If TikTok Hasn't Convinced You to Buy a Pair of Roller Skates Yet, This Will
Roller skating may be the talk of TikTok, but it's a lot more than lacing up a pair of wheels. We spoke to experts, who also happen to be certified roller-skating enthusiasts, to answer all our fitness questions, like what makes it such a great workout and how many calories you can expect to burn while skating (the answer is more complicated than you think). Then, shop these cute roller skates and don't forget your protective gear, too!
Is Roller Skating a Good Workout?
Vynnessa Smith, a NASM-certified personal trainer and instructor at Blast Midtown/Buckhead and Cycmode in Georgia, recalled why she took up roller skating during lockdown: "Rolling skating is a manual sport, meaning the skater has to put in some serious work and force to get the wheels moving. I was looking for something easier on my joints and started roller skating as an alternative to running." There are so many forms of roller skating, and it doesn't take much to get your heart rate up, which makes it such a great cardio workout, she further explained.
In addition to being a great source of cardio, roller skating encompasses strength and aerobics all while being low impact, Shayna Meikle, founder and president of Beach Cities Roller Derby and owner of Pigeon's Roller Skate Shop in California, told POPSUGAR. "On top of getting your body in shape, it's a freeing activity so you actually enjoy doing it!" she said.
How Many Calories Does Roller Skating Burn?
Because there are so many variations of roller skating and levels of intensity, the number of burned calories per workout can vary, Chelsea Nauratan-Burgos, a NASM-certified personal trainer and women's fitness specialist, told POPSUGAR. "If you're skating at moderate speed, you can burn about 250 calories in a 30-minute session; however, if you're speed skating, park skating, or dance skating, you can absolutely expect to see the calorie total higher." Hour-long rides that are more intense can burn around 600 calories, Meikle added. Likewise, as your heart rate increases and you're burning more calories, your body will also begin to burn fat.
Which Muscles Does Roller Skating Work?
With each type of roller skating comes different levels of energy exertion as well as muscle movements. Nauratan-Burgos broke down skating workouts you can do if you're looking to focus and strengthen specific areas of the body:
- Skate-park skating: Because you're dropping in, pumping, and carving, you're working your quadricep, hamstring, gluteus, and core muscles through more of a workout, more quickly than you would trail or street skating. This is because you are moving at a faster pace and higher intensity than you would be on a casual skate.
- Street or trail skating: This is a great workout, but you're more likely to encounter obstacles like inclines and declines. To skate comfortably through these, you'll have to use different techniques, such as backward skating. Going uphill, you're getting a good stretch to your core, hamstrings, and glutes, while stretching your core, adductors, and abductors on your way downhill.
- Dance skating: This involves a lot of core strength and works every muscle in your legs, including your calves! Dance skating also works your neuromuscular control, which helps influence movement and posture.
What Are the Physical Benefits of Roller Skating?
Smith assured us that while it might take some time (and patience) to nail down a solid routine, your body will start to reap the benefits. "Of course, you'll burn calories, which can assist in fat burning and trimming you down, but you'll also build stamina, muscle, endurance, and it can tighten up your booty!" As you get more comfortable on your skates and with trying new moves, you'll be introduced to "new" muscles, or muscles you haven't used before, she said. Building on that, Nauratan-Burgos added, "Skating can improve your heart's ability to pump blood — which is helpful for those with hypertension — and improve lung capacity."
What Are the Mental Benefits of Roller Skating?
All the experts we spoke to praised the mental benefits roller skating has bestowed on them, especially in these times. Some of these included stress and anxiety relief, greater self-esteem, help with combating depression, exhilaration, and better sleep.
Smith even shared that roller skating helped her "literally glide" through her tough days. For Meikle, it's the dreamy moves and the freedom while on her wheels that relieve stress and boost her overall mood. "There has been a core community in the roller-skating world for years, and it's growing every day. Lacing on roller skates introduces you to that community and offers you resources, goals, and new friends," she said.