Fun, Fitness, Freedom: The Whats and Hows of Inline Skating

Baggy wide-legged pants, a hoodie tied around the waist, a cool wristband, and a baseball cap flipped backwards, all paired with the attitude of ‘fun and freedom’ and you can see why the ‘90s were so cool and people feel nostalgia for that time. Part of the rule-breaking culture was the in-line skating or as it was usually called then ‘Rollerblading’.

After losing its appeal around the turn of the century, it is making a comeback again, and you can see a new generation of skaters on the city pathways and in local parks gliding into fun. You too can join in on the fun with fantastic inline roller skates from a range of brands made for rolling into hours of fun and showing off with grinds and jumps. This is sure to bring back some of the memories of the freedom and independence you had from skating.

Where It All Began


The first known land-based skates were made in the 1700s in the Netherlands, but it wasn’t until 1980 when two hockey player brothers Scott and Brennan Olson from Minnesota came up with a way to skate out of season. Arranging the wheels in a single line (hence the name) was closer to the ice skates, allowing for movement and manoeuvring. After they sold their company ‘Rollerblade’ in 1984 to Bob Naegele, the skates or rollerblades made it to the general public and sold in millions.

According to statistics, there were around 17 million skaters in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Aggressive inline skating, which is a sub-discipline that includes tricks and jumps, spins and flips, came to the scene and events were featured in the X Games between 1995 and 2000. Except for the freestyle form of skating, there are also the off-road and speed versions as well as vert skating which is a form of gymnastics performed on skates.

What Are the Different Types of Rollerblades?


Recreational skates: If you are just starting this activity, then the best pair for you are the inline recreational skates. They have wheels with size 70 – 90mm and are designed for use in parks, skate courts, or the streets.

Fitness skates: With wheels from 90 to 110mm, these skates are the most common type used for fitness skating or recreational skating.

Aggressive skates: The smaller wheels (55 to 59mm) allow more delicate movements, so these skates are used for artistic skating, performing tricks and jumps.

Racing skates: Designed for speed with hard and thin wheels with diameter size of over 100mm, they help skaters achieve and maintain speed.

Hockey skates: Specially created for roller hockey with 72 – 80mm size wheels, they provide a way for simulated ice-hockey training off season.

The Benefits of Skating


Going to the gym sometimes feels like a chore you have to do to stay fit, probably because of the intention behind it. When you go out skating, you do it for fun, and the fitness benefits just follow, without you even realizing it. Besides being extremely entertaining, in-line skating brings serious physical benefits too. You engage muscles that might not be included in, say, running or cycling.

The inner and outer muscles of your thighs as well as your abs and calves need to do a lot of work to keep you balanced on the wheels or pull a stop quickly. Rather than performing movements only front to back, which is what most daily activities require, this is an opportunity to wake up the lateral sides of your body. This makes it a good aerobic and anaerobic exercise that trains your body without the feeling of putting in a lot of effort.

Skating is also good for your nervous system. The multiple movements like squatting, pushing, and balancing, performed simultaneously train your muscles and nerves, so you are building coordination and agility. It’s good for your heart as it will increase your rate, and burn calories, without putting pressure on your joints as it is a low-impact exercise.

Once you learn how to balance and fall properly, then injuries can be minimal. On top of the sea of health benefits, skating can be good for your social life too. Getting out in the parks or joining a skate fitness club is a way to meet people that share your interest and might meet some new friends.

Inline Skating vs. Roller Skating


Just to make a couple of things straight, there’s a difference between inline and roller skating. The inline roller skates as already mentioned have a line of wheels and one brake on the rear part of one skate, allowing for greater speeds. The roller skates or quad skates have two wheels in the front and two in the back, with a toe stop at the tip of each skate.

This makes them more stable and according to many easier to learn. Many children start off roller skating until they learn to balance and then move on to inline skates as they get more experience. Both are great as a recreational activity and a way to stay fit and healthy while having a blast.

Skate Away the Stress


Is there a better way to relieve the stress after a long day at work or school than putting on a pair of skates and feeling the breeze take away the worries and clear your mind? Dust off your old pair or buy inline roller skates online and start cruising the streets as skating can lift your spirit and improve your mood immensely.

This would no doubt contribute to your overall mental health since the sheer pleasure of gliding outside in the sunshine is enough to increase the endorphin levels. Moreover, skating is an extensive aerobic workout at the same time, so you can be sure you will get all the good hormones running. Just don’t forget the safety gear to have carefree fun!

Author: Christina Stone

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