The Benefits Of Inline Skating

Once considered a passing fad, inline skating is now here to stay. While sales have plateaued, industry figures show about 100,000 pairs of inline skates are still being sold every year in Great Britain.
While teens & young male adults took to it first, the sport has caught on with 25 to 50 year olds in the last five years. Large numbers of women are taking up this sport. Inline skating has also become very popular among both male & female children.
It is inexpensive & accessible & it is a great opportunity to get outside to get some exercise. Not a lot of planning is involved. You can slip on your inline skates & be skating in a matter of just minutes! Another added benefit is that it can be done either in groups or alone. Recreational inline skating makes for a great social outing with friends, or it provides an individual with an escape should she or he need some time alone to relax & reflect.

Do Enthusiasts Really Get A Good Workout?

Inline skating is an increasingly popular sport, but do enthusiasts really get a good workout? Yes, say researchers, who found that inline skating can provide the same level of aerobic activity as running. Their study of 20 experienced inline skaters, 10 men & 10 women with an average age of 25, pitted 15 minutes of inline skating against 15 minutes of jogging outdoors. Testing was done on two separate days during July & August in America. Participants wore identical pairs of inline skates. The inline skating phase caused the heart rate to accelerate to the same levels as jogging did.
"These levels are considered sufficient to promote a cardiovascular training effect," report Edward L. Melanson & his colleagues in the February issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Previous studies showed mixed results for inline skating. Some researchers found that inline skating could provide good aerobic benefits, but only at dangerously high speeds. This most recent study, however, found participants did not need to skate at high speeds to get the aerobic benefits. Previous studies found that inline skating could provide a more rigorous aerobic workout than running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. But researchers also observed that suggested benefits could diminish over time as the participants grew more proficient at skating.

This study, which was sponsored by Rollerblade is the first to test inline skating outdoors against running. "These results suggest that an appropriate cardiovascular training effect may be achieved with inline skating in individuals of varying levels of fitness & skating ability".

Inline Skating Calories Burned Per Minute

Oxygen uptake, heart rate & blood rate were measured in eleven volunteers, all competent inline skaters, during four different workouts: running, cycling, 30 minutes of steady inline skating & an incremental inline skating workout, in which the participants skated one mile four times at progressively increasing velocities, paced by a bicycle. Results of the study are as follows:

Caloric expenditure
During a 30 minute period: On the average, inline skating at a steady comfortable rate expends 285 calories
& produces a heart rate of 148 beats per minute.

  • Interval skating, (alternating one minute of hard skating in a tuck position with one minute of easy skating in an upright position) expends 450 calories in 30 minutes.
  • Running & cycling expend 350 & 360 calories respectively, at a heart rate of 148 beats per minute.
  • In general, the faster/harder one skates, the faster one burns calories.

Aerobic benefits
Aerobic tests measure how the heart & the lungs work together.

  • Inline skating was found to be a better aerobic workout than cycling, but not as good as running. This is because it is easier to coast while cycling than while skating & impossible to coast while running.
  • Inline skaters can increase their aerobic workout by skating harder or skating uphill. (NOTE: Skaters should master speed control for skating downhill prior to engaging in an uphill workout.)

Anaerobic benefits
Anaerobic benefits determine how well a workout strengthens & develops muscles. In general, a person who is working out wants to burn fat, not muscle. Studies show that women who use diet only to reduce weight may lose 40 percent of their weight from muscle tissue.

  • Anaerobically, inline skating was found to be more beneficial than both running & cycling, because it is intrinsically easier & more natural for building hip & thigh muscles that are not developed in the other two forms of exercise. Unlike cycling, inline skating develops hamstring muscles, & unlike running, inline skating is a low-impact activity.
  • A separate study conducted at the Human Performance Laboratory at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota found that inline skating develops muscles in the entire upper leg, rear end & hip, as well as the lower back. Muscles in the upper arms & shoulders are also developed when arms are swung vigorously while skating.

                     
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