Roller Skating: Add Some Style And Spice To Your Cardio 

By Julia Bauer

Roller skating might just be the answer to how can you get outside and get active? For those of us searching for something different when it comes to cardio, four wheels may be the answer.

Staying consistent with cardio has always been a struggle for me. I can’t run thanks to my previously dislocated knee and torn MCL, and biking isn’t convenient for me. I love going on walks, but I’ve been wanting to partake in more intense exercise. That’s where roller skates come in.

Roller skates have four wheels arranged in a square on the bottom of each skate and a stopper in the front which serves as the brake. This is different from rollerblades or inline skates, which typically have three to five wheels arranged in a straight line. Although the two are similar, roller skates provide more knee and ankle support and are easier to balance on. 

The rink is not the only place to go roller skating. However, it is important to find smooth surfaces to practice on, especially as a beginner. When I started skating, I practiced on the carpet inside in my house to get a feel for it. Eventually, I started skating on the tile. I took it slow by doing different drills before actually skating.

Drills For Beginners 

  1. Balance on one foot – Balancing on one foot helps you become comfortable on your skates. Start by picking up each foot slowly and try to balance for a few seconds.
  2. Shifting your weight to roll – Stand in place and try shifting your weight forward to start rolling. Always keep your knees slightly bent to keep yourself grounded. Tilt your body forward to change the position of your weight, and lean into it to start rolling.
  3. Shuffle your feet – Shuffle your feet in place in an alternating motion, rolling one foot forward and one foot backward. Continue doing this until you feel comfortable with your feet rolling on wheels.
  4. Starting to skate – With your toes pointed slightly outward in a V-position, push off the ground with one foot by gently kicking backward diagonally. Then, place that foot back on the ground, and do the same with the other foot. Do this continuously, and you’ll find the rhythm. Before you know it, you’ll be skating.
  5. Don’t forget to brake – Skating inside can eliminate the need for using your stopper because you can grab on to nearby walls, tables and couches. However, before you start skating outside, practice using the brake. To do so, move one foot to the back and tilt the front of your skate down so the stopper drags on the floor. It may feel awkward at first because the stopper skids along the ground, but keep practicing to get the hang of it.

It’s Time To Take It Outside

After skating inside for a few days, I decided it was time to hit the trails. Before skating outside, it is important to wear protective gear. Not all skaters do, but wearing wrist guards, knee pads and a helmet only makes skating safer. 

Skating long distances is a great way to improve your skills and build your stamina. I quickly became comfortable with my skates once I began skating outside. 

Continue doing different drills and try skating longer distances – of course, don’t forget to practice braking. 

Skating on trails allows you to explore the nature around you while getting in some excellent exercise. After a few days of practicing outside, I felt like I was one with my wheels. I started picking up speed and getting in the groove.

Roller skating has become a staple in my workout routine; I skate four to five times a week for about thirty minutes, and I am sweating by the end of it.

Feel The Burn In All The Right Places

In terms of cardio, skating will strengthen your heart muscle. I typically burn around 250 calories during 30 minutes of skating – and I skate at relatively slow pace because I am still a beginner. I like to focus more on distance than speed because I enjoy being outside and getting some vitamin D while I’m skating. 

For me, roller skating is like jogging on wheels. It’s much easier on my joints than running. I never have any knee pain during or after skating, which is a huge relief. 

Roller skating works your quadriceps and calf muscles because you’re constantly using your legs and your knees are bent most of the time. You’ll also feel it in your hamstrings and gluteal muscles, especially when skating uphill. Even the slightest uphill incline makes my glutes burn. Although it’s tiring, I use the burn to remind myself that I am getting a great workout.

It’s Not About How Many Times You Fall…

It’s about how many times you get back up and keep practicing. Falling is why it is recommended to wear protective gear. 

Falling backward is more common than falling forward, which is why wearing wrist guards and a helmet are important. Wrist guards will prevent wrist-related injuries when you fall backward and catch yourself on your hands. Keeping your knees bent and your weight slightly in front of you will help keep your core stable so you don’t lose your balance.

However, every skater will fall. I had a hard time coming to terms with this because the thought of it scared me. For some reason, I never thought I would fall. Sure enough, I took my first tumble after a week of skating. I was going down my first hill and lost my balance. Luckily, I was not injured, so I picked myself up and kept skating. This time, I made sure to drag my stopper behind me to reduce my speed as I went downhill. 

Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect

With enough practice, anyone can skate! I was nervous when I first tried on my skates, but roller skating is now an obsession of mine. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of rolling along on my yellow wheels. 

I’ve starting skating to music and pushing myself to go longer distances. Listening to upbeat music has helped me find my rhythm and add some style to my skating. I’ve even started experimenting with beginner tricks (which I’m far from perfecting, but I’m hoping to get them soon). 

Once you feel like you’ve mastered the art of roller skating, trying out different tricks like crossovers, spins, and backward skating will keep you excited and challenged. 

If you’re unable to run or just looking for a way to spice up your cardio, roller skating is your answer. Grab your headphones, lace up your skates and let the good times roll. 


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