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The following is information from a pilot study that was conducted from June-July 2017 at Cleveland State University

Go Skate! The Physiological Responses and Perception of Training on Inline Skates

By Kris Fondran

From my experience as a skater and as a skating instructor, I have witnessed the many physiological and mental benefits of inline skating regularly. For me personally, skating has been an extremely enjoyable form of physical activity that has helped keep me healthy, strong and relatively pain free for most of my adult life. As a skating instructor, it has been rewarding for me to see how consistent and focused skating sessions can quickly improve a skater’s skill level, boosting their confidence and ability to skate further and faster, introducing them to all the amazing places (physically, mentally and emotionally) a pair skates can take them.

Skating to Increase Physical Activity Level

Prior skating research has shown that inline skating elicits similar physiological responses as running and cycling with comparable energy expenditure (calories burned), increases in aerobic capacity, improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, balance, and strength. Various independent skating websites claim that skating has a variety of benefits such as it is fun, easy to learn, is low impact in the joints, increases muscle strength, endurance and cardiorespiratory fitness, etc.

However, solid research and anecdotal information aside, not as many people are skating at a time where the vast majority of the adult population in many parts of the world are not meeting suggested physical activity requirements.

When skating is CLEARLY the best physical activity out there, why aren’t more people skating?

The exercise physiologist in me says, “More research may convince them to skate!”

Skating Research

The fact is, however, that research can be costly and time consuming to execute, which is probably why more skating studies haven’t been conducted. Training studies are particularly tricky as the time commitment from both the subjects and researchers is considerable. A credible research study takes a dedicated team of researchers, subjects and likely thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to successfully implement.

Fortunately, Cleveland State University (CSU) where I work as a part-time lecturer in the Department of Health and Human Performance, has a University Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA) program. The USRA funds a variety of summer research projects across all university departments providing an opportunity for undergraduate students and faculty to work together to produce studies increasing their investigative skills as well as the body of research on variety of topics.

This past spring, with the assistance of department colleagues and mentors, we submitted a research grant to fund the study- “Go Skate: The Physiological Responses and Perception of Training on Inline Skates”

While setting up the research proposal, we reviewed the original skating study done by the University of Massachusetts in conjunction with Rollerblade as well as a handful of other studies. Other than the typical fitness markers of heart rate, blood pressure, energy expenditure (calories burned) we found that there hasn’t been much if any, research done to determine whether inline skating is considered more enjoyable to perform compared to common exercise choices such as running and the Elliptical. We also found that little or no research has been done with non-elite adult skaters regarding efficiency improvements over a period of time of regular skating.

Three Research Questions were identified in this study:

  1. Research Question One: What is the perception of enjoyment when participants are skating vs. running vs. elliptical and will that change after the skating intervention?
  2. Research Questions Two: After skating 3X/week for 6 weeks will there be any change across a variety of health and fitness markers?
  3. Research Question Three: Will there be an increase in efficiency in skating, running, and the elliptical performance after the skating intervention?

Not only were we awarded the USRA research grant, which covered all associated research costs, we had at our disposal a great team of undergraduate researchers who assisted in setting up all testing, data collection and data analysis. Having such a great team in place expedited all aspects of the study allowing us to complete the study by the end of the summer.

An important aside, our research grant included a line item for skates, gear and helmets to ensure our participants would have a controlled experience regarding equipment technology. Since we were working with mostly beginner skaters we chose the Rollerblade Macroblade 80 ABT

The Study

In June of 2017, seven healthy male and females with the average age of 22 and some skating experience who have not used inline skating as a mode of exercise over the previous year, were recruited from the Cleveland State University community. The study intervention consisted of two weekly supervised inline skate training sessions for forty-five minutes for six weeks. One session was a speed/interval workout and the other focused on endurance, skating at a pace that is 60-75% maximum heart rate based on age and fitness level. Both training sessions took place at a two-and-a-half mile out and back loop just outside downtown Cleveland, Ohio USA. In addition, each participant was also encouraged to skate one forty-five-minute session on their own at a self-selected pace during the weekend. Prior to training (pre) and after the six-week training intervention (post), participants skated, ran, and used the elliptical for ten minutes at 80% of age-predicted heart rate maximum to determine efficiency of movement.

During each pre- and post-tests, resting and exercise heart rates of the participants were monitored by a Polar heart rate monitor while their energy expenditure was measured by the COSMED K4, a portable system for pulmonary gas exchange analysis. Subjects also had their body composition assessed before and after training using air displacement plethysmography (Bod Pod), as well as a functional movement screening (FMS) evaluating limitations, asymmetries or changes in functional movement patterns. At the end of the study a questionnaire regarding the perceptions of enjoyment and preference of physical activities was administered to all participants.

 The Results

With just about any research, a small sample size decreases statistical power. That is if there is something to be detected in a study, the larger the sample size, the more likely it is to be detected and more accurate the results. Our small sample size of 7 participants was a limiting factor in our study. That said, the study did elicit some significant findings that, to our knowledge, had not been previously tested.

  1. Core Strength and Stability

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) was administered in both pre and post testing. The FMS is comprised of 7 tests that serve to identify muscle asymmetries, tightness, weakness and other risk factors for injury by examining the mobility and stability off the hips, core, shoulders, knees, spine and ankles

Of the 7 FMS tests, we found significant improvement in the “trunk stability push up” test. The trunk stability pushup measures the ability to stabilize the core and spine in an anterior and posterior plane and is a marker for core strength. Core strength and stability is the result of the muscles of the pelvis, low back, hips and abdomen working in harmony. Many adults experience an imbalance between back strength and abdominal weakness, which often leads to low back pain. Obtaining and maintaining core strength throughout a lifetime leads to better balance and stability while performing daily and fitness related activities reducing the chance for low back pain and other injuries related to a weak core.

Conclusion: Inline Skating can increase core strength and stability.

  1. Exercise Efficiency

In the 3 exercise modalities tested (skating, Elliptical, running) we found significant improvement in the average heart rate between pre and post testing on the Elliptical. There was improved efficiency on the Elliptical as evidenced by a decreased heart rate despite going a further distance in the allotted time. Given that there was such a significant improvement in skating efficiency, as well as some carry-over into the elliptical, it can be a deduced that the benefits of inline skating regularly would also be noticed in related sports such as skiing and various ice skating disciplines.

Conclusion: Inline Skating can positively impact cardiovascular efficiency in related sports such as skiing and ice skating.

  1. Oxygen Uptake (VO2)

Oxygen update or VO2 is the amount of oxygen utilized by the body per minute per kilogram of body weight. It is the most relevant measurement of efficiency or inefficiency of the cardiorespiratory (heart & lung) system. The study showed a significant improvement in the VO2 of participants between pre and post skating testing. The increase in VO2 can be an indication of the greater amount of muscle mass (legs, hips, buttocks) being used during skating and more efficient skating technique acquired from the beginning to the end of the study. This increase in VO2 coupled with no significant change in heart rate between pre and post skating testing, indicates an improved cardiovascular performance.

Conclusion: Skating regularly can improve the function of the heart and lungs.

  1. Skating Distance

The study showed a significant improvement in the distance covered on skates between pre and post testing. It was not surprising to see this increase as I have experienced it myself when I have been training regularly and have seen this type of distance gain with my students. Each part of the skating stride contributes to overall efficiency. When there is attention placed on proper form (knees bent, pushing to the sides, bringing the feet back underneath the body, etc.) skating becomes seemingly effortless leading to smoother and longer skates.

Conclusion: Skating more efficiently leads to skating more comfortably with less effort covering more distance in the same timeframe.

  1. Level of Enjoyment: Running vs. Elliptical vs. Skating

At the end of the 6 week training we found that almost half of the subjects (43%) preferred skating over running or Elliptical and all of them said that they would consider inline skating as a mode of exercise in the future. Having lead many of the training sessions I saw the transformation from awkward “I’m not so sure about this” skating to “I got this!” kind of skating. Anecdotally I can report a huge improvement in attitude that correlated with an increase skill level. The stronger their skating became, the more fun they had on skates.

Conclusion: The better you skate the more you enjoy the skating experience.

Although we had a small subject population and did not control for variables such as diet and additional physical activity, this was a successful pilot study. Above all, we were pleasantly surprised to have some significant findings, especially in variables not tested or observed in previous skating research. An added bonus was that our students received 3rd place overall for their research poster presentation in the USRA grants program at CSU, out of more than 60 studies conducted, bringing recognition to our department and more awareness of the benefits of inline skating to the Cleveland State University community. The training study results were  presented at the the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Midwest Conference November 10-11, 2017  in Grand Rapids, MI expanding the reach to the fitness world and bringing even more positive attention to the merits of inline skating.

Go Skate!





For the last 8 weeks I have spent more time in planes and abroad then ever!  Here is a quick run down of my recent travels:

8 May-Trevisio, Italy

No sooner did I finish classes at Cleveland State University at the beginning of May, I was off to the Rollerblade annual sales meeting in Treviso, Italy. Sales meetings are always exciting as we get a preview of the product line and  brand initiatives for the coming year while having the opportunity to meet with people from around the world who are committed to growing the sport as well as the Rollerblade market share.

Presenting at 2017 Sales Meeting

Presenting at 2017 Sales Meeting

RB 2017 Sales meeting Rico Indo

Met Rico from Indonesia and is lovely wife and skating son!

Authentic and delicious pizza dinner varous RB team members

Authentic and delicious pizza dinner with various RB team members

13 May-Portoroz, Slovenia

How could I go to Italy and be so close to my skating friend Frank Pirc and his wife Wilma without a stop in Portoroz, Slovenia?  Portoroz was just a short roll away (about 2 hours by car) so I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend some time with my friends by their beautiful seaside home as well as go for a skate to the old Venetian city of Piran with Frank.  The ICP did its first certification in Slovenia in 2000 and I reconnected with my long, lost, love and husband Greg in Portoroz in 2003, so this place certainly holds a place in my heart.

May 2016 Piran

Favorite Place to Skate in Slovenia

Frank Piran May 2016

Skating with Frank in Piran


17 May-Dubai, United Arab Emirates

With a horrible infection caught on my way to Europe ramping up during my stay by the time I made it home to Cleveland I was so very sick! However, with no rest for the weary in sight, I had  one night in my own bed and quick trip to the doctor before I was off and flying again. This time to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Armed with A LOT of meds and a “positive attitude” (attitude really is everything) I would hopefully be ready to conduct a Level 1 Certification Program there within 2 days time.  Well thanks to the meds, my attitude, a great UAE host (Certified Instructor Andreja Marolt) and my new friend “Tylenol PM” I was just about fully recovered and ready to roll by the start of the program!

We had a very diverse group made up of participants from Oman, Philippines, Slovenia, Syria, and Venezuela!  So much fun working with everyone there and as well as helping program host Andreja Marolt with ways to best promote skating and the Rollerblade brand in the country and Middle East region.


Dubai Theory

Dubai Level 1 Theory

Lunch in Dubai

Program lunch break

Skating with Joy!

Skating with Joy!  Dubia, UAE

26 May Chicago Illinois

Landed, slept, and off to Chicago the next day for a poster presentation at the Association Psychological Science Convention.  My colleague from Cleveland State and I presented our latest yoga study.  It was an honor to be at the convention and to have the opportunity to continue to be involved with on the science side of yoga.  Taking into account all the travel, sickness, etc. I was reminded of the importance of spending more time on the practical side of yoga.  Lots of Yoga Nidras being done to keep my slept deficit due to all the time changing, to a minimal.

Yoga Study Presentation

Yoga Study Presentation

Balcony View

Balcony View

28 May-27 June  Ohio USA

Home for a whole month!

Taught a lot of ice hockey lessons and spent time helping my daughter finish up the school year and get organized for summer activities-summer reading, swimming, softball, etc.

Celebrated Memorial Day with my favorite US Coast Guard veteran, went up to the Lake Erie Islands for a last minute visit that included going to a party on the famous “Ship House”-The Benson Ford , cheered on the Cleveland Cavaliers for their last game ( I have deep seeded issues with being let down by Cleveland Sports–this is a topic for another blog post!) and joined in the 1.3 million people celebration parade-Wow, what a season for the Cavs!  Was thankful for the abundance in my life, enjoyed the emerging summer warmer and generally rested up for upcoming back to back trips.

Memorial Day 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Watching "Balanced" daughter

“Well-Balanced” daughter


Go Cavs!

Go Cavs!

Enjoying Island Life

Enjoying Island Life on South Bass Put in Bay

Impromptu Deck Yoga Session

Impromptu Deck Yoga Session

South Bass Ship House

South Bass Ship House

1 in over a million Celebrating

1 in over a million Celebrating

Who knew she was good at softball?!

First Year on Softball-Who knew she’d be good at this sport too!

27 June-July 7 Singapore 

Concluded my daughters weekend birthday celebration and was off on an evening flight through San Fransisco and on to a 16 hour flight to Singapore (one of the longest flights in the world!)  for certifications and  related programing.

Although I like to think of myself as a person who has a balanced life, apparently  the  universe is telling me otherwise  because 4 hours into my flight to Singapore (my 15th trip there since 2000!) I came down with conjunctivitis-not only in one, but in both eyes!  Landed at 6:00am,  in line at a doctors office by 8:00am and by 9:00am and only with $67 USD spent (Can the uS learn from Singapore’s medical pricing structure??) I was off with multiple meds to tackle the eye goop and the day!

Professional development workshops, Sled Dogs Snowskates Ambassador program as well as two certifications and a fitness workshop, not to mention my birthday and man, many late nights with a great international group of friends rounded out my 9 days in Singapore.

2016-06-29 09.17.19

Masked the minute I walked into the clinic!

SG friends daughter helping with Candles

SG friends daughter helping blow out birthday candles

International Birthday!

International Birthday Party!  Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Spain  and the USA in the house!

Happy B-day to Kris

Happy B-day to Kris


With a Few Level 2 Candidates!

With a Few Level 2 Candidates!


SG July 2016 Group

SG July 2016 Group


July 7-July 11 Ohio, USA

Home in just enough time for a swim meet, to re-pack, get the house in order and to get my daughter ready  and off for a one week sleep away camp!  Not one photo taken to capture these days!  Other than the aforementioned, I was pretty much dead to the world and breaking all “rules of travel” as I slept mostly all day thus wide awake by 2am on most. Which as ridiculous as that was it was really perfect because 2am in Cleveland is 8am in Spain! Spain here I come!

July 12-July 21 Spain

Off and skating in Burgos!  From a ICP Level 2 program, “Working with Children” workshop,  a visit to Madrid’s SnowZone to promote Sled Dogs Snowskates and a local Burgos night skate, Spain was all about skating.

This is the first certification related trip EVER where I was joined by my husband Greg. He was a great sport throughout all the skating programming and became an expert navigating the streets and highlights of the city of Burgos when he was on his own.  He even joined in and skated a 1.5 hour night skate! For someone, who in 14 years of marriage has been out on inline skates for about 15 minutes, to skate unscatheed through the streets of Burgos, Spain with Backfliphouse skate club for over 1.5 hours, was truly impressive!

A huge thanks to ICP Examiner and ICP Country director for Spain, Natalia Santamaria, for making the long weekend of programming such a great success and for the wonderful hospitality. Muchos gracias also to her husband ICP Instructor Antonio Rico for shuttling us to skating venues and for keeping us well fed with wonderful homemade Spanish meals!

At the end of the skating programming we made two short trips to Natalia’s family’s village where we attended a village celebration in honor of the Virgin Mary and had dinner at the family’s “bodega”.  There we were treated to authentic Spanish fare and drank homemade red wine. Experiencing local life like this was very unique and not something that an average visitor to Spain experiences. Very fortunate to have this opportunity.

The trip was bookended by two lovely days in Madrid that included lots of sun, many kms of walking and great local food.

Another amazing trip in the books. Can’t believe this is my life!

Beautiful Burgos

Beautiful Burgos, Spain

Great Level 2 Groupo!

Great Level 2 Groupo!

Children's Workshop

Children’s Workshop


View from a Village

View from a Village

Natlaia's Families Bodaga

Natlaia’s Families Bodaga


Ritero Park Madrid

Ritero Park, Madrid


Paella y Sangria

 July 21st Cleveland, OH USA

Home. Always in awe of air travel and feeling blessed to arrive home safe and sound.

Until the next travel adventure….



Exploring Barcelona with friends earlier this month.

Practicing what I preach gets tough sometimes but if I am preaching it I’ve got to live it. I am always telling  people “more yoga, more skating” believing the two are the perfect combination for physical and mental health.  But to be authentic, it can’t just be lip service.

In previous blogs I have written about how my yoga practice ebbs and flows.  While I often get discouraged by this I am comforted in knowing that it is always there for me.  It isn’t going anywhere and I can pick it up anytime and anywhere.   After 15 years of study and practice I have quite a few tools that I can pull out when needed and turn any moment into a yogic one.  So really there is no excuse not to practice daily.   Skating is the same for me as I have been skating for nearly 40 years on ice and inlines and in various disciplines.  The only draw back for skating outside is the weather and if it isn’t cooperating then a 20 minute drive to the ice rink is the easy answer.  There’s no excuse.  So this week, the last of my 46th year, I have decided to get a jump on having a stellar 47th full of both yoga and skating and have begun to incorporate these two loves into my life daily.

For the yoga component, I have been getting pretty good at scheduling time for a daily practice. A little asana upon waking, followed by some pranayama, such as nadi shodhana to balance my often very unbalanced life ,and periodically throughout the day meditation in the form of mantra, yoga nidra, japa, etc. has been a regular source of spiritual nutrition for me.    It may be only 10-15 minutes at a time, or longer if time or patience permits,  or maybe I’ll even take a class.  I would like to do better, meaning spend more time with the physical, breath, and meditation practices, but I know something done regularly is better and more sustainable than a lots something sporadically so I think that I am on the right track.  The bonus for me is that my older daughter Evan is also a yogini and practices regularly which is a great source of motivation.   While she usually does her own “yoga thing”  every once in a while she’ll invite me to join her for a  class or we will practice together at home-which serendipitously happened this week with a spontaneous session down by the beach!


Finishing up our practice with side by side inversions.

As for the skating, I have been inspired by a good friend of mine Franc in Slovenia who sends regular updates of his DOS (days on skates)  According to his latest check in a week ago, he had 167 DOS–which, if you look at the calendar, is close to a perfect record as we near the half year mark. Pretty impressive for someone who took up skating as an adult and even more impressive now that he is in his 70’s!  If Franc can make the effort daily, so can I!


Franc from behind on a sunset skate toward Piran, Slovenia. A much anticipated ritual of ours every time I visit!

This past week I decided to enlist my 8 year old daughter Jade on one of my skates, which made it all the better.  She is a figure skater and been on skates shortly after she could walk so she makes the perfect skating partner.  We navigated the streets of our city quite easily doing errands, eating ice cream and visiting friends, and while I am sure my heart rate didn’t get over 100, I know that I not only met but exceeded my daily goal because I was sharing my love for skating with my daughter.



Summer is finally here and I am looking forward to spending as much time enjoying it as I can.  After the winter vortex we had here in Cleveland, spending time outside in the warmth and sunshine is a no brainer.  Also, living near Lake Erie makes the perfect backdrop.   Whether I am inside or outside, I have the perfect venue for a yoga practice with a sound track of lapping waves.  As for the skating, I can skate right out my door or hop onto the next ice session while my daughter is practicing.

More yoga and skating. No excuses.


Friday Night Skate down Ocean Drive-Great EsSkate 2014
Friday Night Skate down Ocean Drive-Great EsSkate 2014

So it is almost a week since I returned from the sunshine and warmth filled annual inline skating event “The Great EsSkate” in Miami, FL USA.  Considering that it is Valentine’s Day and I am reflecting on all the people and things that I love,  it is a perfect day to also profess my love for this skating event.

Very Frozen Shores of Lake Erie Euclid, OH

The Great EsSkate has been an early February staple 14 out of the last 15 years. Something for us Northerners to look forward to in hopes of getting out of the frozen tundra that is our reality.  A welcomed reprieve from this year’s “Polar Vortex” winter we are experiencing in the Northeast.  My trip was worth every penny of the astronomical 2 months out flight I purchased for nearly $600 bucks to go from life on Lake Erie (or is it the Moon?) to a few days of life on the Atlantic.

From my sunrise yoga practice on the beach each morning with a group of skaters, to my daily indulgence of cafe con leche, to skating without a care in the world over the Venetian causeway, to meeting up with dear friends for dinner,  or just sitting by the pool soaking up some much needed sun, I truly cherished every moment.   “This is so lovely” was my mantra for the 3 glorious days I spent there.

A poolside view-Richmond Hotel
A poolside view-Richmond Hotel

For me, and probably may others who have attended multiple Great EsSkate events, it’s  a bit of a “Ground Hog Day” experience.  But in a VERY good way.  The amazingly run skates (thank you Event Director Gene Cook and the National Skate Patrol), the sunshine and warmth (thank you South Florida in February), and the familiar faces who share a love for skating, are the constants that keep me coming back year after year for the exact same experience. Nowhere in the world is there an event, at least not to my knowledge, that brings skating, warmth and fun together better than the great EsSkate does.

Sunny Shores of South Beach, Miami FL

So on this snowy Valentine’s Day in Euclid, OH with a lot of love in my heart, I am feeling very blessed to have had my weekend in Miami, FL.  Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who keep this event going each year, to that new friends that I met, and to the old ones that agreed to eat Haitian food yet again this year.

Lots of love to all of you who make this event a love of mine and who will keep me coming back next year! 

Taking a snack break during Saturday's 26 mile skate
Taking a snack break during Saturday’s 26 mile skate
Great EsSkate Volunteers at Registration
Great EsSkate Volunteers at Registration
Sunrise Yoga on the Beach
Sunrise Yoga on the Beach
Saturday Morning Group Up Before 26 Mile Skate
Saturday Morning Group Up Before 26 Mile Skate
Artist Tom Cocotos Art Space-Art Center South Florida Lincoln Road
Artist Tom Cocotos Art Space-Art Center South Florida Lincoln Road
Friends Eating Haitian Food at Tap Tap
Dinner with friends at Haitian restaurant Tap Tap

Tomorrow I will be heading to Mumbai, India to conduct skating programs for the Inline Certification Program.   This will be my second trip to India with the first to the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger in 2011.  It is amazing to me that in a span of two years my two passions;  studying yoga and teaching skating, would bring me to India twice.  Not many people have the opportunity to go to India at all-but twice in two years?!

Not only is it incredible to have another chance to travel to India in such a short span of time, it is a VERY auspicious time to be in Mumbai in particular.  From 9 September-19 September the Mumbai Ganesh festival will take place.   It is one of the biggest celebrations in the city celebrating the Birth (rebirth) of Lord Ganesh-the remover of obstacles.   It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival.  According to one article I read  “It’s a giant street party with a special spiritual meaning!”

Ganesh Mantra 
“Aum Gam Ganapataye Namah”  (Prostrations/Salutations to the Lord of the World )                                                                                                                                                  

The Ganesh mantra is believed to remove all evil and obstacles that prevent you from reaching your goals.  Through the years there have been quite a few obstacles in the way of the certification program- in India and elsewhere in the world so count me in as one of Ganesh’s devotees now and forever more!

Thank you again to Certified Instructors Ajay, Dhiraj, Jatin, and Pankaj for bringing the program to India for the first time.  Your tireless efforts are very much appreciated.   Thank you also instructor candidates for taking on the challenge and seeing the benefit of bringing safe and effective inline skating instruction to the children of India!  And lastly, thank you in advance to Lord Ganesh for blessings and removing any obstacles that may come my way.