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Give Your Child the Gift of Health
Make Exercise Fun with Inline Skates

(ARA) - Studies by the United States Center for Disease Control indicate that more than 15 percent of children aged 6 to 19 are overweight. Television is no longer the main roadblock to healthy children -- the advent of the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging and video games has created a society of inactive children.

Obesity rates continue to grow despite our increased awareness of its harmful health implications, including obesity’s connection to heart disease and diabetes. Furthermore, a recent Norwegian study found that overweight teenagers have a greater chance of dying before reaching 60.

It’s important to get your child active from a young age, and in-line skating is a great way for children to stay fit and have fun. As one of the top aerobic activities, in-line skating burns approximately 350 calories in a 30-minute workout while producing less than half the shock and impact to joints when compared with other physical activities.

However, children usually outgrow sports equipment quickly, which can get rather expensive. But, with the push of a button on the Rollerblade Microblade XT, children have a skate they can keep throughout their growing years, while developing healthy habits that will stay with them forever. Rollerblade's exclusive extendible design allows the skate size to be adjusted through four full sizes to grow with young feet.

In-line skating, like any sport, has basic elements that need to be learned. Once you've purchased a pair of in-line skates for your child, it's important that you take the time to teach her how to operate them properly and safely, so that she can enjoy the benefits of the sport.

Keep the following tips in mind to help your child get started:

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

Mastering a few important skating skills on grass or carpet helps kids get used to the feel of in-line skates before taking to the pavement: Have them walk around with both toes pointed slightly outward -- that is how they'll push off once they're rolling on the pavement. They should also practice balancing on one foot at a time. The better balance becomes, the easier stopping and striding will be.

2. Take a lesson

The best way to start in-line skating is to take a lesson with an instructor. Many shops that carry in-line skates offer instructional clinics, or a friend who skates may be able to teach the basics. Several community or adult educational centers and local retailers also offer lessons. You may even want to purchase instructional materials such as a book or video to introduce your child to the sport.

3. Protect Your Child

You wouldn't let your kid play football without a helmet and padding (ouch!), and you shouldn’t let them in-line skate without wearing a helmet, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads. Wearing full protective gear will greatly decrease the chances of injury while in-line skating and will provide more confidence.

4. Stopping Made Easy

Make sure your child has mastered a stopping technique before heading out to where the action is. Rollerblade's Active Brake Technology is the most technically advanced braking method available on the market today. Here are some tips on how to master braking:

Active Brake Technology ABT offers skaters greater speed control and stopping power. ABT allows skaters to brake while keeping all eight wheels on the ground -- skaters no longer have to lift one foot up to stop. The brake is activated by moving the brake skate forward, which applies pressure on the cuff causing the brake pad to lower. It's easy to use and provides a greater sense of balance and control.

Heel brake: Bend knees, hold arms slightly in front of body, tip the toe of the brake foot upward and apply pressure to the brake until stopped.

5. Balance

Progress to the pavement and practice balance before you start rolling: Stand with your feet even and about four to six inches apart, arms slightly in front of the body and knees bent so shins touch the tongue of skates. Weight should be balanced on the balls of the feet. A common mistake beginners make is standing up straight with their knees locked or balancing their weight on their heels.

6. Skate Alert

Kids should avoid hills and declines when starting out. They can build up speed on even a slight decline, so they need to feel confident in their braking ability before they head for the hills. Find a flat surface that's free of debris or cracks, such as an empty parking lot, tennis court or basketball court. If kids skate in the streets they are considered a vehicle and must obey traffic laws. They should skate on their right; pass on their left,.announce their intentions by saying, "passing on your left," and always yield to pedestrians.

7. Skate Maintenance

Check the owner's manual for information on rotating wheels and care of bearings, or have skates tuned up at a service center in a local sporting goods store. Remember, skating in water or sand can damage bearings and hurt skate performance. Stick to dry pavement.

For more information on beginners’ tips or to locate a dealer for the Microblade XT, please contact Rollerblade at (800) 232-ROLL or log on to www.rollerblade.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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