Age is only a number if your heart is in good spirits. The same is true for rollerblading. Age cannot limit you from learning the tricks if you have the right physical built and a strong will to pursue the sport. So, the very first step to answering the question will be a quick check of your physical health and mental well-being [source].
Many people often ask me if they are too old for inline skating. My answer is simple. If you have reasonably good health, you can learn the tricks even in your mid-60s. With that said, you cannot deny that the human body undergoes some changes that cannot be ignored.
For example, the bones turn more brittle. It takes longer for injuries to heal and so on. Therefore, it becomes mandatory to follow certain rules and take precautions when you learn rollerblading in older age.
Wearing protective gear every time you hit the rink must be a ritual and a mandatory practice. You should also include crash pads in your protective gear. Next, you should focus on maintaining a proper stance by correctly bending the knees and effectively transferring your body weight between skates.
Another most important aspect of skating to learn is how to fall correctly to minimize the impact of falls. Here are some tips to assist your learning journey on wheels.
Understanding the Fundamentals
There are primarily three basic factors that may define if you can skate on wheels or not, irrespective of your age. These are your physical fitness, ability to maintain balance, and your confidence to roll on skates for a mile.
Fitness is something you can work out over time with a regular exercise regimen. With proper strength training and a little aerobics, you can start rolling quickly on skates and will presumably suffer fewer injuries.
Once you include rollerblading into your active lifestyle you will find yourself rolling even longer distances on skates in no time.
Some people find rollerblading frightening and difficult in the beginning. If that is the case with you, remember that learning coordination and mastering lifelong balance requires patience, practice, and persistence.
Only after years of practice can you master the tricks like second nature as with any other physical activity. Proceed with baby steps. Learn one or two lessons at a time until you gain more confidence in your skills.
Learn from the best in business. Professional guidance will help you ease your fear and make effective strides.
For some, even standing on the skates makes their heart pound partly because of the fear of fall and partly because of the age factor. For them, the best way to conquer fear and doubt is to take some private lessons. Several short lessons provided by the pros over a short time span may help in keeping up the learning momentum.
The people who are at a higher risk of possible injury during rollerblading are the ones out of shape, having brittle bones, and extremely afraid of falling. Some extra dedicated hours of practice may help these people build the required confidence and coordination for rollerblading.
For really in depth article where I put all my knowledge and I have spend a week to do ton of research please check this one: Is it easy to rollerblade? An introduction for beginners. This article will answer most of your questions.
Getting Ready to Take a Lesson
Once you know you are in good shape you can start your rollerblading journey with a lesson or two for a safe start and gaining more confidence. Start with the basics. Learn how to correctly put on your gear, how to balance on skates, how to use the brake, how to make turns, and how to stride forward.
Remember, a primary necessity for getting it right is to overcome your fears. When you approach an activity with fear, your body gets tensed and tight. In such a scenario, any movement you make feels scary and turns up uncoordinated. Well, truth to be admitted, overcoming fear can be a hard thing to get over. So, to make it a little less difficult you should seek the right assistance.
Visit the neighborhood rinks and skate parks. Find a professional trainer to get multiple regular quick short lessons until you gain the confidence of moving with the skates on. You can also attend a multi-day skate camp to maintain the momentum of your learning curve. Many organizations sponsor skate camps and annual events to encourage new people to join the club of rollerbladers.
Having a professional instructor guiding your progress helps in multiple ways. First, you get a thorough understanding of the basic skills in accordance with your physical stamina and body fitness. Second, you get valuable tips on how to overcome your shortcomings.
You get to know what exercises to follow for developing strength and endurance. You learn about the dos and don’ts. You get to know about what’s working and what’s not. And more importantly, you can figure out and rectify your mistakes in the stance or stride right at the beginning of your rollerblading journey.
You can practice tricks like braking stance and striding moves in between your lessons. You can practice at home on a thin carpet or in a grassy patch without your skates. Once you gain more confidence, you can foray onto pavements.
Remember, having goosebumps or a degree of tenseness for the initial few minutes is absolutely all right. Stick to your slower but the steadier learning curve and you will gradually achieve the same confidence as your pro peer skaters.
Upgrade Your Fitness Level
If you have decided to roll on the skates, it is time to do a quick health check. If you weigh more than thirty pounds and have not been into a regular strength-training routine for long, you should consider spending a few days maybe months at the gym.
This physical training will help shape your muscles, strengthen ligaments, and tendons, and prepare your body to withstand the impact of falls making it less prone to injuries.
A personal trainer can help you at this stage. It is a good idea to enroll for cardiovascular training or a weight lifting program under the supervision of a personal trainer.
Your training sessions in the gym will make your body lose some weight and prepare for an easy transition to inline skating. Also, once you start rolling on wheels, rollerblading will itself serve as a rejuvenating exercise with much more fun.
Remember, your body shows signs of aging as you grow old. You have brittle bones and more sensitivity to injuries. Therefore, it is a good idea to get a bone-density assessment by a medical practitioner.
It is even more important if you are a post-menopausal woman. Discuss your desire to pursue inline skating for recreation or fitness.
Inline skating is a weight-bearing activity that puts pressure on your bones, muscles, and joints. It can help build your bone density to some degree.
Private lessons from a trained practitioner and a regular fitness regimen will prepare your body physically and mentally to start your skating sessions. However, the risk for injury can still be assumed to be high for people in their old age with brittle bones.
To conclude, age is not a deciding factor of whether you should or should not pursue inline skating. Nowadays, you may find people from the age of 45 to 55 years with a sprinkling of denizens in their 60s.
Some of them are the people who have been pursuing rollerblading since an early stage. However, many are those who have taken up skating as a mode of recreation, exercise, or sheer fun at a later stage in life. I myself follow rollerblading for fun and fitness.
Get the Right Gear
Once you are in good health, all you need to do is to grab your gear, put on the pads, strap on your skates, and get rolling. Check with a doctor before you hit the rink to know if you are physically fit to practice skating and do not have any balancing issues.
I have done a ton of research and and many hours of testing all kind of gear so there you can find my most recommended gear.
Get good-quality safety equipment with a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards. Do not forget the padded shorts and crash pads for extra safety. Make sure you buy a certified helmet only. Invest in a quality pair of skates.
Make sure your skates properly and snugly fit your feet. They should not be too tight or too loose. In either case, you will feel uncomfortable and may wobble during skating.
Before you learn how to roll, practice how to fall gracefully and safely. Whenever you anticipate a fall, try to lower your body, bend your knees, shift weight to a side, and roll on the side so that you land on your buttocks on one side of your back.
This landing will prevent major injuries to your delicate tailbone or spine. Practice the direction and motion of fall without the skates on a carpet or outside on the grass. Always skate on flat ground in the beginning.
Learn to push out towards the sides as you stride forward. Learn to maintain the correct stance with your knees slightly bent and your body weight shifting from one leg to the other.