Not only a fun way to get outdoors and feel like a kid again, rollerblading, or inline skating, is good cardio exercise. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of cardio exercise every week, and rollerblading exercise can be part of that.
Exercises that get your heart rate up, including rollerblading, can help you meet the recommended 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week.
Benefits of Rollerblading
Rollerblading is a type of low-impact cardio exercise that's ideal for adults and kids alike. Low-impact exercise is defined as workouts that are low load or low weight-bearing, certified personal trainer Jacque Crockford told The Nation's Health, the publication of the American Public Health Association, meaning they don't put extra pressure on joints when you're exercising. Keep in mind that low-impact doesn't mean low-intensity, and it can be just as beneficial as high-impact exercise.
In general, increasing your cardio, including rollerblading exercise, is a good idea — there are so many benefits to regular cardio exercise, which is why the Department of Health and Human Services recommends doing for at least 150 minutes a week. That breaks down to 30 minutes a day. Cardiovascular activity strengthens your heart and muscles, burns calories, improves your sleep, helps control your appetite and helps to prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, the Mayo Clinic says.
In addition to serving as good cardio exercise, a rollerblading workout also works your core, according to A Healthier Michigan. Working your core muscles, which includes your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen, is important for improving your balance and stability, according to the Mayo Clinic. Having a strong core also makes it easier to do most physical activities, including everyday activities like carrying groceries or reaching for items on high shelves.
Increasing the Intensity
Increase the benefits and calorie-burning potential of rollerblade exercise by upping the intensity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines inline skating at a leisurely pace to be moderate-intensity exercise, but you can up it to be a vigorous-intensity exercise by skating at a brisk pace. A Healthier Michigan recommends bending your knees, lowering your upper body and continuously striding—rather than coasting—to increase the intensity of rollerblading.
For even more benefits, try interval blading, a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). To do this, A Healthier Michigan says to rollerblade as fast as you can, then slow down to a manageable pace. Repeat this several times.
Read more: The Truth Behind 5 Common Myths About HIIT
High-intensity interval training can improve aerobic performance, according to a review of 24 studies involving 577 people published in 2018 in Frontiers in Physiology. Additionally, a study of 250 overweight or obese individuals found that people who did regular HIIT experienced weight loss and visceral fat reduction. The results were published in 2018 in Medicine in Science and Sports Exercise.
Calories Burned While Rollerblading
One of the biggest benefits of cardio exercise is that it burns calories. According to Harvard Health Publishing, rollerblading burns between 210 and 311 calories per 30 minutes, depending on your body weight. If you're rollerblading to lose weight, then the number of calories you burn matter. You may need to eliminate at least 250 calories from your daily needs, either through burning calories via exercise or by reducing the number of calories you eat, to lose half a pound per week, according to the Cleveland Clinic. To lose 1 pound per week, eliminate or burn 500 calories per day.
If you're wondering about rollerblading versus running or rollerblading versus biking, by comparison, both running at 5 mph and bicycling at 12 to 13.9 mph burns between 240 and 355 calories per 30 minutes. Although running and biking burn slightly more calories than rollerblading, the best cardio exercise is one that you enjoy doing and will stick with — and if that's rollerblading, then you've made a good choice.
If you want a little variety, some other exercises burn around the same number of calories as rollerblading. For example, ice-skating also burns between 210 and 311 calories every 30 minutes, according to Harvard Medical school, as does racquetball, sledding, soccer and tennis.
Staying Safe While Rollerblading
Rollerblading, while a fun form of exercise, can be dangerous if proper safety precautions aren't taken. The first step: suiting up appropriately. TeensHealth from Nemours recommends wearing a helmet that's specifically designed for inline skating or skateboarding; these helmets are better protection against a backward fall because they come down lower toward the base of the skull. Ensure that the helmet fits properly and that the chin strap is tight under your chin.
Additionally, safe rollerblading means wearing knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, light gloves to protect your fingers and a mouthguard to keep your teeth and mouth safe in case of a fall. Nemours also says that your inline skates should have solid ankle support. To test it, feel the plastic of the boot — if you can squeeze it, the material isn't strong enough to protect your ankles.
It's important to find a safe place to rollerblade. A Healthier Michigan recommends looking for a path that's fairly smooth and free from sticks and rocks that can trip you. When rollerblading, be aware of your surroundings and take notice of cars, other people and changes in the street or path surface.
Finally, make sure that you stay hydrated while rollerblading. It can be an intense cardiovascular activity that causes you to sweat profusely, which can lead to dehydration. The American Council on Exercise recommends that you drink 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before you begin to exercise, and then 7 to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise. After you're done, weigh yourself and drink 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight that you lost during exercise.
- A Healthier Michigan: "Rollerblading: Your Underrated Summer Cardio"
- Nemours: "Safety Tips: Inline Skating (for Teens)"
- Frontiers in Physiology: "High-Intensity Interval Training Performed by Young Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"
- American Heart Association: "American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Cardio 101: Benefits and Tips"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "General Physical Activities Defined by Level of Intensity"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- Medicine in Science and Sports Exercise: "High-Intensity Interval Training in the Real World: Outcomes from a 12-Month Intervention in Overweight Adults"
- The Nation's Health: "Living Healthier Through Low-Impact Exercise"
- Mayo Clinic: "Core Exercises: Why You Should Strengthen Your Core Muscles"
- Cleveland Clinic: "The Very Best Way To Lose Weight & Keep It Off"
- Department of Health and Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans"
- American Council on Exercise: "Healthy Hydration"