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Health Benefits of Inline Skating

Inline skating as a form of exercise is as beneficial as running or cycling, according to Dr. Carl Foster, associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and coordinator of sports medicine and sports science for the United States Speed Skating Team. A fitness study completed for Rollerblade, Inc. in 1991 measured how inline skating compares as a form of exercise to running or cycling, in terms of caloric expenditure, as well as aerobic and anaerobic benefits.


Inline Skating Calories Burned Per Minute

Oxygen uptake, heart rate and blood rate were measured in eleven volunteers, all competent inline skaters, during four different workouts: running, cycling, 30 minutes of steady inline skating and an incremental inline skating workout, in which the participants skated one mile four times at progressively increasing velocities, paced by a bicycle. Results of the study are as follows:

Caloric expenditure
During a 30-minute period: On the average, inline skating at a steady comfortable rate expends 285 calories and produces a heart rate of 148 beats per minute.

* Interval skating, (alternating one minute of hard skating in a tuck position with one minute of easy skating in an upright position) expends 450 calories in 30 minutes.
* Running and cycling expend 350 and 360 calories respectively, at a heart rate of 148 beats per minute.
* In general, the faster/harder one skates, the faster one burns calories.

Aerobic benefits
Aerobic tests measure how the heart and the lungs work together.

* Inline skating was found to be a better aerobic workout than cycling, but not as good as running. This is because it is easier to coast while cycling than while skating, and impossible to coast while running.
* Inline skaters can increase their aerobic workout by skating harder or skating uphill. (NOTE: Skaters should master speed control for skating downhill prior to engaging in an uphill workout.)

Anaerobic benefits
Anaerobic benefits determine how well a workout strengthens and develops muscles. In general, a person who is working out wants to burn fat, not muscle. Studies show that women who use diet only to reduce weight may lose 40 percent of their weight from muscle tissue.

* Anaerobically, inline skating was found to be more beneficial than both running and cycling, because it is intrinsically easier and more natural for building hip and thigh muscles that are not developed in the other two forms of exercise. Unlike cycling, inline skating develops hamstring muscles. And unlike running, inline skating is a low-impact activity.
* A separate study conducted at the Human Performance Laboratory at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota found that inline skating develops muscles in the entire upper leg, rear end and hip, as well as the lower back. Muscles in the upper arms and shoulders are also developed when arms are swung vigorously while skating.

Shock Impact

Inline skating, when compared to running, causes less than 50 percent of the impact shock to joints, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, thus demonstrating that inline skating is less harmful to the joints than the higher impact sport of running.


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