It’s an exercise that can burn up to 600 calories in an hour-long session, provides fantastic cardiovascular exercise while working nearly every muscle group in the body. On top of this, it causes less stress to joints than running or jogging, and is statistically safer than many sports. So why are more people not strapping their skates on?
Rollerskates have largely been attributed to John Joseph Merlin, a prolific inventor who is thought to have invented them in the 1760s. A memoir by Thomas Busby fondly remembers a comic demonstration:
‘One of his ingenious novelties was a pair of skaites, contrived to run on wheels. Supplied with these and a violin, he mixed in the motely group of one of Mrs Cornelys’ masquerades at Carlisle House; when, not having provided the means of retarding his velocity, or commanding its direction, he impelled himself against a mirror of more than give hundred pounds value, dashed it to atoms, broke his instrument to pieces and wounded himself most severely’
Thankfully skates have come a long way in their development since the 1760s, going through several iterations before reaching the design we know today. Once you’ve found your skating legs, it is a wonderful way to keep fit and have fun.
Some of the benefits of rollerblading include:
Heart health – skating really gets the heart pumping, you can expect to get a heart rate of over 140bpm during a skating session.
Burn fat – due to the cardiovascular nature of skating, it’s a brilliant way to burn calories and fat. Skating for burns more calories per hour than jogging
Works muscles – nearly every muscle group is worked during skating, this increased if you combine it with another sport such as hockey. The good news being that the exercise is gentle on the joints, so it is difficult to ‘over-do it’ and cause physical damage.
Increased balance – most people spend their first couple of attempts at skating making friends with gravity, but this soon changes with practice, and your balance improves dramatically as a result.
Core strength – maintaining balance while moving around on wheels at speed really works wonders on core strength
Mood booster – you’d be hard pushed to find someone rollerskating who doesn’t have a smile on their face.
Social sport – skating can easily be carried out as part of a group, whether that be simply skating around the park with your friends, or taking part in something more competitive like roller derby or inline hockey.
It’s fun! – one of the greatest benefits to rollerskating is just how enjoyable it is. Keeping fit is so much easier when time flies by, it will be two hours gone before you know it.
Affordable – once the initial outlay of skates has been committed, skating is cheap. The only other outlay may be the entry fee to a dedicated skating rink if you wish to visit
Location independent – there are a number of places that have skating rinks if you are willing to search for them. If you feel more confident, skates can be taken to the streets, though make sure you have some confidence in your ability to stop before skating in congested areas and wear protective clothing.
Whether you want to get fit, lose weight, make new friends, get out in nature, or simply look cool whizzing up and down the Kent sea-front, there is a multitude of benefits for all. Strap on some skates and give it a go.