In-line skating also known as roller blading has increased in popularity because it’s fun. In-line skating is a low impact and easy to learn activity that the whole family can get involved with. You can significantly increase your level of aerobic fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance and balance through regular in-line skating.
- Get the right skates. They should fit snugly and comfortably without pressure points. Consider renting skates the first time or two before investing in your own pair.
- Protect yourself with safety gear. Wrist guards, kneepads, elbow pads and a helmet should always be worn. No exceptions, no excuses. They’ll protect you and your children from cuts, bruises and other nasty injuries. Too many in-line skaters of all ages get hurt because they don’t wear safety gear. The speed of the sport, debris on roads and paths and traffic can all pose a danger even if you consider yourself an excellent skater.
- Practice in a safe environment. Start out inside the rental shop, on a flat driveway or holding the hand of a friend who’s not on skates. These are all good ways to get a feel for the sport. Once you’re a little more comfortable, find a smooth flat outdoor surface free of traffic and other dangers. An empty parking lot, a schoolyard, a local track or a tennis court are good places to practice your technique.
- Practice the same skating technique you use on ice. Keep your head up, body tall and hips balanced over one foot as you shift your weight. Swing your arms rhythmically from side to side in a controlled manner. Push off with the entire foot not just the toes or legs.
- Learn at least one method of stopping that doesn’t involve landing on your backside. Either use the heel brake or drag one skate sideways. You should be in control at all times, especially if you progress to skating on roadways with cars and pedestrians
- Take lessons to learn the basics of proper skating, turning and stopping techniques. Many private organizations, equipment rental companies and municipal facilities offer lessons at a reasonable price. Instructors will even teach you the safest way to fall should it happen. If you feel it coming, remember “the grass is your friend.”
Once you’re proficient on your skates and want to challenge yourself further join an in-line skating group, a hockey team, or try skating on your own while stick handling a ball or puck. Today’s in-line skates are designed to operate very smoothly and efficiently. If you have a high level of fitness, you may not get a true aerobic workout unless you push yourself to increase your speed and the intensity of the exercise. If you find yourself traveling too fast for comfort but still want to work at a high intensity, try purchasing a weighted vest. It will allow you to skate at a more moderate pace while still maintaining the high intensity of the workout. A heart rate monitor will help you determine if you’re skating within your target heart rate zone.