Inline skating, a cross between roller-skating and ice skating, came about as a result of a Russian athlete needing to train for the Olympic speed ice skating events without an ice track.
Just as in ice skating, you cannot just strap on a pair of inline skates and be a master on the first day. Make sure that you have a good pair of inline skates that fit well, it’s vital that you feel comfortable, especially in the learning stage.
Make your first attempts at inline skating on a reasonably soft surface, a well-grassed lawn or indoors on a thick carpet is ideal, so that when you suffer that inevitable first fall, you land on something soft. Starting off directly on a hard, smooth surface will certainly have you looking like Bambi on ice, with painful consequences.
Speaking of painful consequences, your equipment must include protective gear. A full set of protective gear must include a good quality helmet and wrist guards, the most common injury among first-time skaters is a broken wrist. You’ll probably fall down onto your knees or elbows a few times, too, so a set of knee and elbow pads, while they may not look too cool, will save you from painful scrapes and bruises.
But if you look beyond the painful experiences, inline skating offers many benefits.
Apart from the obvious benefit of being great fun, inline skating has many physical benefits. Studies have shown that you can gain as much cardiovascular benefit from inline skating as from cycling or running. You just need to look at a regular inline skater to see the obvious muscle strengthening and toning benefits, particularly in your legs and back.
As you tend to glide on your skates, the impact stress on your knees and ankles is much less than with running, and alternating between which foot is on the ground, you will improve your sense of balance, co-ordination and agility.
As you improve your inline skating ability, you will derive more and more satisfaction from mastering the sport and your self-confidence levels will improve. Above all, you’ll be having fun, which has to be a mental benefit!
Practice getting the basic technique right before you move on to the fancy stuff, remember the nose-knees-toes rule and try to keep these three in a vertical line. Adopt a low stance with ankles bent, knees forward and your hips low. When pushing, always try to push outwards from your body, rather than backwards, as this will give you more power.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can try some of those stunts like skating backwards, jumps or even a few barrel rolls, just don’t forget that protective gear, you’ll surely need it!