Skating isn't just fun, it's an intense whole-body workout, too.

Skate into Fall: From Rink to Rollerblades, Get Strong with Skating

Whether your idea of skating is rollerblading along a beachfront promenade or joining a roller derby team, chances are you’ve experienced the fun to be had on skates. But did you know that while you’re gliding along on those greased wheels, you’re also getting a rigorous workout?

According to a Harvard Health comparison of the calories burned in various fitness activities, inline skating – or rollerblading – burns approximately the same number of calories as running. And the Mayo Clinic reports that in one hour of rollerblading, a 160-pound person burns 917 calories; compare that to 584 calories for jogging and 277 calories for walking.

Skating Provides a Lower Body Workout

When you skate, you build up strength in all the muscles of the upper legs, hips, buttocks, and lower back. And you’re using those muscles in different ways. Pushing your legs out to the side rather than back, for example, strengthens the outside of your glutes. In fact, to improve your skating and the health benefits of your workout, it’s all about getting low. Bend your knees and drop your upper body lower and you’ll increase the burn – and find yourself whizzing ahead.

Skating Is a Core-Builder

It takes balance to stay upright on skates, as we all learn the minute we take our first fall. And to gain that control, you have to use your core. In fact, when you skate you engage several major muscle fibers, building strength and endurance. Over time, the arm and leg movements unique to skating will increase your range of motion, too.

Skating Is Safe – If You Follow the Rules

There’s no question that skating is an injury-prone sport. But like biking, it becomes much safer when you follow the rules and wear all recommended safety equipment. These include kneepads, elbow pads, and wrist guards, and beginners might want to wear pants or leggings to prevent scrapes. And always wear a helmet when skating outdoors. For more information, see these inline skating safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.