Outside magazine, March 1996
If you're thinking about trading running shoes for in-line skates now that there's asphalt where slush used to be, a recent study conducted at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst says you're smart. The study, which involved 41 proficient skaters, compared the increase in aerobic fitness from in-line skating with the gain from running. By the end of the nine-week study, the skaters had averaged an 8.1 percent increase in aerobic fitness levels, while the runners averaged a 9.7 percent increase.
To keep an in-line skate workout properly labor-intensive and aerobically comparable to running, cycling, or swimming, you have to concentrate on form and stroke technique. According to Henry Zuver, executive director of the International In-Line Skating Association in Atlanta, efficient form means sitting deep. "If you can bend your nonstroking knee as much as 45 degrees," Zuver says, "you'll get a longer, more powerful stroke." Zuver also cautions against crossing your arms over your body. Concentrate on keeping your weight toward the back of the foot you're raising off the ground. You should also check your heart rate frequently to make sure it's five to ten beats per minute faster than when you run to reap similar aerobic rewards.