Spectrum Healthcare Partners


By Jen Boggs

I am not the most athletic person in the world. But I do love to move my body, usually to a Pitbull song at Zumba, or while listening to podcasts on the elliptical.

One of my all-time favorite ways to move is roller skating. I’ve been doing it since I was eight years old! As it turns out, roller skating can be an excellent cardio workout, equivalent to bicycling and jogging, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Moderate roller skating can increase your heartbeat to 140-160 beats per minute. Roll faster (like if a Pitbull song comes on), and your heart could top 180 beats per minute.

Roller skating fitness facts

Source: Roller Skating Association

Skating doesn’t just strengthen your heart muscle. The National Institute for Fitness and Sports says that it works most of the major muscle groups — calves, quads, glutes, abdomen, and arms. (Arms! Who knew?)

Roller skating also burns calories. Just one hour of moderate roller skating burns about 300 calories for a 140-pound person. If you skate faster (up to 10 mph), you can burn up to 600 calories in an hour! The best part is you’re having so much fun, you don’t notice all the work your body is doing.

Some would say that roller skating is for the young, but I fiercely disagree. Roller skating forces you to engage your core in order to remain on your skates, which is the kind of lower-back and abdominal muscle strength that helps improve balance.

Skating is low-impact, easier on the joints than running or even walking. Because of the fluid motion of skating – no jolting movements – you’re less likely to endure joint damage while skating.

Jen and her daughter rollerskating

I’ve passed on my love of roller skating to my daughter, and we hit the rink whenever we get the chance. Victoria W. Rogers, MD and Medical Director of Let’s Go! at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, approves:

“Roller skating with your daughter is a home run in my book. Roller skating requires balance and involves movement of your upper and lower body. It’s also a social affair. There is music, friends, and an occasional fall, which can create some laughter— all elements which make for a fun outing.”

My daughter and I had one of our fun outings recently when she turned eight years old and I surprised her with a trip to the roller rink. We had a blast and our favorite part, as always, was the buddy skate.