Why roller skate?
Roller skating is a popular recreational activity, but the benefits go far beyond a few enjoyable hours at the rink. Here are some of the reasons why roller skating provides tremendous benefits to all ages:
Physical activity such as skating improves brain development. That's right! Studies have shown that physical activity creates and strengthens the neural synapses in the brain - the "bridges" that connect brain cells and are key to learning. With cutbacks (or complete elimination) of physical education and recess times in schools, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle after school, children are not getting the important physical activity they need. So it's important that children have a chance to be physically active outside of school. Want them to perform better on their math test? Take them skating!
Skating develops balance and coordination. When children first learn to walk, their steps are uncertain and unsteady. Eventually they learn to balance and walk with ease. Learning to roller skate adds a new level of complexity to gross motor skills that requires additional balance and coordination. These skills can be transferred to other sports and activities as well.
Roller skating helps fight childhood obesity. Our "electronic age" generation spends much of their time sitting - which means the calories they consume don't get burned off. In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescents. Much of this can be attributed to decreased physical activity. While regular exercise like skating can't completely offset excessive calorie intakes and poor nutrition, it is an excellent component to a healthy lifestyle.
Roller skating is an excellent cardio activity. The best exercise is one you'll enjoy and do frequently over the long term. For an average adult, you'll burn off approximately 450 calories per hour skating, while giving your heart a good aerobic workout. What a fun way to be healthy!
Learning to skate can improve brain function. Actually, any activity that challenges your brain to learn something new improves brain function and memory. But adding a physical component challenges it even more.
Roller skating lifts your mood. Ask any of our competitive skaters about times when they just didn't feel like going to practice that day, but did anyway. They'll tell you that by the end of practice, they were feeling happier and more alert. That's because physical activity like roller skating causes your body to release endorphins - a natural mood-lifter. If you've had a hard day at work, a great way to ease the stress is to go skating!
Roller skating is an inexpensive, year-around activity. Far cheaper than most gym memberships, movie or theme park tickets, and entertaining for the entire family, where else can you go that will entertain all ages for so little money? And get a physical benefit in addition? No matter the weather, you can always roller skate.
Benefits to competitive roller skating
In addition to all the benefits listed above, consider these added outcomes from competitive skating:
Competitive skating gives you a goal to work toward. Whether it's learning a new routine or figure or dance, or preparing for an upcoming competition, competitive skating is a continuous process of goal-setting. This is an excellent life skill for children to learn, and for adults, it can be the motivation to get you to the rink regularly and get that exercise you need.
Competitive skating demands focus. For children, preparing for upcoming competitions means they must focus on the task at hand if they wish to do well. Developing this focus can be invaluable in other settings, particularly at school. For adults, focusing on skating skills can be a "mental vacation" from the stresses of the day and life in general.
Competitive skating teaches good sportsmanship. While roller skating is an individual or team-of-two sport, the competitor has the added benefit of being a member of a skating club. From these experiences, skaters learn how to win and lose gracefully, and support their fellow club members. They'll also find new friendships within the club, and with fellow skaters from other clubs that they meet at competitions.
Competitive skating teaches confidence and positive self-image. It takes courage to skate in front of a panel of judges and onlookers. Putting oneself in that position repeatedly develops confidence that can be transferred to other life situations.
Competitive skating is a continual learning process. There are always new dances or routines to learn and new skills to hone. If you like the challenge of always learning something new, or refining what you already know, competitive roller skating is a perfect activity.
Competitive skaters travel! If you like to hit the open road or hop a plane, competitive skating will give you that opportunity. Our club travels to the greater Chicago area for meets, some attend a large invitational in Odonton, Maryland, and the location of the Regional and National Championships changes every year. There are other competitions nationwide that a skater may opt to attend. Since club members are together during competitions, these travel experiences build some wonderful collective memories.
Competitive skaters wear sparkly outfits! Where else can you see so many rhinestones and so much velvet before noon in the middle of the summer? While some may argue this isn't a huge benefit per se, some skaters really enjoy the costume trappings that come with the sport.