Fitness benefits of Inline Skating | Rollerblading

Inline skating as a form of exercise is as beneficial as running or cycling, according to Dr. Carl Foster, associate professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and coordinator of sports medicine and sports science for the United States Speed Skating Team (also more than 300 scientific papers or chapters and 20 books). A fitness study completed for Rollerblade inc. in 1991 measured how inline skating (also known as rollerblading) compares as a form of exercise to running or cycling, in terms of caloric expenditure, as well as aerobic and anaerobic benefits. Oxygen uptake, heart rate, and blood rate were measured in eleven volunteers, all competent inline skaters, during four different workouts: running, cycling, 30 minutes of steady inline skating and an incremental inline skating workout, in which the participants skated one mile four times progressively increasing velocities, paced by a bicycle. Results of the study are as follows:

During a 30 minute period: On the average, inline skating at a steady comfortable rate exceeds 285 calories and produces a heart rate of 148 beats per minute

Caloric expenditure

  • Interval skating, (Alternating one minute of hard skating in a tuck position with one minute of easy skating in an upright position) exceeds 450 calories in 30 minutes.
  • Running and cycling expend 350 and 360 calories respectively, at a heart rate of 148 beats per minute
  • In general, the faster/harder one skates, the faster one burns calories.

Aerobic benefits

Inline skating was found to be a better aerobic workout than cycling, but not as good as running (aerobically speaking). This is because it is easier to coast while cycling than while skating, and impossible to coast while running.

Aerobic tests measure how the heart and lungs work together.

  • Inline skaters can increase their aerobic workout by skating harder or skating uphill. (NOTE: Skaters should master speed control (see lessons area) for skating downhill prior to engaging in an uphill workout.)

Anaerobic benefits

Anaerobic benefits determine how well a workout strengthens and develops muscles. In general, a person who is working out wants to burn fat, not muscle. Studies show that women who use diet only to reduce weight may lose 40 percent of their weight from muscle tissue.

  • Anaerobically, inline skating was found to be more beneficial than both running and cycling, because it is intrinsically easier and more natural for building hip and thigh muscles that are not developed in the other two forms of exercise. Unlike, cycling, inline skating develops hamstring muscles. And unlike running, inline skating is a low impact activity.
  • A separate study conducted at the Human Performance Laboratory at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota found that inline skating develops muscles in the entire upper leg, rear end and hip, as well as lower back. Muscles in the upper arms and shoulders are also developed when arms are swung vigorously while skating.

(Source: Rollerblade)

Rebounding from injury

“I started inline skating after four knee surgeries made it hard for me to run. It wasn’t long before I found a way to combine my lifelong favorite sport with my new skating obsession, which got me back to the court long after I’d thought my fun was done.”

Tom LaGarde, former NBA star and founder of NIBBL, the National Inline Basketball league.

Inline skating, when compared to running, causes less than 50 percent of the impact shock to the joints, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, thus demonstrating that inline skating is less harmful to the joints than higher impact sport of running.


Applications such as Strava are allowing inline skaters to connect and track their workouts.

See also -> lessons*)