There’s a reason there are now more than 29 million inline skaters in the U.S. The sport is affordable, accessible and fun and it delivers lots of fitness benefits. In fact, one study found that in-line skating provides a muscular workout comparable to what you’d experience running or cycling.
No need to spin out of control on your first try when learning how to inline skate. With these 12 steps, you’ll be eight-wheeling it in no time.
1. Learn for free. Watch experts skate. See how they glide, spin, even jump. Now watch beginners. See how they totter slowly across the sidewalk, lunging for trash cans to hold onto. If those klutzes can do it, so can you.
2. Owning is forever. But renting stops when the ambulance arrives. I suggest renting.
3. Wear protective pads and helmet. I say this partly so you won’t sue me if you break your leg. (In this sense, the padding is protective for me.) Wearing a helmet, however damaging to your hairdo, can determine whether you spend your life eating vegetables or being one.
4. Location, location, location. It’s easiest to skate on a surface that’s (1) smooth, (2) flat and (3) not a highway — in other words, your living room floor. Glissade to the kitchen. Remove your blades and practice in your socks until the movement becomes imprinted in your muscle memory, or until someone takes you off to a mental asylum.
5. Don’t skate in the rain. Water rusts ball bearings, which cost a lot to replace. This rule applies only to those who own their skates. If you rent, go ahead and skate in a hurricane.
6. Stopping. Let me reassure you: Everyone who has skated has stopped, in one way or another. (To learn how to stop, check out “Get Over It”).
7. Starting. Bend your knees and lean slightly forward. Assuming you haven’t already fallen, put your weight on your favorite foot as you push forward. You’ve just taken your first step. Congrats! Solid food can’t be far behind!
8. Going. Going is just “starting” again and again on alternating feet. Remember to crouch. This makes you look like a pro and increases chances of finding coins on the road.
9. Turning. The easiest method involves taking off your skates. The second easiest is to aim toward your desired destination by leaning your body and swiveling your shoulders.
10. Going backward on purpose. Is this really necessary? Did you forget something back there?
11. Showing off. Accomplished (1) by locking your hands in back of you, (2) by doing something else as you skate, like faxing, (3) by wearing skimpy clothing.
12. In the ER. Don’t forget your Social Security number.