There are so many physical activities and types of exercise to choose from. From common sports like running, cycling, or playing tennis to the most niche and esoteric like Nordic walking and skateboarding.
Another activity that has enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity is rollerblading, which is also called in-line skating. Rollerblading can be thought of as a fun way to get around, but it can also be used as a form of exercise.
But is rollerblading a good workout? What are the benefits of rollerblading?
In this article, we will look at the benefits of rollerblading and answer the question: “Is rollerblading good exercise?”
We will cover:
- Is Rollerblading a Good Workout?
- What Muscles Does Rollerblading Work?
- How Many Calories Does Rollerblading Burn?
- Benefits of Rollerblading
- Tips for How to Make Rollerblading a Great Workout
Let’s get started!
Is Rollerblading a Good Workout?
We all want our workouts to be effective and efficient, and if they are enjoyable, that’s even better. For most people, rollerblading certainly ticks off the last box in terms of being highly enjoyable, but is rollerblading good exercise?
The short answer is yes: rollerblading is a great workout. The benefits of rollerblading for exercise span the gamut from improving balance and coordination to strengthening the leg muscles and burning calories.
Plus, depending on how fast and how long your rollerblading workouts are, you can also improve your aerobic fitness and cardiovascular endurance.
In fact, in many ways, rollerblading can be one of the best types of exercise in that it can address most of the five health-related components of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.
We will address these in the specific benefits of rollerblading later on.
What Muscles Does Rollerblading Work?
One of the primary benefits of rollerblading is that it works a bunch of muscles, particularly some in the hips, inner thighs, and glutes, that are not normally targeted by forms of exercise that take place only in the sagittal plane (front and back) like running, walking, and cycling.
With the rollerblading motion, the angle of each stride is not directly straight ahead but moves outward, abducting the hips. This helps strengthen all of the smaller stabilizing muscles in the hips, such as gluteus medius, piriformis, obturator muscles, and gemellus muscles.
Rollerblading also works your inner thigh muscles and outer thigh muscles, such as the tensor fascia latae and the adductor muscle group.
Additionally, rollerblading works your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Again, the outward rotation of the foot as you push off your skate activates the gluteus maximus even more so than running or walking, wherein there is no external rotation.
For this reason, in-line skating or rollerblading can help prevent muscle imbalances in the hips by strengthening all of the muscles rather than selectively choosing just the few that are responsible for forward and backward motion.
In addition to strengthening the hips and legs, rollerblading works the muscles of the core and arms as you need to use your core to stabilize your trunk and your arms to help generate propulsive momentum for forward movement.
The abdominal muscles, including the obliques on the sides of your abs, and the lower back stabilizers help maintain your upright posture and twist your torso as you skate forward.
How Many Calories Does Rollerblading Burn?
One of the benefits of any type of physical activity is that it helps increase the number of calories you burn, which can help you lose weight.
The number of calories that you will burn during any workout depends not only on the type of exercise you are doing but also on your body weight, the intensity at which you are exerting yourself, and the duration of the workout.
With most types of exercise, there will be a range in the number of calories you burn per minute based on the speed or pace that you are moving. For example, when you are jogging very slowly, you will burn fewer calories per minute than when you are running at a high speed.
Similarly, when you are rollerblading, if you are skating at a slow, easy effort, you will burn fewer calories than when you are rollerblading vigorously as fast as possible.
One way to estimate the number of calories you burn during exercise is to use METs, which stand for metabolic equivalents. The METs value for an activity denotes how much more energy-intensive it is than resting (which is 1.0 METs).
The Compendium of Physical Activities reports that rollerblading workouts can be anywhere from 7.5-12.3 METs, as shown below:
- Rollerblading at a recreational pace of 14.4 km/h (9.0 mph) is equivalent to 7.5 METs.
- Rollerblading at a moderate pace of 17.7 km/h (11.0 mph) is equivalent to 9.8 METs.
- Rollerblading at a fast pace for “exercise training” at a speed of 21.0 to 21.7 km/h (13.0 to 13.6 mph) is equivalent to 12.3 METs.
- Rollerblading at a maximal effort at a speed of 24.0 km/hr (15.0 mph) is equivalent to 12.3 METs.
Using METs values, you can calculate the number of calories burned rollerblading based on your body weight and duration of your rollerblading workout using the equation to determine energy expenditure:
Calories Burned Per Minute = METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200
Let’s look at an example. If you weigh 165 pounds (75 kg) and rollerblade at a moderate pace of 11 mph:
9.8 METS x 3.5 x 75 / 200 = 12.86 calories per minute.
Then, if you do a 30-minute workout, you multiply the number of calories burned per minute by 30 minutes = 12.86 x 30 = 386 calories.
For reference, these METs values for rollerblading can be compared to running. Running 5.2 mph (11.5 min/mile) is equivalent to 9 METs, while running 9 mph (6.5 min/mile) is equivalent to 12.8 METs.
Therefore, rollerblading can be considered a pretty efficient form of exercise that burns a lot of calories.
Benefits of Rollerblading
There are numerous benefits of rollerblading for exercise, including the following:
- Rollerblading works all of the muscles in your legs and hips and strengthens the core.
- Rollerblading burns a lot of calories.
- Rollerblading increases your heart rate, so it strengthens your heart and lungs and improves cardiovascular fitness.
- Rollerblading increases muscular endurance.
- Rollerblading improves balance, coordination, and agility.
- Rollerblading improves mobility in your hips and flexibility in your shoulders, upper back, hips, and legs.
- Rollerblading may be more effective than cycling at building aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
- Rollerblading can help you lose weight because it is an efficient way to burn calories.
- Rollerblading is a low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints, so it can be more comfortable for people with arthritis or a history of joint injuries.
- Rollerblading can help reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases as long as you are meeting the guidelines for physical activity for adults set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the British Heart Foundation: to accumulate either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio exercise per week.
Tips for How to Make Rollerblading a Great Workout
Here are some tips to maximize the benefits of rollerblading during a workout:
#1: Take Lessons
If you are new to rollerblading, getting some lessons to learn the proper technique can prevent falls and improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of your workout.
#2: Wear Protective Gear
Wear protective gear, including a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads for safety.
#3: Stay Alert
Always be on the lookout while rollerblading and watch out for obstacles like gravel and sticks to prevent falls.
#4: Use a Heart Rate Monitor
Wear a heart rate monitor to gauge the intensity of your workouts, and aim to get your heart rate between 64-95% of your maximum heart rate.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the moderate-intensity cardio zone corresponds to a heart rate range of 64-76% of your maximum heart rate, while vigorous-intensity cardio is associated with a heart rate of 77-95% of your max.
Drink plenty of water before your workout, and if you’re going to be inline skating for a longer workout, consider wearing a hydration pack.
#6: Increase the Duration and Intensity of Your Workouts
Gradually increase the duration and speed of your workouts to burn more calories or build more endurance. Throwing in intervals of fast rollerblading will increase the intensity and maximize the number of calories you burn.
#7: Use Good Technique
Take long, gliding strides to improve flexibility and keep your core tight and engaged to improve balance and stability.
Push off powerfully to strengthen your hips and glutes.
Actively swing your arms to ensure you are getting a total-body workout and to increase your speed.
Don’t forget to stretch after your workouts, especially the muscles in your hips, low back, and calves.
Be safe, and have a blast!
If you are looking for some other fun activities to get in a great workout, check out our guide to Alternatives To Running: 16 Fun Cardio Ideas.