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Roller Skates vs Rollerblades: Which Is a Better Workout?

roller skates vs rollerblades for exercise
Written by Brian G Smith

Both roller skates and roller blades are viable choices for a workout but there are differences in maneuvering and balancing them. Since you use other muscles, rollerblading takes more effort and gives you a superior workout (if the purpose is to keep fit). It targets and tones your calves, thighs, buttocks, and abdomen.

But what will you prefer? Let’s take a closer look and investigate both options so you can make the right decision for yourself.

Roller Skates

Pros

  • Easy maneuverability for turning, spinning, and tricks
  • Stable when standing because of balanced wheelbase
  • Fun activity regardless of your age

Cons

  • Risk of injury/stress on your knees and hips
  • Finding a location to roller skate can be difficult
  • Wear and tear with continuous use (will need to replace them often)

Rollerblades

Pros

  • Faster than roller skates
  • Bigger wheels mean more stability while skating
  • Great for commuting
  • Can traverse from one type of terrain to the next (without stumbling)

Cons

  • Injuries can occur (without proper instruction and safety gear)
  • Finding a safe location to rollerblade can be challenging
  • Thinner area of contact between skate and the ground (hard to stand still on them)
  • Harder to spin quickly or make tight turns

Roller Skates vs Rollerblades for Exercise: How Do They Differ?

1. Effectiveness

Roller skates

This activity can improve muscle strength, heart health, flexibility, and endurance. It burns about 600 calories per hour and is less stressful on your joints than running.

Rollerblades

Rollerblading is a very effective cardio workout for your entire body. On average, you can burn 65 calories or more per mile, which means you can burn at least 634 calories per hour (for a 180-pound person).

Winner

Both are great choices to work out your body. It depends on your preference and what areas you want to target. However, you can go faster on rollerblades than on roller skates, burning more calories.

2. Muscle toning 

Roller skates

It’s a great body workout that mainly targets your hips and legs. Toning of your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves is sure to happen.

Rollerblades

It has all the muscle toning benefits of roller skating, also working your abdomen and buttocks.

Winner

Both options target and tone muscles. It’s a tie for this category.

3. Losing weight

 Losing weight

Roller skates

This activity is fun to tone muscles and burn calories. Since this is a form of exercise, you will lose weight when you accompany it with a diet.

Rollerblades

You burn many calories and can tone muscles with rollerblading, but diet and exercise go hand in hand. You do, however, tend to burn more calories rollerblading than you do roller skating.

Winner

Both are great at toning muscles, but to lose a significant amount of weight, both activities need to be alongside a healthy diet. With that said, rollerblading squeaks by with a win because it tends to burn more calories than its predecessor.

4. Bodily impact

Roller skates

Considered a low-impact sport that is easier on your knees than running.

Rollerblades

This sport is more dangerous than roller skating on most occasions. You tend to go faster and more aggressively, which can impact your joints.

Winner

With either activity, it’s essential to have properly fitting skates and good posture to avoid injury on your knees and ankles. The winner is roller skates because it’s less of a hazardous activity than rollerblading.

5. Soreness

Roller skates

There are some types of roller skating that are hardcore workouts (like vert or artistic skating) but traditionally, it is a low-impact workout. You will avoid unnecessary soreness achieved in a higher-impact sport.

Rollerblades

The more aggressive and high-energy the ride, the sorer you will be. Since you don’t usually take a stroll on rollerblades, the soreness will likely occur more so than on roller skates.

Winner

Roller skates for the win!

6. Balance

Balance

Roller skates

Many skaters feel more balanced and stable when they strap on a pair of roller skates because of the wide wheelbase. You can stand still reasonably comfortably.

Rollerblades

Rollerbladers like the feel of the support they receive from the boot of the rollerblades. It’s a sturdier fit, protecting your ankles; however, it is less stable when standing because of the wheels. You maintain a better balancing act when you are on the move.

Winner

If you want to stand still at times and not feel like you are going to fall over, roller skates win this one.

7. Safety

Roller skates

This will all depend on the type of roller skating you are doing and where you are skating. Injury is bound to occur if you are participating in a roller derby or skating on the rough ground outdoors.

Rollerblades

This can be riskier than roller skating sometimes (because of the speed you can achieve), but with the right gear (blades and safety), it’s a very safe activity overall.

Winner

Skating overall is a safe sport. Statistics show that it’s twice as safe as if you are using a playground. Wearing protective gear and finding a secure location to skate will also increase the overall safety. There are concerns for both, but if you choose rollerblades that offer ankle support and good balance, they win hands down.

8. Target age group

Roller skates

Balance and coordination usually happen when a child is around 4 or 5. This is the best time to have them start roller skating. This fun activity isn’t just for kids, though. Adults can have a good time roller-skating too.

Rollerblades

Inline skating is also a fantastic and suitable activity for all ages. Some people think children should start first on roller skates before graduating to rollerblades. This isn’t true for everyone, though. Regardless of age, once you get used to balancing and moving on rollerblades, many claim it’s effortless to handle.

Winner

Let’s call this one a draw.

9. Sports options/ different styles to try

Roller skates

Aggressive, leisurely, or artistic, there are numerous options and styles to choose from. There’s speed roller skating, roller derby, jam skating, roller hockey, roller dancing, and rhythm and shuffle (to name a few). There are also around 9 types of roller skates to choose from. They include:

  • Indoor/recreational
  • Outdoor
  • Jam
  • Speed
  • Rhythm
  • Artistic
  • Quad hockey
  • Roller derby
  • Aggressive

Rollerblades

There are many ways to enjoy rollerblading or inline skating. There are around 11 types you can choose from. They include:

  • Freestyle/Urban/Freeride
  • Aggressive
  • Recreational
  • Fitness
  • Speed
  • Rough road
  • Forest trail
  • Outdoor
  • Inline hockey
  • Slalom inline
  • Inline figure

Winner

If we are strictly talking about quantity, then rollerblades win.

What’s easier – Roller skating or rollerblading?

Many people will argue whether roller skating or rollerblading is easier. Some people find roller skating more effortless because of the quad wheels. Yes, you have more stability when standing still, but inline skates for both children and adults can also be easy to learn.

Many beginners like rollerblading because of the long wheelbase that gives stability while moving. That’s the goal, right? To move rather than stand still.

So, in this case, rollerblading is easier. The inline wheels give you excellent maneuverability and have a brake on the heel for safe stopping.

Which will get you fitter – Rollerblading or roller skating?

Which will get you fitter – Rollerblading or roller skating

As discussed, it requires more exertion and power to move on rollerblades. You tone muscles in both activities but lose more calories with blading.

It comes down to what action or style you would like to do. Do you want to roll around an indoor skating rink to music? Do you want to have a more aggressive workout?

In general, stripping it down, rollerblading is a slightly better workout than roller skating.

FAQs

1. Are roller skates or rollerblades better for the outdoors?

Ans. There are many different types of roller skates and rollerblades to choose from. Traditionally, rollerblades are better for the outdoors because you won’t stumble going from one ground surface to another.

2. Is roller-skating good for your knees?

Ans. Roller skating is a good, low-impact exercise. If you compare it to jogging or running, it’s an ideal alternative because it gives you an aerobic workout with less knee and joint pain.

About the author

Brian G Smith

“Hey, are you out of your mind?” - this is what I often hear when people see me performing some really dangerous stunts. While most people use scooters to commute, I use mine to hone my stunting skills. Yes, that’s me, Brian Smith. I’ve a small group of like-minded people in my team that love to do all sorts of stunts with their kick scooters and skateboards. My fans also ask me to teach them a thing or two every now and then. This is why I am here. In my leisure time, I like to write about what I do with my scooters and what I am going to do next. One thing I want to say to all my fans - Don’t hit the streets without proper information and training..

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