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Find skating parks, skating rinks and other great, skater-friendly locations.
You can inline skate year-round at certain parks. Most parks have concrete paths and trails perfect for a day on your blades. You can even skate to the park. Be sure to wear a helmet and pads for safety.
Besides indoor skating rinks where you may encounter only skaters out for a joy loop or two, there are inline skating locations like skate parks for skaters and skateboarders where you can try out ramps, jumps, rails and more.
You can find inline skates at most any sporting good stores. For more selection and expertise, visit a specialty skate shop where you can get professionally fitted for a proper pair of skates and other equipment.
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First of all, try out a pair of skates before you buy them. Most stores will let you skate back and forth in their test area before purchasing them. Skates may look good but hit your ankle or foot in the wrong spot and you'll never end up wearing them if they hurt. Also get a helmet and some knee and elbow pads and wrist guards that you like so that you want to wear them. There's nothing worse than falling on the first day of skating after waiting all winter to get outside and taking such a bad fall that you miss out on skating for a month or two. Make sure you wear socks that are as tall as the boot so that you do not get blisters; cotton tends to hold moisture, so wear a wool or synthetic sock instead.
If you are on skates for the first time, try standing on carpet to feel where your weight should be distributed. Lean side to side and forward and back and see how your center of gravity has to change on the wheels, and how you'll have to use your arms differently with each move. Once you are ready to step outside and your gear is on, bend your knees and lean slightly forward to position your center of gravity in the direction of travel. To move forward, lean into your weak foot and push your strong foot away from you in a diagonal line. Then bring that foot in and repeat on the other side. Once you get the hang of it, take longer strides and glide for a second longer. To stop, try bending your knees and extending the skate forward that has the stopper on it. This will help you come to a gradual stop. There are also fancier stops, like the circle stop where you pick up the heel of one skate and position it close to the other heel then place back down on the ground and glide into a semi-circle to stop forward momentum. This takes lots of practice, so do it in the park or your driveway so that you don't have to worry about actually needing to use it until you are skilled at it. Remember, everyone starts out as a beginner, so have fun and know that you're getting exercise and keeping your body youthful.
Skating is a great workout for the inner and outer thighs and glutes. You do not use your full range of motion of your knee, so add squats and lunges to your workout when you are at home or in the gym. Your ankles also do not get to flex inside of the skate because the boot is rigid, so add heel raises and calf stretches to your regimen. To stretch, press your hands against a wall while you extend one leg behind you and press your heel to the floor. Then, sit on a chair and flex then point your foot to stretch your calf and shin.
Inline skating gives you a great excuse to be outside and get fresh air and sunshine. It will give you an aerobic workout while strengthening your legs and hips which releases endorphins, the feel-good chemical that your brain releases into your bloodstream during exercise which can impact you long after your workout session has come to an end. Inline skating is popular enough now that almost everyone has access to a pair or to an athletic shop where you can rent skates by the hour or by the day; so ask a friend to join you at the park and get some exercise together instead of meeting at the bar or a coffee shop.
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