Roller Skating – why the grown-ups should get their skates on too

By Pippa Thompson

If you have always considered roller-skating to be an activity reserved for children, it might be time to take a second look. Across the UK, it’s the grown ups who are having all the fun, as people realise the health benefits of donning their skates; “Exercise doesn’t have to be boring any more!” they cheer as they lace up and head out.

Roller skating for fitness makes a lot of sense: it can provide a cardiovascular workout that strengthens the legs and tones the thighs and stomach but is low impact, so is less risky for the joints than similar activities such as jogging. With popularity growing, there is an increasing number of indoor venues available, some offering family and adults only skating sessions. For those who prefer the wind in their hair, the local park provides an outdoor, cost-free option.

Anyone new to skating might be daunted by the choice of skates now on offer, but there are some simple tips for making the right choice:

For a beginner, quad skates make a more sensible choice than in-lines, which require a lot more balance and lower leg strength than the traditional design. On quads the progression from walking, to rolling, to skating is an easier one and you won’t have the same risk of putting serious strain on your ankles as you build up your strength and skill.

Other essential kit will include a helmet, wrist guards and knee/elbow pads. As with any hobby, you can increase your gear as you improve. Committed outdoor skaters will want to replace wheels with a more high profile, slightly softer version, to deal with the impact of uneven road surfaces, for example.

For the true enthusiast, the most fun in adult skating can be had by joining a roller-derby league. With 110 leagues across the UK, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one within reach if you fancy it. This fast paced indoor sport is not for the faint hearted but is a sure-fire way to raise your heart rate and improve stamina and fitness. Just be sure to add padded shorts and a mouth guard to your shopping list!

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