Is Roller Skating Good Exercise? Yes, roller skating is good exercise! In fact, I think it is an EXCELLENT cardiovascular workout that incinerates calories, tones muscles & even works your core when you use proper skating posture. I might be a tad biased but I think it is the MOST fun and exciting way to lose weight, burn fat, stay in peak physical shape & reap some serious health benefits. It really is a great workout!
Not only is roller skating good exercise it works practically every muscle from your lower back and abs right down to your feet. You will tone your core, glutes, hamstrings, quads & calves. Your upper body will even get a little work out as you rotate your core/arms to “pump” (skate). It most closely resembles cross country skiing or skate skiing which is one of the most intense workouts out there.
Roller skating is good exercise for weight loss, and it is MUCH MORE FUN than the FML gym workouts you’re probably used to. If you’re looking for a cardio workout or aerobic exercise that doesn’t feel like your trying so hard to achieve the impossible then roller skating might be the best way. All it takes is an inexpensive pair of skates.
The best part is you can have fun while burning fat & toning muscles. Roller skate with some friends or find some new ones at your local rink, I promise you won’t regret it!
Roller skating also helps you increase coordination, flexibility & balance train which according to Harvard Medical School “has been shown to prevent ankle and knee re-injury and reduce the risk of ligament problems in athletes. It’s also under study for wider use to improve mobility and prevent falls and injury”.
Most importantly, roller skating or inline skating is a totally rad way to get your daily calorie burn and work specific areas of your body. Even the learning phase is awesome because you’re learning something new and building on your skills every time you go out skating.
When you start out roller skating you’ll be focusing on the basics like balance & pumping (without falling off of course). As you progress you’ll start cruising, turning, skating backwards. Then you might work your way up to small tricks, jam skating, roller derby or hitting the local skate parks.
My point being…you build skills and there is a next level and a next level….and another level after that. It’s really exciting to keep building and progressing your skills. Roller skating holds your interest (unlike those FML gym workouts), it’s FUN and exciting!
11 Health & mental health Benefits of Skating
- Low-impact activity that’s easy on the knees and joints.
- Burns as many calories as higher impact sports (like running).
- Tones muscles WHILE incinerating calories- it’s two workouts in one!
- Helps you increase coordination, flexibility & balance train.
- Fun whole body workout that passes the time quickly.
- Inexpensive equipment & low barriers to entry.
- Individual sport that can be practiced almost anytime.
- Can be practiced almost anywhere (See 11 Places to Skate NOW!)
- Social activity with friends or make new ones at the rink!
- Continuous skill building keeps the workouts fun & interesting.
- Fun way to burn away stress & quietly relax the beat of your own music.
Regardless of what you choose to skate on (quads, rollerblades, inline skates, speed skates….it doesn’t matter)- the health, self care and social benefits are immeasurable.
What Parts of the body does Roller skating exercise?
Roller skating engages a large range of muscles including arms, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quads, calves, abs & lower back muscles when the proper skating posture is used. There is strong evidence that roller skating also improves coordination, balance & increased flexibility within ligaments and tendons. Let’s talk about how all these muscles get worked while roller skating…
Proper roller skating posture & pumping motion will activate your core muscles. The core is a pivot point for pumping, turning and balancing. This works your abdominal muscles and lower back.
Does roller skating tone your stomach?
Yes you can, but I think you’d need to roller skate more than just a couple hours a week to really see ab muscle tone with roller skating alone. Don’t get me wrong, you will strengthen your core and work those abs when using proper roller skating posture & form… BUT I just don’t think it’s something that will give you totally ripped abs in short order (if that’s what you’re after).
I roller skate many, many hours every week and I wouldn’t say that I have ripped abs (maybe it’s that layer of fat holding me back but I digress). Roller skating is certainly more of a lower body workout but you will most likely see definition improvement in those core muscle areas. It’s just not Shape Magazine cover worthy ab definition if that makes sense.
All that said, roller skating is good exercise for weight loss | fat burn and can help you lose belly fat and reach total ab domination more quickly!
Glutes | Hamstrings | Calves
As you pump and push your leg muscles will be getting a crazy good workout. So good that it’s equivalent to a leg intensive strength training. Not only are you incinerating calories…you are toning ALL those muscles at the same time. It’s like getting two workouts in one, fun one.
Arms | Shoulders
It might be surprising but if you’re using proper skating form to pump & push you will indeed work those arms and shoulders. The arms and shoulders probably get the least amount of work overall while roller skating but if you’re doing it right they will be engaged much like a runner engages the arms and shoulders to run.
Heart | Cardiovascular
The cardiovascular benefits of roller skating are great for your heart & lungs. As long as you skate at a good speed, your heart rate will rise and continue to stay elevated throughout the entire workout session. Roller skating has been found to elevate your heart rate up anywhere from 12-20 beats higher than normal resting level cardio on average depending on how intensely you are working out.
This means roller skating is an excellent cardio exercise that can help you develop healthier lungs, strengthen your heart & increase blood flow throughout your entire body. What more could you ask for? Roller skating is a good way to get fit!
It’s SUPER important to become proficient with both legs while roller skating and don’t let one leg become dominate over another. Make sure that you are changing directions and learning to turn to the left and to the right. When you skate at a rink you’ll have a tendency to skate in one direction (which makes you right leg dominant).
When you’ve moved past the initial learning phase, as soon as you’re comfortable, switch directions while practicing and work each side of your body equally. This will allow you to roller skate longer because you can switch legs to give your dominant leg a rest.
Can I lose weight roller skating?
Yes, you absolutely can! Roller skating is just like any other workout that burns calories & fat except it’s a workout you won’t mind doing because it’s so rad! If you’re sick of boring, FML gym routines then this may be a great new workout for you to incorporate a few times a week as you improve your fitness levels.
If fat loss through roller skating is super important to you then you’ll have to create a healthy diet plan that involves fewer calories. Roller skating doesn’t give you a blank check to eat whatever you want as long as you’re roller skating.
You’ll need to monitor calories in (what you eat) vs. how many calories you’ll burn (calories out) while roller skating. I highly recommend using our FREE Roller Skate Fitness Journal to help you calculate all the numbers behind weight loss and end each day with a caloric deficit.
So yes! Roller skating is good workout! And it can help you lose weight when combined with a healthy, balanced diet. It will engage & tone your legs | glutes in ways that biking or running can’t reproduce. It’s also a fun, new way to exercise & socialize with friends. Roller skating could be the super fun workout you’ve been waiting for to finally drop those pounds.
According to the Mayo clinic you might have to burn 3500 calories to lose one pound of fat. So how many calories does roller skating burn? Let’s find out…
HOW MANY CALORIES DOES Roller Skating BURN?
Roller skating for 1 hour can burn 400-600 calories on average. The actual number depends on factors like how hard you are skating, your weight & metabolism. Like any workout, you get out of it what you put into it. Get sweaty & get your heart rate up to get the most out of it…a leisurely skate isn’t going to cut it.
To use myself as an example, when I cruise on my skates for an hour (according to my Apple Watch- see screenshot below) my calories burned roller skating is 550 (keep in mind that I’m a petite, 40 year old female so your calorie burn may vary). My heart rate is in the 160 zone so I’m pushing myself pretty hard for a solid workout. When I workout I definitely get a sweat going!
I want to point out that my roller skating workout is a long, 8 mile cruise on a paved trail. I’m not at the roller rink which can be a little easier because there isn’t as much resistance with the wooden floors.
It can be a tad harder to burn calories & keep your heart rate up at a roller rink because you may not be able to go as fast as you want (with all the people to dodge). If it’s your only option then see if your rink has “adult swim” where there is a smaller crowd of more experienced skaters & you’ll be able to zip around as fast as you like. My rink has this two nights a week where only adults can skate and it’s my favorite time to go. It’s a fun way to get your physical activity for the day and meet up with fellow skaters.
No roller rink nearby? No worries! Check out my list of 11 places to skate NOW that aren’t the roller rink!
You can use THIS CALCULATOR to estimate what you might burn while roller skating. In my opinion this calculator is overly conservative. I put in my body weight & 60 minutes and it was super low (310 calories) relative to what I actually burn in an hour (550 calories according to my Apple watch)
As a rule of thumb, the more weight you are pushing the more calories you will burn. That’s actually a lot of calories when you make comparisons with boring, FML, hamster wheel workouts at the gym…all in the name of “getting exercise” and “staying in shape”.
Is roller skating hard to learn?
No, I don’t think so. The basic concepts can be learned in about 20 minutes from an experienced coach (or a good Youtube video). It takes patience and commitment to master roller skating much like any other sport.
Roller skating is mostly about balance. It’s probably the most important skill to master early on (along with keeping your knees bent). If you don’t have a good sense of balance or there is a medically prohibitive reason why you can’t balance well…roller skating may not be you.
If you have previous experience ice skating you can certainly roller skate! But other balance sports like, cross country skiing, skate skiing or downhill skiing will also put you in a great position to try out roller skating. Previous experience in these areas isn’t absolutely necessary but it will help you understand the basic concepts of balance, turning, pushing and pumping which are important to roller skating beginners.
How long should you roller skate for?
When you first start roller skating you are going to be a bit shaky and you’re gonna suck at it but that’s okay…everyone does when they start. Adopting this new style of exercise will most likely leave you with sore glutes, hamstrings, quads & calves. It’s all a part of the process & eventually you’ll develop the necessary muscle memory & balance to take it to the next level.
Once you’ve mastered the basics and have begun to develop your muscle memory & stability, roller skating can be a great way to exercise every week (or multiple times per week).
Even if you have some past roller skating experience you may find that the first time out will still leave you sore. So as you would with any new exercise program start slowly.
For your first time out, shoot for 20-30 minutes. Take 2 days off to rest your legs and then skate again for 20-30 minutes. Take another 2 days off to rest and skate again for 20-30 minutes. From here you should be able to add additional time in 5-10 minute increments every week until you reach the level you want to be at. After a month it will become practically routine.
Who shouldn’t be roller skating?
If you have ankle, knee, back, or shoulder problems or a serious health issue (like a heart condition), talk to your doctor before attempting roller skating.
If you haven’t paid much attention to your fitness level (or ever laced up a pair of roller skates) you may want to speak with a fitness coach, skating coach or expert that can help you start from the ground up with a roller skate centered fitness routine.
If you experience pain or an injury, stop what you’re doing immediately and seek help from a doctor or medical professional. (Also, remember to stretch before & after roller skating!).
To get the most out of your new exercise routine you’ll want to make sure that you are using the correct posture and pushing/pumping motion. There’s a great video below that’ll show you how to achieve the right posture, what to focus on & the beginner basics of roller skating.
Just like any other exercise routine…with roller skating you get out of it what you put into it. If you’re just going through the motions and not pushing yourself to get your heart rate up…then this workout won’t amount to much in terms of calorie burn & muscle toning. Get your heart rate up and really push yourself to get the most of your workout.
Roller skating is absolutely seeing a rebirth in popularity, and many people are taking up the sport (or getting reacquainted) for this reason. It is, however, a fantastic work out that can be enjoyed by almost anyone at any age.
There is something to be said about the low impact, high returns roller skating can provide. It tones your legs & it can reduce belly fat (along with all the other fat stores). Roller skating is a good way to get fit & it’s the most fun you can have while doing it. Roller skating is inexpensive and fun.
I hope after reading our article you’ve concluded that roller skating is good exercise and you’re excited to try this great form of exercise for yourself. If you’re ready to take the next steps, check out our article The Best Roller Skates for Beginners.
Don’t forget to always wear protective gear like a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads & wrist guards when participating in any roller sports. It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen to make sure your body can handle it.