alive, and this has always been my motto and mission for everyone learning to skate with Skatefresh.
Over time, with good technique and a healthy balanced diet, your body will start to change. Gliding to your fitness and weight-loss goals is altogether more graceful than pounding your way there by running. There is simply no comparison!