Rollerblading — This Week's Grobby

3

Roll with the homies and pick up some cool moves while getting a great workout. Rollerblading, this week's Grobby (that's Greatist lingo for hobby) is an awesome way to burn calories, increase cardiovascular endurance, and even build muscle in the arms and legs. Plus, busting out a sweet jump is a sure way to wow friends.

Roll Out — The Need-to-Know

Along with Brussels sprouts and waffles, rollerblading's roots are in Belgium, where an 18th-century inventor created the first pair to impress other guests at a party. By the 20th century, guys and gals in the United States were showing off fancy moves at public skating rinks. The term “rollerblade” is actually the name of a brand that, in the 1980s, transformed the shoe-with-wheels into the inline skate we wear today.

Other companies started producing similar-style skates in the 1990s, when rollerblading's popularity peaked. But unlike scrunchies and Sega Genesis, this sport has some lasting health benefits, dude. Depending on speed, intensity, and terrain, rollerblading can increase heart rate to up to 148 beats per minute and burns anywhere from 400 to 900 calories per hour. Some research suggests kids who rollerblade at least four times a week may be less likely to be overweight as young adults. And who wears short shorts? Rollerbladers do, since the sport helps strengthen leg muscles including the quadriceps, hamstrings, groin, hip, and buttocks. While sports like running have similar health benefits, rollerblading is a relatively low-impact workout, so knees and other joints take less of a beating.

Nice Wheels — Your Action Plan

Few would want to be the guy or girl who rolls straight into a face plant— or the person who ends up in the hospital afterward. Common rollerblading injuries include fractures in the forearm and wrist from falls [1]. The easiest way to help prevent these injuries is to wear the full protective getup, which includes wrist, elbow, and knee pads, along with a helmet [2]. It's also important to make sure skates and protective gear fit properly before venturing out.

Advanced athletes might fly like the wind in skate clubs and racing teams, but anyone can give this sport a whirl. Certified rollerblading instructors are available to give lessons all over North America. Learning to rollerblade means mastering a few basic moves— standing, the heel stop, turning, and striding and gliding. But becoming a better ’blader also means shelling out some dough: a decent pair of rollerblades costs about $100, and the full set of protective gear costs anywhere between $50 and $100. Buyers can choose from indoor skates, with hard wheels, or outdoor skates, with wider and softer wheels. (Outdoor skates also work indoors, but not the other way around.) Strap on some skates soon, and stride into better health!

Help Us Win A Webby Award!

About the Author
Shana Lebowitz
I'm the senior writer at Greatist, and I mainly cover new trends in psychology and mental health. When I'm not hanging out at Greatist HQ,...

Works Cited

  1. Inline skating injuries: medical and sociological aspects. Kelm, J. Bambach, S., Seil, R. Anagnostakos, K., Pitsch, W. Klinik für Orthopädie und Orthopädische Chirurgie, Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg/Saar. Sportverletz Sportschaden 2007: 21(3): 137-141.
  2. Injuries caused by small wheel devices. Brudvik, C. Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Bergen, Bergen Accident and Emergency Department, Bergen, Norway. Prevention Science 2006; 7(3): 313-320.

Latest Greatist