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Today's Family Magazine

Roller skating combines fitness and fun

Jan 17, 2017 12:27PM ● By Today's Family
By Stacy Turner

According to the National Museum of Roller Skating, the first four-wheel or quad skates were invented by James Leonard Plimpton in 1863.  The four-wheeled skate he patented was capable of turning, and this revolutionized the activity.  Soon after, the first public roller rink was opened in Newport, Rhode Island.

Roller skating was most popular in the US in the mid-1930s though the early '60s, then saw a resurgence on interest again in the 1970s, when "disco" oriented roller rinks gained popularity, as stated in Wikipedia.  In the 90s, inline skates hit the market, giving today’s skaters the chance to choose their favorite way to roll.

Warren Hatchett, an owner at the Pla-Mor skating rink in Euclid shared that he sees more quad skates used at his rink.  “They’re easier on your ankles and easier to balance,” he explained.  “Also, people are more used to them,” he added.  Like most skating rinks, Pla-Mor offers classes to teach new skaters.  Typically, more new skaters are adults, and not children, so if you’ve put off learning to skate, you’ll be in good company.

“While the majority of skaters are kids,” Hatchett acknowledged, “we’re starting to see more families skating together.  With parents and kids often running in so many different directions, it’s wonderful to see families spending time together at the rink.”

Although roller skating is an excellent exercise, Hatchett shared that the main reason skaters come to his rink is because they enjoy skating and “got hooked” on it.  He shared that often, adults will initially come to the rink bringing children for a birthday party.  They end up feeling nostalgic and return for an adult-only skate; many go on to make it a regular activity.  They may initially come for the social aspect, but improved fitness as an added bonus.

For those looking for ways to be more active in 2017, roller skating is equivalent to jogging in terms of caloric consumption, reduction of body fat, and leg strength development.  Unlike running, however, skating has 50% less impact shock to joints, according to a study conducted at the University Of Massachusetts.  The calorie-burning benefits of roller skating can add up quickly; Health Fitness Revolution states that skaters burn between 300 and 600 calories during an hour of roller skating.

Allyson Kindlesparker at Chagrin Valley Roller Rink sees all ages coming in to skate.  Many skaters at her rink prefer in-line skates, as they make it easier to balance and push, and are generally easier to control. Her rink offers a variety of lessons, from introductory to artistic dance skating to speed skating classes.  They also offer classes through local community recreation departments.  “Learning to skate well takes practice, and people have so many other things vying for their attention,” Kindlesparker shared.  “Many who’ve taken lessons return to skate or host birthday parties here at the rink.”

While summer is typically slow, the main indoor skating season stretches from September through May, as skaters look for activities that aren’t weather-dependent.  “Lots of people, particularly families, came in over Christmas and New Years,” Kindlesparker explained.  “In fact, MLK Day, Presidents Day, and New Years Eve, when the rink offers special all-day skating events, are our biggest events of the year.”

Both the American Heart Association and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommend roller skating as a great fitness activity for people of all ages.  If you’re looking for a fantastic aerobic exercise for the whole family that can relieve tension, improve balance and flexibility, look no further than your local roller rink.

In addition to being a fun way to sneak in some activity, a roller rink is a great place to hold birthday parties, or fundraiser for your school or youth group.  “Come out and give it a try -- it takes some skill, but it’s fun and rewarding to skate with your family,” beamed Kindlesparker from CVRR.  “It builds coordination and burns calories, too!”

Check out these local roller skating rinks! 
Tell them you learned about them in Today's Family!

Pla-Mor Roller Rink
22466 Shore Center Drive, Euclid
(216) 731-5000

United Skates of America
30325 Palisades Parkway, Wickliffe
(440) 944-5301

Chagrin Valley Roller Rink
7151 South Main Street, Chagrin Falls
(440) 247-4224

City Skate Center
63 West Walnut Avenue, Painesville
(440) 352-2002

Mentor Skateland
5615 Andrews Road, Mentor
(440) 257-3631

Zelma Watson-George Roller Skating
3155 Martin Luther King Drive, Cleveland
(216) 420-8821