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Ouch! Roller Blading Safety Tips For Roller Blading Fun
As I write this, my left wrist is a little sore and I can feel the scrape on my knee rubbing against my pants. I made the stupid mistake of leaving some of my rollerblading gear at home.
And now I pay the piper!
Roller skating is a great way to get fit and stay fit as a family. Kids love it. And for adults, it’s a wonderful way to exercise without too much wear and tear on your joints. Moms, do you worry about your face? Roller skating will strengthen your but also the lower part of the back like the most tired trainer.
But it can also be a little sneaky. Unlike ice skating where you’re bundled up in fluffy winter gear, rollerblading usually has you in shorts or light pants and t-shirts. Add to that the variety of terrain and the speed at which you can hit the hill… and think twice about safety!
Injury prevention is key to making exercise fun. There are injuries no fun! So here are my roller safety tips so you and your kids can slide and have fun while minimizing cuts and bruises.
Security advisory no. 1: Build your muscles
Your muscles are your body’s built-in safety equipment. They not only keep you moving, but also keep your joints and bones in place and even provide some shock absorption.
For example, if you fall awkwardly in a way that twists your knee and causes serious injury (like a broken bone), strong leg muscles can save you. With a firm grip, they hold your knee joint in place and take the fall for you. Imagine wrapping your knee in a 1/2 inch thick bandage. That’s what your muscles do.
Even better, the more you build your muscles, the denser your bones. The best way to build bone mass is strength training. So, by building muscle, you not only create a special suit to protect your bones, but you also make your bones stronger!
For rollerblading, I recommend leg exercises like squats, lunges, and lunges as great leg-building exercises (add a weighted vest for an extra pound). And don’t forget your hands because they will bear the brunt of many falls. Push-ups and curls do wonders for strengthening your arms and wrists.
Security advisory no. 2: Prepare yourself mentally
Mental preparation is one of your best defenses. It’s not that you’re paranoid or that you’re so overwhelmed with fear of the possibility that you can’t move an inch. No, it’s about getting into a state of mind that puts you on high alert.
When you start with awareness of potential accidents, you tell yourself to be prepared. Prompted by this message, your body starts doing little calculations on how to adjust if something happens. Often these calculations and adjustments are made without you even knowing!
If you take it a step further and practice the fall a few times or run through the scenario in your mind, you’ve essentially practiced so that your body will know what to do when the real thing happens.
But even better, this mental preparation will help you avoid accidents. When you make that mental note of accidents, your mind turns on all of its safety radars. You may not even consciously notice, but you begin to pick up sights, sounds, and feelings that help you navigate the danger.
You are much more attuned to those pebbles in the road, a car coming in from the left at an intersection, or feeling the change in texture of the pavement beneath your shoulder blades.
Put your mind on alert and you’ll be amazed at how instincts work to keep you safe. Even if your kids say, “I know, Mom” in that annoyed tone, help them mentally prepare with a few reminders before and during your expedition.
Security advisory no. 3: Protect your head with a helmet
Nothing makes more sense than protecting your leg. Get a helmet that fits you well enough to cover your forehead so you can look up and see him there. Make sure the strap is tight enough, but not so uncomfortable that you can’t easily turn your head.
And then he wears it.
Security advisory no. 4: Protect your wrists
That is what I neglected on that fateful day. I left the wrist guards in the basement.
When we fall, our tendency is to reach out to catch ourselves as we fall. But few of us have joints strong enough to support the weight of our bodies combined with the momentum of a fall.
Find a nice set of wrist guards and strap them on. Wrapped up, they also store nicely inside your rollers so you won’t have to look for them when you need them. (I’m taking this into account!)
Security advisory no. 5: Check your blades
Good equipment is the key to safety. The hilly country roads we navigate really take a beating. So we make sure to inspect our blades, especially the brakes. Your brakes are pretty much a piece of rubber that you put down to hit the road surface to slow down. In the end you can wear it all.
So, I check them every time to make sure I have plenty of brake material left to donate to the pavement in exchange for safe speed. Make sure your brakes are firmly engaged – no loose bolts or movement.
Also, have your wheels inspected periodically. You may need to replace them if they look worn. And make sure to replace any that have cracks.
Finally, just pay close attention as you go to how your blades feel. Does the wheel seize? Do you feel any movement when you brake. Spend the first few minutes noticing how well your equipment is working so you can fix something before it goes wrong.
A few safety tips for the last roller
Knee and elbow pads, although not as essential as the other safety equipment mentioned, can also provide you with additional safety. Especially when you’re starting out.
Wear clothes that allow you to move easily.
And I recommend not carrying an iPod or listening to music if you’re on the road. It is important to have all your senses alert for information about approaching cars.
When the car gets close, remember that rolling can take up a lot of space and make you a bit unpredictable. Therefore, to stay on the safe side, I recommend that you pull over while the car is passing. This is what I teach my children.
Put these rollerblading safety techniques into practice and you’ll be able to enjoy all the great low-impact exercise that rollerblading has to offer. No paying big time if things go wrong.
Trust me, next time I’ll make sure to get my wrist guards out of the basement and strap them on tight before I go out.
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