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Make Time for Family, Make Time To Skate

Make Time for Family, Make Time To Skate
By Kris Fondran- Skater, Certified Instructor, Exercise Physiologist, Rollerblade® Ambassador

Time spent with family is worth every second.

The concept of “family time” has changed a lot in the last 20 years. The fast pace lifestyle that most of us lead shows no sign of slowing down and leaves little time for family bonding that is important for the long term connectivity and closeness between family members. For many of us, it is quite common that “family time” means sitting in the car on a wide variety of daily trips being shuttled from Activity A to Activity B, etc.  Or perhaps, sitting in the same room but staring at a different electronic device, one of the many screens that seem to be taking up more and more of our days. Given that fast pace lifestyles and screen time is the way of the world at the moment, spending quality family will take some effort, and quite frankly, discipline. Discipline to disconnect from technology. Discipline to be truly present and available. No matter what is going on, making time to unplug and go skate.

Benefits of Family Time
The benefits of quality family time are enumerable. It is no surprise that a variety of studies have been done and articles written that are in favor of families spending time together. Simply stated, family time builds confidence, teaches children about interacting with others, strengthens the connection between parents and children and creates wonderful memories that last a lifetime. According to educator Suzanne Pish of Michigan State University Extension, “ A strong family finds that opportunities for quality time emerge from quantity time: The more time you spend together, the better chance you have of sharing quality experiences.”
This is where skating can come in.
In addition to family bonding, skating together can bring a very important added benefit to family time - physical activity.

The Obama era “Let’s Move” campaign tells us that the best way to increase your family’s physical activity time is to actually schedule it. We schedule everything else, so why not add “family time” to the calendar? “More physical activity” is likely on the list of many individuals and families but that is a pretty vague goal. Goals are best met when they are specific and measurable. So why not add something specific like “Family Skate in the park” with a few “alerts” or reminders set to make sure you keep this most important appointment? No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family.

Now that you have set aside the time, here are a few things to keep in mind to motivate and create an optimal family skating experience:

1.    Why Skate?
Inline skating for fitness, or to increase physical activity time, is the reason why many people choose to skate. Skating is a full-body, easy-on-the-joints activity that can improve cardiovascular respiratory function, muscle strength and endurance and body composition. From the oldest member to the youngest, everyone’s health can benefit!

2.    Great Skates and Gear for Everyone
If you are 4 or 40, your skates must be comfortable and everyone will need a quality pair of inline skates. If anyone’s feet hurt, or the skates just “don’t roll right,” everyone, and I do me EVERYONE, will suffer!
Sure, there are toy skates out there that might work for a few minutes in front of the house or up and down the driveway.  However, if you want a relatively “complain free” skate that lasts more than five minutes, one where everyone is happy and enjoying themselves, you will want skates that fit, are comfortable, and roll with ease for everyone, even the littlest in the family.
When it comes to skates, for the most part, "you get what you pay for" and it is best to find a pair that fit properly and are of high quality. Choosing Rollerblade® brand, of course, is a no-brainer!
Don’t forget the gear! When it comes to protecting your most valuable asset, your children, wearing protective gear must be a “must do.” Wearing full protective gear (helmet, knee pads, elbow pads & wrist guards) Wearing protective gear can increase the amount of confidence your family will have on skates.   The children may protest but if you lead by example, especially with a helmet, it will be an automatic part of the process.

3.    Mastering the Basics
The success of any plan is based on one’s ability to carry it out. You have put “Family Skate” on the calendar and set aside the time, but what if everyone does not know how to skate? Inline skating mirrors many other similar sports activities such as ice skating, roller skating and even skiing, but there are often many more obstacles to be considered such as uneven pavement, hills, cars, etc. that are not an issue in the confines of a rink or even a ski mountain. Mastering some of the basics of moving, stopping (especially stopping!), and turning will give you and your family the confidence to take your skating to the parks and streets where you can skate for longer periods of time increasing your time spent together while improving your level of fitness along the way. Slowly building confidence in negotiating your surroundings while on skates will help ensure that your family time on skates is safe and enjoyable for everyone. Need a little skating help? Watch Rollerblade Tips for Beginners 1 and Tips for Beginners 2 or contact the Inline Certification Program or Skate Instructors Association to find a certified instructor near you!

4.    Finding the best place to skate
Find an area that is “hill free” for those first few skates together. Hills, and even slight declines, can build up speed quickly. Set your family up for success the first time out by choosing a flat surface that's free of debris or cracks, such as an empty parking lot, tennis court or basketball court. Once everyone is comfortable with the basics, your skate together really can be done in a variety of locations. A park trail or path alongside the beach can provide a safe, smooth and predicable course that will allow you to appreciate your time together and the beautiful surroundings.

5.    Families who Skate Together Stay Together Recap
Spending time outdoors is a wonderful way for families to bond while creating healthy habits that last a lifetime. Inline skating is the perfect activity to bring your family together.
Skating is a full-body, easy-on-the-joints family friendly activity that improves multiple health and fitness markers and above all is fun for family members of all ages! Don’t forget to take the time upfront to become familiar with the basics of moving and controlling your speed and you will be amazed by how much fun your “Family Time” will be while building rolling memories to last a lifetime.

Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.   
Regina Brett