You might not think that you need much physical training for in-line skating for beginners. Don’t the wheels do all the work? Well yes, the wheels do the work, but they’ll work better if you work out too. Plus being fit to skate will help you make the most of the fitness benefits of in-line skating itself. Read on to find out more.
Skating is great for your health
According to medical research, In-line skating ranks in the top three activities that improve or maintain physical fitness and general well-being. Apparently In-line skating is better for your health than jogging. If you’re Inline-skating at 20 mph, you’ll burn six calories per minute or 360 calories per hour. You can stay in shape just by In-line skating three times a week for two-hour sessions. But how do you stay in shape for skating?
Most importantly, you need to warm up. Warming up pumps increased blood and oxygen to your muscles and joints, making them more flexible, so they’re less vulnerable to a muscle or ligament tear. You’ll also be less likely to hurt yourself if you trip or fall. It’s especially important to warm up in cold weather, or if you’re a little bit older, as your muscles need more preparation. If you’re well warmed up, you’ll see an improvement in your strength, speed and range of motion.
In-line skating means keeping your legs and spine in a bent position. This position puts pressure on your hip joints and overdoing it can sometimes cause pain in the sciatic nerve, which you might notice as pain in your hips and down your legs. Regular gentle stretching can help prevent injury. Yoga is great for skaters. It increases strength and flexibility in the joints you use for skating such as ankles, knees and hips. It will give you better body awareness, balance and a stronger core. Pilates will also be beneficial. Check out a local class if you don’t already practice.
You don’t want to skate with stiff ankles. Do some ankle rotations, twenty seconds each way to warm them up before you put your boots on.
Exercises on the skates
So you’ve stretched, warmed up and now the skates are on. Now try these exercises for 15-20 seconds to really tune-up before you get going.
These are a great overall exercise for skaters. They activate the core and strengthen the quads and the glutes. Hold them for a minute to develop muscle memory and increase strength and balance through the leg.
Tiptoe through the tulips
Another good exercise for skaters, is what’s called ‘tiptoe through the tulips’. This is where you alternately stand on the tips or toe stops of your skates for a lap and then jog. Once you can do this easily, you can increase the intensity of the workout by doing more than one lap before you swap exercise. This will really warm you up for In-line skating!
A third exercise you can do is the Crab walk. It feels a bit weird to start with, but it’s a great upper body and core exercise and will help your skating.
- Start by sitting on the floor with your feet hip-distance apart in front of you and your arms behind your back with fingers facing hips.
- Lift your hips off the floor and tighten your abs.
- Start ‘walking’ forward by moving your left hand followed by your right foot, and then your right hand followed by your left foot. Walk four or more steps, then walk back. Do this for a few minutes or as long as you can manage.
Stretch after you skate
A little stretching after your In-line skating session will remove built-up lactic acid in your muscles and help you to relax too.
Maintain a fitness routine when you’re not skating
Make sure you keep a healthy overall lifestyle and it will pay dividends towards your skating.