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Benefits of Inline Skating (Rollerblading), Roller Skating, Biking Over Organized Sports and Other Forms of Adolescent Exercise

roadskater's picture
Check this out! Meredith Cohn of the Baltimore Sun gets credit for a piece with a subtitle you can't beat:
Hopkins study finds that kids who skateboard or Rollerblade stay fit longer that those who play organized sports

You go, loosely organized but not by adults skaters... Here's the abstract...

...wherein it says...

the likelihood of being an overweight adult was reduced most (ie, 48%) by performing certain wheel-related activities (ie, rollerblading, roller skating, skateboarding, or bicycling) more than 4 times per week.

I love that "certain wheel-related activities."

Wow! This is inspiration to get out there more, and more often, even for adults. What we already know is great to hear again and again, at least if it is encouraging.

The story is from:

The intro is sweet vindication for those kids who get picked on by adults who don't see the value in their physical fitness (and no, we don't like grinders or other defacers of other people's stuff):

A recent study by Johns Hopkins University researchers said regularly skating, Rollerblading and biking increase children's chances of fighting the flab as they grow. The odds were better than for those who played baseball and other organized, and often seasonal, sports. And better than for those in daily gym class, though those activities also helped kids keep slim.

We all know that life changed in 1980 in the USA and we don't need to argue about it here as there are many other places to do that, but the article points out that kids are more overweight and obese than then, and you can decide why for yourself!

About 16 percent of adolescents are overweight or obese, three times the number in 1980, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies have shown about 85 percent of overweight kids become overweight adults.

So was this a little, poorly done survey? I doubt it. It's a large sample size it seems to me, with a long follow-up:

The Hopkins study included 3,345 mostly healthy-weight teens in grades eight through 12 who were surveyed on their participation in physical-education class and after-school activities. The researchers followed up five years after they left school to check their height and weight.

The zinger is the 48 PERCENT:

...the likelihood of being an overweight adult was reduced 48 percent for those who skated or biked more than four times a week. For those who played soccer or other organized sports three or four times a week, the odds of being overweight later were reduced 20 percent.

I feel sure if you played organized sports in all seasones the numbers are more like skating and biking obsessively, but there's no data to show it. 48 for skabikers, 20 for you guys and gals with the pretty uniforms. (Hey I like pretty uniforms, and I like soccer, baseball and basketball too, as much as I can remember getting to play them instead of just watching.)

Surely serious runners are very lean and fit if they keep going year-round (oops and I can't say much about that, now, can I?), but interestingly...

...jogging, dancing and gymnastics did not significantly reduce the chances of being overweight as an adult.

Gym classes are what I think are missing. I wonder what would happen if we made the school day like the business day, starting a bit earlier and getting out a bit later (and shorten the business day while we're at it!) to relieve parents of that early afternoon get the kids or send them somewhere or have them at home alone problem. Then what if we didn't add any more math, science or language classes, but instead had half of the extra time be for music or art, and the other half for gym or team sports. Local rec teams could work out a bus ride to the field perhaps, whatever. And let the ones that want to ride or skate do it! Yeah! Dream on, I know! Make the rest of the day fun. This will go nowhere of course because it'd cost more in the short-run to underpay teachers even more for a longer day. Oh and the liabilities! Oh my goodness! Fear can make us just stop exercising. Anyway, about gym classes...

At school, students reduced their odds of being overweight by 5 percent for each day of the week they took gym class.

But you know and I know that our BRAINS work better when we've exercised. We shed stress often just in getting our bodies going for an hour of skating, biking, running, playing actual games of basketball, soccer and such. And one parent said the same of her youngster:

"If Jimi skates Monday through Sunday, I can tell he feels good," said the senior Hulson. "He also eats really well, including something green every day. I know he'll always be in good shape."
I'll add: If Jimi skates Monday through Sunday he's a lucky guy!

Please consider thanking the author for this fine story. Her email address is on the site linked at baltsun.com.

Skateylove y'all. Sweet stuff!


eebee's picture

Competition and Burnout

I just wrote and thanked her! Trying for a personal best in an event is constructive, but if there's the added anxiety of 'letting the team down', or a vicarious parent breathing down his or her neck, a supernova sports kid can burn out pretty spectacularly. I can see how all-or-nothing applies here: why not throw the baby out with the bathwater and ditch your 'sports' when you ditch your parents? Not sure about elsewhere in the country, but where I live in suburban Atlanta, woe betide anybody who dares to use the park fields for an impromtu game of soccer - even more so now with the drought and watering bans. You will get arrested for that now. So knock-about games don't really exist where I live. Great article. I can't wait until this hits all the main 'news' sites!

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