Roller skating had its heyday on sidewalks and at rinks in the 1970s and ’80s, while rollerblading (aka inline skating) caught fire in the ’90s.
Both are rolling back into the limelight because they’re a great outdoor (or indoor) workout with lower impact on joints and huge benefits for fitness, strength and balance.
Both kinds of skates are a tremendous full-body workout, and each has their upsides.
The greater stability of roller skates, which have wheels on each corner of the boot, can be better for young children or those with balance concerns. Many others find inline skates, on which the wheels are lined up on a single “blade,” easier to use to develop speed and maneuverability.
Roller skates are slower, and in theory they may be a better workout because they’re more challenging to skate with, but many users are more inclined to rollerblade for longer durations so they will spend more time doing it.
Both deliver rock star results for your body and brain!
- Builds muscle — Any kind of skating helps people use, tear down and rebuild muscles in both the lower and upper body, as your legs move you forward while your torso, arms, and even neck and head pump and steer you. Your core and back muscles, critical to good posture, flourish with the regular use they get.
- Bolsters balance and coordination — Skating requires you to constantly make the adjustments and keep your muscles taut and engaged and also demands you use different planes of motion, all of which help you build your balance under all sorts of circumstances. This can spur more confidence in your abilities and your willingness to try new forms of movement.
- Cranks up your cardio — Skating builds your heart and lung capacity and burns about as many calories per 30 minutes as jogging, jumping rope, rowing or a spin class while reducing the impact to your joints by about 50%.
If you’re trying either for the first time or after a while, start slowly to develop your balance — and wear protective gear.