Inline Skates and Exercise Benefits

Article on inline skating

Inline skating is an enjoyable and fun way to get in shape and stay fit especially on warm sunny days when it's a lot more enjoyable to exercise outdoors than on a treadmill or exercise bike indoors at the gym. These days many cities have nicely paved paths through parkland, beach and waterfront areas to make your rollerblading experience more enjoyable and safe. Unfortunately depending on where you live, you may not be able to or want to rollerblade all year round.

There are many benefits to be derived from inline skating. It's much easier and safer on the knees and back than jogging since your legs aren't taking as much of a pounding against a hard surface. You don't have to travel as far as cycling to get maximum benefits. You will achieve a more effective workout in less time. Along with a great cardiovascular workout, blading provides you with a fantastic lower body and core workout by strengthening and toning your thighs, glutes (butt), calves, hamstrings, abs and lower back. It's like doing thousands of lunges using your own body weight without even realizing it or getting bored!

I also recommend that you combine blading with strength training exercises with weights such as leg extensions, leg presses and calf raises to name a few. This will ensure that your muscles and bones remain strong and it helps to prevent any possible injuries from occurring.

Before you begin inline skating for the day, you may want to do a little bit of light stretching particularly focusing on your thighs and hamstrings. Right now there is debate over whether or not to stretch before exercising. I believe you should do what feels best for you. Also, the first few minutes should be done at a slower pace as a warm up for your muscles.

I find that roller blading is extremely safe once you get proficient at it. Rarely will you fall by yourself. If you do, it's usually a result of your surroundings. No different than cycling or walking on a sidewalk. To prevent injuries and scrapes, you may wish to purchase elbow, wrist and knee pads plus a helmet. 

What should you look for when buying a pair of inline skates? If you're new to this sport, I suggest you either borrow a pair from a friend or rent a pair just to try it out, get a feel. When you're ready to buy a pair there are a few things to look for. If you're going to buy a really cheap pair I'll guarantee you that you will not enjoy inline skating. What I suggest that you buy a pair in the mid-price range.

What should you look for in a pair of inline skates? The obvious being that the boot fits your feet properly in a pair of sports socks. If you feel the boot rubbing against your ankles or your toes rubbing inside the boot, try another pair because ill-fitted boots will result in blisters and soar feet. Just like a badly fitting pair of running shoes.

I prefer laces for the boot with one plastic or velcro strap at the top and soft boots with plastic heel and bottom moldings for extra support. Soft boots with no plastic molding support usually give way to your ankle over time. Wheels should be in the 76-80mm range. Higher than 80mm is too big a wheel for most people and those blades are built for speed. Look for bearings with at least ABEC 5. Most quality inline skates come with ABEC 5 bearings nowadays anyway. Also note that rollerblades with the hockey boot are not ideal for long distance blading, but more suitable for road hockey, etc...

I've tried several different makes of inline skates over the years. I find that I like K2 the best and highly recommend them, especially in the higher price range of around $179 - $199. I like their sleek design, they fit my feet very well and have great support. K2s are also very comfortable and light in weight. Ultra Wheels are also good and I hear that Salomon are quality blades too.

Inline skates are easy to maintain. The wheels need to be rotated every once in a while to prevent uneven wearing out. So if you use them 3 times a week, monthly is fine or take a look for how much wear there is on the wheels. The bearings need to be lubricated too. I do this by removing the wheel bearings assembly and wiping the surface of any dirt and then spraying the entire wheel bearing assembly with lubricant. I don't remove the bearings from the assembly casing any more since I find very little dirt gets in there and it's a lot of time-consuming work.

In this article I've discussed the cardiovascular and strength training benefits associated with inline skating. What you should look for when purchasing a pair of inline skates and their proper maintenance.

article by: Peter Kudlacz, popularfitness.com

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