The world of roller skating
I recently wrote an article that appeared in a health and fitness magazine. I discussed my passion for roller skating as it relates to maintaining good physical health…
When most people think of roller skating, they think of happy, fun childhood memories. I, on the other hand get very giddy and excited when I think or talk about roller skating. Roller skating is a real passion of mine (ask anybody who truly knows me). I was first introduced to the world of roller skating through my Aunt Jeanette at the tender age of 3 years old and I’m still “rolling” strong!
As a youth growing up I always had more interest and love for skating than the majority of my friends. My friends enjoyed the social aspect the roller skating rink captured. But, I was addicted to the roll bounce rhythm I would experience each week on the hardwood skating rink floor.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m well into my adult years, but one thing remains the same after all these years. I’m still an avid roller skater. Every city I’ve lived in (Atlanta, New York City, Oakland and now Charlotte) since leaving my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, where there is a strong skating culture, I’ve located that city’s local skating rink. It didn’t matter about the proximity, its interior, or what musical selections were piping through their sound system. I would make it work and make my own personal adjustments. For example, like having my music playlist and earbuds on deck to help transport me into my own world. Give me a beautiful glossy hardwood floor and the right skating tunes and I’m in roller skating heaven. Just like some people are addicted to going to the gym to workout every day, I feel the same way about roller skating.
Not only is my passion a fun activity, it’s also a great form of exercise. Roller skating, whether indoors or outdoors, involves mostly every muscle in your body and in particular your heart. It provides a high caloric burn and is ranked amongst the best aerobic exercises according to the American Heart Association. The National Institute for Fitness and Sport states that roller skating works most of the major muscle groups: quads, calves, arms, glutes and abdomen. Skating is equivalent to bicycling and jogging as a cardio workout, but it has a 50% less impact on your joints than running, according to a study by the University of Massachusetts. Personally, I find that roller skating benefits my body and mind. Not only does it help to keep me physically fit, it’s mentally uplifting, brightens my mood, reduces my stress levels, gives me a sense of freedom and relaxation and it provides me with a sense of mental clarity.
Someone recently asked me, “Why aren’t people skating like they use to?” I answered that question in two parts. Die-hard roller skaters like me never stopped skating. We fall into a unique sub culture and there are still a large number of roller skating enthusiasts. But, for the rest of society, roller skating is considered to be cyclical. Jim McMahon, Executive Director of Roller Skating Association International, a trade group of rink owners said, “Roller skating has a 10 year cycle. It rises to a peak and slowly goes down and rises again, we’re not on the peak; we’re on the rise.” Just as I mentioned earlier, I’ve never dropped down from the peak and there are other true-blue skaters whom never dropped from the peak as well. Roller skating has always been alive in my heart and it will continue to be. Maybe one day, there will be a permanent rise to the peak…I believe that’s wishful thinking on my part. Simply put, roller skating is not only a fun way to achieve a healthy lifestyle, but it could clearly be considered the best total body workout there is…roll bounce, baby!
This article appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of FitFigures Magazine.