Why is roller skating better than running?

Professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts have been practicing roller skating as a quick, muscle-building, and calorie-burning workout. Research reveals that roller skating targets on most of the important muscle groups, including the quads, abs, calves, glutes, and arms. Further, a roller-skating session of an hour a week can help you burn over 600 calories. Indeed, roller skating builds muscle strength and increases endurance. What else makes the sport better than other fitness practices?

Why is roller skating better than running or walking? Studies reveal that the sport provides a complete aerobic workout involving most of the muscles, including the heart. Also, skating puts 50% less stress on your knees and joints in comparison to running. Again, the sport is two times safer than gymnastics, three times safer than football, four times more safe than basketball, and five times safer than cycling or running.

A research conducted by the Universitat Konstantx concludes that roller skating at a moderate speed can increase the heart rate of the skater to 140-160 beats every minute. This activity improves blood circulation and strengthens the muscles of the heart.

Roller skating can be compared to jogging or running in terms of health benefits such as fat reduction, calorie consumption, and development of muscular strength. However, the benefits even surpass the usual running or speed walking. The sport has been recommended and recognized by the American Heart Association as an effective aerobic fitness sport.

Skating Burns More Calories

A simple aerobic exercise like running or brisk walking may increase your oxygen consumption, reduce stress, and relax your mind. A 30-minutes’ walk at a speed of 8 mph can burn about 135 calories for an average woman weighing 132-pounds.

Speed skating or skating uphill can increase the average calories burned per hour by the same person. According to a study by the University of California, vigorous roller-skating for an hour burns over 600 calories. Also, the skating workout increases your respiration rate and boosts your pulse, which eventually improves the functioning of your lungs and heart.

Skating Serves as an Aerobic Workout to Strengthen Muscles

Roller skating provides similar aerobic benefits as running. While skating slowly and steadily for a long distance helps in building endurance, skating uphill at a fast pace burns more calories and increases muscular strength.

The sideways movements required in roller skating serve as an effective muscle-building workout. This natural movement involves the majority of muscle groups in the lower body, including glute and the inner thigh. Further, alternating between backward and forward skating can strengthen your calf muscles, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

You can also strengthen your core and arm muscles by swinging your arms back and forth during the skating motion. You can provide a complete workout to your muscles, tendons, surrounding joints, and ligaments with a regular skating session of about 20 to 30 minutes each day.

The propelling motion with your skates in your feet exerts pressure on your legs, ankles, and hips. Further, the bent-knee and lean-forward position create additional stress on the lower back and hamstrings. The balancing motion, along with the forward movement while skating, helps in stabilizing your core muscles. Swinging your arms during skating not only adds momentum but also builds your upper body.

Skating Strengthens the Joints

A study by the University of Massachusetts suggests that in-line skating shows 50% less impact shock to joints in comparison to other aerobic exercises like running, swimming, or bicycling. The sport eliminates the foot strike on each stride, exerting less pressure on your joints. A person with a hip or knee injury can use roller-skating as a low-impact, muscle-building, cardio exercise routine. You can further reduce the effect on your joints by skating over smooth surfaces and avoiding sudden hops and quick turns.

Skating Improves Agility, Coordination, and Balance

Roller skating is an extreme sport that involves steady co-ordination of your lower back, abdominal, and core muscles. It not only improves physical balance and muscular coordination but also enhances agility and strength. Further, skating enhances muscle endurance. An uphill skating session trains your muscles and cardiovascular system to utilize the stored energy in the body more efficiently. This endurance supports an intense workout without exhaustion.

Fitness Factor and Skating

As per the American College of Sports Medicine, you should consider various factors like skill, convenience, and social climate before planning any long-term fitness regimen. While you can effectively incorporate roller-skating into your exercise routine; you should focus on factors like difficulty level, balancing and control, peer preferences, and physical fitness. Identify the form of exercise that suits your personality. Plan a fitness regimen based on such physical activities. Here are some pro-tips to constructively include roller skating into your exercise regimen:

  • Practice the right form – You should center your body weight towards the back of your heels while skating. Then slightly push your legs towards the side for a forward tread. Slightly swinging your arms backward and forward also helps in maintaining balance. Keep your front arm before your body and your back arm behind so that your arms cross each other when you skate forward. The lower you maintain a squat position while skating, the more you engage your core and leg muscles.
  • Elevate the fitness factor – You should skate low and skate fast to improve your fitness benefits of roller skating. Bending your knees will create more tension in your legs while skating. You can alternate between fast and slow pace skating sessions to maintain the pace. Challenge your muscle strength by including uphill routes into your skating tracks.
  • Use protective gear – No matter if you are a novice or a professional skater, remember to wear your workout gear such as a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards; before you hit the rink. This small precaution will save you from sudden injury during fall.

Related Questions

How can roller skating help in building muscle endurance? Roller skating involves a workout of your upper leg muscles, hips, buttocks, and lower back muscles. This muscular movement helps in building strength and improving endurance. Further, roller skating helps in building leg muscles, improving balance, and maintaining control in an upright position. In addition, you burn more calories and reduce more fat.

How can roller skating help in maintaining body weight? Roller skating serves as a vigorous cardiovascular exercise. According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, a person weighing 160-pound can burn over 913 calories during a one-hour session of roller skating. The same person burns about 584 calories by jogging at a speed of 5 mph or walking at a rate of 3.5 mph for the same duration. In other words, skating can help you get rid of the fat bums and reduce weight fast.

How does roller skating help in improving balance? Even a simple activity like walking requires your body to maintain balance. Roller skating involves various tricks and muscle movements that can improve your balance and control. The sport requires you to move your abdominal and lower-back muscles backward and forward, which improves their coordination. An improved balance ameliorates your walking posture and reduces your normal energy consumption on regular activities. These health benefits eventually reduce fatigue.

How does roller skating improve heart health? Several studies suggest that heart disease can be a primary cause for premature death due to strokes, heart attack, or cardiovascular impairment. According to a report by the National Heart Foundation, over 787,000 people die from heart disease worldwide every year. Roller skating can improve heart health by strengthening the cardiac muscles. As per the American Heart Association, skating serves as an effective aerobic exercise that eventually increases the heart rate.

Further, skating can help to combat other common diseases like diabetes, which are caused by unhealthy diet routine, excess weight, or lack of physical exercise. Roller skating targets the muscles, which helps in controlling the insulin levels within your body. In addition, skating strengthens bones and heart, improves good cholesterol levels and relieves stress by reducing blood glucose levels. A moderate skating session for 30-minutes 4-5 times a week can help control diabetes by keeping you mentally strong and physically active.

How does skating improve the feel-good factor? In addition to the various benefits of physical health, skating also improves the feel-good factor by improving your mental health. A moderate skating session can reduce stress, clear your mind, minimize sudden mood swings, and combat depression.

Roller skating engages the muscles of your core, arms, and legs, reduces bad hormones, and releases endorphins or happy hormones in your bloodstream. This activity relieves any stress or pain and keeps you in a good mood. Eventually, you naturally feel happy with a better mood and improved concentration.

Even doctors recommend skating as an effective sport to reduce stress, pacify your mind, and put you in a better mood.


Hi there, my name is Tom and I have been roller & inline skating since I was a little kid. Learning the sport at such an early age allowed to me gain a lot of experience and try different types of skates. It took me a lot of trial and error to learn some of the roller skating tricks so I decided to share my journey with you guys!

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