Rollerblading is an aerobic exercise similar to cross-country skiing. Like skiing, the impact rollerblading has on your knees, hips and ankles is very low -- unless you fall down constantly. To avoid wrecking and get an enjoyable workout instead, focus on four components of your body: shoulders, hips, knees and toes. These body parts determine the placement of your center of gravity on rollerblades.
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Put on your rollerblades sitting in the middle of a flat concrete or asphalt pad. Roll over onto your knees with your hands on the ground. Move one knee up toward your chest, your knee on the outside of your shoulder, your foot flat next to your hand and all the rollerblade's wheels touching the ground. Move your other leg up beside your other shoulder -- again, all the wheels touching the ground -- so you are squatting with your hands between your knees, your feet flat and your buttocks close to the ground.
Stand up. Raise your hands off the ground so you are in a hands-free squat, put your arms outside your knees, then slowly rise by straightening your legs. As you rise, keep your shoulders centered directly over your knees and your knees in line with the balls of your feet. Keep your arms straight and perpendicular to the ground, in a ready position in case you begin to fall.
Keep your shoulders over your knees. Keep your buttocks over your heels. Whether you squat down to lower your center of gravity or stand up straighter to give your thighs some relief, always maintain the same position, shoulders over knees, knees over the balls of your feet. Bend your knees and drop your hands and buttocks if you begin to lose your balance. Look out in front of you 10 or 20 yards, depending on your speed.
Skating and Stopping
Take a half step back with your power leg -- typically your power leg is on the same side of your body as the hand you use to write. Turn your power-leg toe out so the wheels on the rollerblade are at a 45-degree angle in relation to those on your weak-side foot. With all the wheels planted on the ground, push forward with your power leg to start the wheels on your weak-side rolling. Replant your power leg foot next to the other and glide.
Push your weak-side leg away from the center line from your body -- back at a 45-degree angle -- to generate more speed, then plant your weak-side foot back in line with your other. Push back and away with your power leg, then replant in back in line. Continue alternating this skating motion. Keep your shoulders over your knees and your knees over your toes. Bend your knees and lower your buttocks if you begin to lose your balance.
Brake by lowering your buttocks, keeping your shoulders over your knees and moving your power leg out in front of you and straightening it. Point your toe upward to raise the front wheels off the ground and touch the brake to the asphalt or concrete. Center your weight over your weak-side leg to prevent yourself from turning. Continue to hold the brake to the ground until you slow to a comfortable speed, then rise and put your rollerblades back next to one another.
- Look forward, not down. If you look down, you move your shoulders forward and unhinge your balance.
- Always use a helmet. Asphalt and concrete never provide a soft landing when you wreck. While you can use some of the equipment at your own discretion -- though if you rollerblade long enough, you'll learn the value of every piece of equipment -- never rollerblade without a helmet.