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Skating: wheely good exercise!

Skating is a fun outdoor exercise that helps tone and strengthen muscles

24 AUGUST 2011

The summer's beginning to wind down, but there should still be time to get in some outdoor exercise, and skating – with either in-line or quad skates – is both healthy and good fun, as well as being an activity you can do with friends or family. We all know that we're more likely to stick to an exercise routine that's fun and has a social element, so it sounds like we're onto a winner. Let's take a closer look:




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Advantages
Unless you have specific skating aims, it doesn't really matter whether you go for in-line skates or quads: simply choose the skates you feel most comfortable with. Then it's just a question of balance, and practice. Calories burned will depend on exercise intensity as well as on your own weight and the surface and incline of your route. Not only will you be burning calories, though, you'll be toning and strengthening muscles and keeping fit, helping prevent osteoporosis and obesity, and lowering stress levels as you relax.

Where you'll feel it
Skating focuses mainly on the lower body: legs – ankles, calves and thighs – and buttocks, although you use your arms, too, to provide impetus. It's important to do abdominal exercises as well, to compensate any strain on the lower-back region due to skating posture.

Warm up stretch
As with any exercise, it's important to warm up first and do some preliminary stretching exercises to prepare the joints and tendons. While skating, keep your trunk steady and knees slightly bent.



Safety first
A practised skater can reach dizzying speeds, and any fall or collision entails a risk of injury, so make sure you have a full set of safety equipment: helmet, elbow, wrist and knee pads. Don't forget to check that everything – safety equipment and the skates themselves – is in perfect condition before you start. And if you listen to music while you skate, don't let it block out all other sounds, as you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times.

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