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Skate Your Way to Family Fun

parents with two young children skate on outside rink

Skating –just like walking, running, and swimming –is an aerobic exercise that helps keep your heart healthy. It also strengthens leg and core muscles, and improves muscle tone, balance, agility, and flexibility. To help lower your risk for cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends making physical activity a regular part of your routine – and skating is one fun way to do that.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week. Children and teens should get at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity on at least 3 days each week. Skating can be moderate or vigorous, depending on how fast you go.

As with any sport, be sure to confirm with your health care team that it’s a safe activity for you, and make sure you wear the proper equipment. Wear skates that fit properly – snug but not too tight – and lace them up to the top to support your ankles. Wear a helmet and padding approved specifically for your type of skating.

Ice Skating

Many communities have ice-skating rinks that rent skates, offer figure skating classes, and organize hockey teams.

If you live in a place that gets cold enough, you might be able to skate outdoors on frozen ponds and lakes. If you do skate outdoors, make sure the police or recreation department has posted a sign that says skating there is OK. Dress warmly, in layers, and wear a hat and gloves. Never skate alone or after dark. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses. Sunlight reflects off all that bright white ice and snow, right back onto your face.

Roller Skating

At the roller skating rink, kids can hang out with their friends and listen to music while they get healthy heart-strengthening exercise. According to Roller Skating Association International, roller skating has the same benefits as jogging in terms of burning calories, reducing body fat, and strengthening leg muscles.

If you’re skating outdoors on roller skates or inline skates, try to choose an area that is free of obstacles and other people. Empty parking lots, unused tennis courts, and paved bike trails can be good options. Don’t skate in traffic or while listening to music with headphones, as it may be harder for you to hear a car coming or other dangers.

Kids on the Move

Read more tips about ways to get kids of all ages the healthy activity they need.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.