Roller skating, or rather skating in general, evokes Christmas-time roller rink memories with our friends and family. The weather, the energy, and even the trips and falls – everything was fun!

Regardless, we grew older and hung up our roller skates for good. But Roller skating seems to be making a revival among adults, and it's no longer seen as a hobby exclusively for children.

Inline skating is generally considered more relevant than roller skating in the sports world. This is because inline skates are more mainstream but more challenging to get accustomed to if you’re starting anew.

With the rise of the alternative skating scene, it’s becoming increasingly common to see roller skate enthusiasts on the streets and parks, which skateboarders and inline skaters previously dominated.

An animation of a snow globe with a girl skating inside it
You don’t need to fret about roller skating rules, unlike other sports like lacrosse or ice hockey. Just let loose with a pair of wheels. There are, of course, competitive tournaments where these rules do matter; however, you don’t have to ride competitively! (Source: Pixabay)

This is just another sign that roller skating is making a comeback. And this comeback has been long coming – precisely four decades after the roller disco and synthpop subculture of the 1970s.

Although rollerskating goes back centuries in its rudimentary form, it first took hold of the American consciousness in the 1970s and 1980s, when it became part of pop culture and began to be seen as a trendy activity.

A silhouette of a female skater
Roller skating vs. rollerblading, which one to choose? It’s better to start with roller skates and gain your balance before moving onto inline skating. Rollerblading requires skaters to have better control of their balance (Source: Pixabay)
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Roller Skating In The Past Decades

From the late ’60s to the present time, rollerskating has experienced multiple shifts:

The Late 70’s

This was the time of the Cold War, Nixon, and Reagan when America was recovering from the recession of the early 1970s and settling into a new phase of suburban culture and unbridled capitalism.

It was a time when the rich of the country had dispensable cash and wanted to find ways to spend that money on leisure. As a result, disco sprung on the scene and took the country by storm.

Amidst the glitz of Studio 54, small roller disco joints sprung up as a way for people to shake and groove while rocking a pair of skates. This was the first time adults started taking roller skating seriously.

The 80s

Then followed the 1980s, which brought with it synthpop, hip-hop, and street culture. This was when communal roller disco was dying, and people started roller skating alone.

If you’ve seen video clips of any American city in the 1980s, you’d be sure to spot a few people wheeling by on roller skates. With no electronic devices to occupy their attention, people passed the time with such activities.

For roller skating, the 1980s was the decade of choice, complete with metallic and neon print attires and Culture Club, Boney M, and Eurythmics blasting from the sound system while crowds of young skaters grooved to their beats.

Skating rinks were the ideal place to spend a Friday or Saturday night, and most malls had indoor rinks with snack bars and arcade games to accompany the skating.

The 90’s

Unfortunately, roller skates were relegated to closets and dumpsters in the late 80s. Skateboarding became all the rage in the 1990s, and roller skates were seen as too juvenile.

Even if someone preferred skating, they would go with inline skates since they were seen to be more challenging and cooler.

Simultaneously, skateboarding was also becoming more relevant in southern California. The sport then caught on with the whole country and became mainstream with the skating community.

If you grew up in the 1990s, Tony Hawk and skateboarding were not only dominating the ramps and the half-pipes, they were also making their way to video-game stardom.

Fortunately, after two decades, roller skating seems to be coming back into vogue, and you can spot roller skating rinks filled to the brim once again.

The best part is that there are no particular roller skating rules you need to worry about, unlike other sports.

An animation of Santa Claus skating on ice
Rollerskating is often featured in children’s stories and resonates as a fun activity with most kids. Perhaps the most magical experience one can have on skates is at the Rockefeller Center during Christmas (Source: Pixabay)

Roller Skating Vs. Rollerblading

Roller skating took a nosedive in 1987 when Rollerblade Inc launched their inline skates, which soon became a household item for every teenager.

The market for roller skates suffered greatly, and they soon lost their appeal among the general public. It was just cooler to be rollerblading than skating.

Inline skates take their inspiration from ice skates, stacking all the wheels in a singular file, unlike roller skates.

As a result, they are more challenging to master than rollerskates and not suitable for those with mobility and balance issues.

Rollerblades were designed with an emphasis on speed. Hence, they are less flexible than roller skates and generally unsuitable for refined variants, such as skate dancing or figure skating.

These skates require an additional wheel setup since the wheels extend beyond the toe and heel of the boot, restricting the agility and movement of the skaters.

They’re also more cumbersome to wear than roller skates or other forms of skating shoes.

However, there is no clear winner for this question. Both skates have their advantages and disadvantages.

While roller skates are more suited for leisurely skating, speed-skating naturally requires inline skates due to their efficiency.

Roller skating isn’t hard to break into. You don’t need to memorize tons of rules or train with an organization before taking up this hobby.

All you need is a pair of skates and some protective gear, and you’re good to try your hand at it. However, it would help if you were mindful of the people around you when skating at indoor roller skating establishments.

Furthermore, when skating, safety should be your top priority. Therefore, make sure you follow the instructions set forth by the roller skating rink or park.

Also, wear your protective gear, regardless of whether you’re in an indoor or outdoor roller skating rink. And remember to have fun!

Benefits Of Roller Skating

Is rollerskating a good exercise? Certainly so! Skating is always a productive hobby with numerous mental and physical benefits, whether you do it for fun, exercise, or keep yourself busy.

Builds Muscle

It works your muscles and offers a cardio workout. Also, it helps coordinate your motor reflexes and improves your balance.

Skating mainly works your lower body muscles, such as the quads and glutes. In addition, the movements work your body core as you try to maintain your balance.

If you want to tone your body but hate going to the gym, you should consider taking up roller skating. It’s a great way to work your muscles in a fun and engaging manner.

Speeds up Weightloss

Motivating yourself to go to the gym can be tricky, but that’s certainly not the case with roller skating.

If you’re hoping to lose weight, roller skating will surely come in handy. You can expect to burn around 500 calories in just one hour of skating.

And unlike the gym, you won’t even realize how fast the time passes at the rink! Rollerblading and roller skating are excellent cardio exercises, improving your blood circulation and strengthening your heart and endurance levels.

Helps The Mind

Roller skating isn’t just good for the body but the mind too. Rolling down a quiet street with the wind in your hair will automatically make you feel a lot better; many liken the feeling to flying.

If you’re stressed, let loose and release your pent-up stress and emotions while feeling a sense of freedom. You’ll feel untethered and free from your daily struggles for that brief time you skate.

Develops Character

Roller skating also helps you develop self-confidence and pushes you out of your comfort zone. So if you’re scared of falling and making a fool out of yourself, skating will help you get over those hangups.

Rollerskating can also be a great way to make friends and socialize. Even though technically it’s an individual sport, most people skate in groups, and roller skating rinks are an excellent place to hang out with your friends.

Also, age and skill are no barrier, as everyone can try this sport, from children to adults, and athletes to novices. Like cycling, it’s something that everyone can adapt to.

Even if you stumble in the beginning, you’ll get the hang of it eventually. It’s the perfect way to spend an evening with a bunch of friends.

Learning How To Roller Skate For Beginners

If you’re entirely new to the sport, you might be more concerned with learning how to roller skate. Thankfully, there are tons of ways for beginners to learn this activity.

If you’re a solitary learner, you can start by browsing the internet for tutorials. For example, you can find many self-help rollerskating videos on Youtube and practice on your own.

This can be reasonable for shy people who are afraid of making a fool of themselves, stumbling on their wheels.

However, the better option is to train with people to learn from them. The pressure might be intense with peers around you, but young learners can benefit from skating in groups.

The best option for those who want to learn rollerskating is to enroll in a class to learn this activity safely under supervision.

In addition, training with a teacher can help students recognize weaknesses with their skating techniques.

No need to browse newspaper ads or web directories for roller skating near me! All you need to do to enroll in a skating class near you is sign up with Superprof.

Then, find tons of qualified roller skating coaches near you and start training at your convenience.

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