Benefits of Rollerblading

Amanda Loudin, writing for the New York Times:

Shaking up your fitness routine with in-line skating has big physical payoffs, said Esther Goldsmith, a London-based exercise and sports physiologist with the bio-analytics firm Orreco. “Depending on how you’re skating, you can reap both aerobic and anaerobic benefits,” she said. “But you also engage a wide variety of muscles you might not from a sport like running or cycling.” You’ll pull in stabilizing muscles from your abs and calves, for instance, as well as inner and outer thigh muscles.

What sets in-line skating apart from sports like hiking, running and most types of swimming is that you move in a lateral plane of motion, rather than just front and back. Over time, these types of functional muscles — those we use in daily life — decline if not challenged in this manner. “Skating takes your body side to side, involves your core, and improves your balance,” Ms. Goldsmith said.

Skating also trains your nervous system by requiring your body to do several movements at once, like squatting and pushing off to the sides (particularly if you’re mixing up your style). This is helpful in both athletic and daily activities, said Ms. Goldsmith. “When your muscles and nerves are more prepared, it reduces the likelihood for tweaking your back, for example,” said Ms. Goldsmith. “Skating trains your body for these daily activities without even realizing it.”

Careering around on tiny wheels can have additional benefits later in life. For one, it provides an equal aerobic benefit to running, but with lower impact on the body, presuming you don’t fall.

The payoff from learning to glide balanced on one foot at a time is also valuable. “Our balance peaks in our late 30s and begins to decline in our 40s,” Ms. Goldsmith said. “Many accidents happen over the age of 65 because of trips and falls. Skating regularly adds balance to the routine and that can help slow down that decline.”

That doesn’t mean skating is without risk — falls happen, and sometimes sprains or broken bones accompany them. But by mastering foundational skills and padding up with helmets, wrist and knee guards, you can mitigate your chances of injury.

I have been drinking and eating steak quite a bit, but my gout hasn’t flared up. I suspect because I have been rollerblading everyday.