Heavy breathing required: turn your recreational inline strolls into high-gear fitness workouts.

* Just because inline skating is fun and easy on the body doesn’t mean it’s not a viable workout. When undertaken seriously, inline skating can be a lot more than just a casual roll around the park it can add spice to a lagging routine, take your fitness level to a new high and make you a better skater. The fact is, inline skating can be equally as strenuous as more ballistic sports and can incorporate all the integral components of a good fitness program. A solid inline training program can enhance your balance, coordination, flexibility, lateral strength, muscle tone,, endurance and aerobic and anaerobic fitness. * There’s more. Not only is inline skating ideal for rehabilitation training because it is low impact, it also helps you develop better dynamic balance, which crosses over to sports such as cycling and climbing. “With inline skating, you can develop a sport-specific program for windsurfing or skiing,” explains Suzanne Nottingham, author of Fitness In-Line Skating (Human Kinetics, 1997). “Look at it not as just a way to become fit or reach new levels, but as one tier up, as a strict training tool for other sports. * “Although many recreational skaters are getting good workouts on their skates, there’s a distinct line between recreational and fitness inline skating. Fitness skating means you are using your skates specifically to achieve fitness benefit. It can mean power drills in a parking lot, interval training on hills or distance workouts on long straightways. If you’ve been skating for a couple years — or even months — you’ve got enough basic skills to take your skating workout to a new level. Here are five steps to up the ante on your inline workout and make you a more efficient and stronger skater.

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