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Inline Skating for Cross-Training

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For a less intense version of a running workout, strap on your Rollerblades and give inline skating a spin. One of the best things about the sport is that it's zero impact; skating is a great activity to consider if you're recovering from shin splints, Achilles tendinitis or knee injuries. While you use your quadriceps, buttocks and lower-back muscles a bit more than running, inline skating will more often be a gentle respite from running than a strenuous workout.

There are exceptions, however, and talented, competitive skaters can generate a tough session at high speeds. But you have to skate twice as fast as you would run, and do it continuously to get a workout equivalent to running. Skating at 6 minutes per mile, for example, is roughly equivalent to running 12 minutes per mile. Strong skaters racing a 10K distance can cover it in 17 minutes. Technique at this level and distance becomes at least as important as strength.

It takes a while to get the hang of inline skating. While most can get through the first awkward stages within the first few hours, it takes time and concentration to perfect the most efficient form. Lessons don't hurt.

One nagging note: keep in mind, as always, your personal safety. Moving fast on uneven pavement can make for nasty spills. Consider wearing pads and a helmet if you are either new to inline skating or likely to skate at high speeds. And as you weave the sidewalks and roads on your skates, do be considerate of the drivers, pedestrians, bikers and -- above all -- the runners around you.


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