A New Set of Wheels for Parking-Lot Pavements
There’s been a lot going on lately that reminds me of being a teen or pre-teen again. Curfews are once again a thing. We have to be home for dinner, and they’re — more often than not — home-cooked ones. We’re looking for activities to take us outside of the house, and now, even errands count as exciting activities.
We have pent-up energy that needs to be used when we’re not already busy, and we’re back to wanting to be outside again, just like when we were younger. It barely even matters what we’re doing anymore, so long as we’re outside and in good company.
With all of these feelings back, it was only a matter of time before they infiltrated my workout program. I dug out my old rollerblades — dusty and covered in cobwebs as they were — and tried again to become an in-line skater. With all these empty parking lots around me, particularly at rail stations and retail shopping plazas, it seemed a perfect time to finally learn to blade.
I’d always been envious of the ease that rollerbladers had, gliding down the block effortlessly — bikes, in contrast, seemed less graceful and cumbersome. And I’d always been awed by the skaters that would explode in a fury of movement playing roller hockey on the street, chasing after errant balls in athletic prowess.
It’s not as trendy on the East Coast as it was ever on the West, and definitely not really a “thing” here on Long Island anymore, but with all this flat-paved asphalt, there was no better time than now to finally learn this new skill … and call it a workout.
I’d been a runner, hot-yoga practitioner, kickboxer, and lifter, and there is no set of motions in any of these styles of exercise that mimic the benefits of rollerblading. You need a tight core to stay upright, strong quads to propel yourself forward. You work your feet, your arches even, keeping them strapped in and engaged enough to have control and keep your wheels centered.
You work your arms windmilling wildly, or using them as a smooth counterbalance as you improve. As for time and mileage, you’re covering plenty of ground, even if you just wrap laps around the same parking lot’s perimeter, giving your heart plenty of time to reach cardio-exercise levels.
But best of all, rollerblading is a way to not only reconnect with physical outdoor activity by new and creative means, it can be a way to reconnect with your past self — the one that’s not afraid to fall down, to have wind in your face, and laugh about it after. Workout as it may be, perhaps the most important thing it exercises is the memory that movement, far from being a chore, can be really, really fun.