By: Candice Heiden
If you’re like me, investing in a gym membership is a big waste of your already tight budget. Chances are I’m getting to the gym about once a week and struggling through no more than 40 minutes of a workout, that I’m making up as I go, based on what I feel like doing. It seems like I can only burn about 200 calories on those darn cardio machines before I’m so bored that I find myself counting the seconds until I leave. Needless to say, they’re not very productive workouts.
Now I’ve managed to keep myself in pretty good shape all my life, it hasn’t been easy, but I have honestly tried it all and learned that I lose and maintain weight most consistently when I’m doing a stimulating activity that takes my mind off the fact that I’m working out. I know I’m not alone in that characteristic and I wanted to share a great fitness gem that allows you to have fun and lose track of time while you burn calories and fat.
Chew on this: On the average, skating at a steady, comfortable rate for an hour expends 570 calories and produces a heart rate of 148 beats per minute! Not bad considering you’d be skating around to music in a fun-filled atmosphere, sure beats running on a treadmill. Not only is it burning unwanted calories but roller skating improves your cardiovascular fitness too. The American Heart Association classifies skating as a vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recognizes skating as one of the best overall aerobic exercises involving all muscles, including the heart. Skating also improves stamina, especially competitive skating. Figure skating combines aerobic activity from the continual skating and footwork sequences with anaerobic activity which comes from performing moves like jumps, which require a burst of energy. Speed and roller derby skaters also use bursts of speed along with continuous skating. Getting involved in a competitive skating team is a great option for kids, teens and adults to add regular fitness into their lifestyle, contact the nearest rink for more information on competitive skating or roller derby teams.
Swap your grueling hour jog for an hour of roller skating and optimize your health benefits. Medical studies show that roller skating is equivalent to jogging in terms of health benefits, caloric consumption, reduction of body fat, and leg strength development, but here’s the best part…according to a study at the University of Massachusetts, skating causes less than 50 percent of the impact shock to joints compared to running or jogging. Skating can actually help stabilize certain joints such as knees by strengthening the muscles that support it, so this offers a great option to those who may have difficulty with conventional cardio exercises and the impact it has on the joints.
Not only can you get your cardio workout, but adding roller skating into your fitness routine can also start sculpting your body by toning and strengthening. Skating develops the muscles in the lower body, particularly the quads (front of thighs), glutes (rear end) adductors and abductors of thigh(inner and outer thigh/hip) and also the lower leg muscles (calves and shins). Looks like you can knock that lower body workout off your list. Oh and don’t forget about the ab workout too, because skating is an upright activity it works your postural muscles (abs and back extensors) by stabilizing your body during the workout. The ab workout can be intensified if you perform maneuvers while you skate. Also, because it is a weight-bearing activity, skating contributes to bone density. Consistent skate training has been found to tone and build more stable leg, pelvis and hip muscles, maybe that’s why its been used by pro athletes to rehabilitate injuries.
Did You Know: The March 2, 2004 edition of the Indianapolis Star quotes 2004 NBA Slam Dunk champion Fred Jones connecting roller skating with his incredible vertical leap. According to the Star, Jones developed the strong leg muscles and learned some of the acrobatics that helped him win the NBA slam dunk title from his days on skates while growing up in Arkansas and Oregon.
“When I was younger, my parents used to take me to the skating rink at least twice a week. All the time I spent on skates strengthened my legs and helped develop my leaping ability.” Jones said.
Another great advantage of roller skating exercise is that you can do it anywhere, almost anytime. For those who prefer to get their burn on outdoors, skating is a great way to maximize even the most routine exercise. Why walk the dog when you could skate them down the street? You may have heard of internationally successful dog psychologist, Cesar Milan or you’ve seen his TV show “The Dog Whisperer”.
Basically he helps people with problem pets (usually owner issues), and one of his best tools for dog behavior modification is skating with the dog. Cesar is often seen skating with a pack of dogs on his show, this provides a fun exercise for the dogs and the owner. The dog will be getting a better workout, since they would be walking or running at a faster pace and don’t forget you would be getting all of the fitness and health benefits of skating.
By now you should have little to no reason not to at least give this fitness routine a good solid try, but just in case you’re still not sure, lets talk about costs and how much more value you’d be getting out of this exercise activity versus the good ol’ gym membership. According to CNBC.com “the average gym membership costs between $40 and $50 a month, but when you add the initiation fee, you’re looking at as much as $800/year.” It’s also been posted in the New York Times that people who buy annual gym memberships often overestimate how much they’ll actually use the facilities by 70% (that sounds like me). And I won’t even touch the costs of hiring a personal trainer to insure that you are actually getting a good workout and some value from your gym membership.
Instead, consider this, for around $200 you can buy a new intermediate level pair of roller skates and in-line skate prices are comparable, this investment will last as long as those skates fit your feet, and even if you’re buying for a child, most if not all skating rinks have a trade in program where you can upgrade or trade in your used equipment. Also, rinks are a great place to find used skates if you want to cut costs a bit, or check classified ads, eBay, etc. You don’t even have to buy your own skates if you can’t afford the investment right away, you can always rent at the skating rink until you feel comfortable enough to get out onto the streets or to have more control over your skating progress. To be fair, the costs won’t end at a pair of skates. If you want to frequent a skating rink there are admission prices that vary based on the day and time you go, but most rinks have monthly skate programs and great deals on packages that allow unlimited skating sessions and usually contain a few other perks. Don’t forget, there’s no admission fee if you want to skate outdoors in your neighborhood or at the beach, one of the beautiful things about skating, its versatility.
Now that you’ve read about the many health and fitness benefits that skating has to offer and a cost comparison, ask yourself, if my family or I could enjoy all the health benefits skating provides and can actually have fun while working out, why not try this? Contact us for information on how to get started, or visit the rink directory to find a rink in your area.
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