SALT LAKE CITY — A popular '90s trend is making a comeback this year, thanks to social media platforms like Tik Tok and Reddit. Two Salt Lake women hopped on the train and say Rollerblading also doubles as a fun and safe way to exercise during the pandemic.
When COVID-19 hit last spring, best friends Hannah Owen and Rachelle Riffle needed a new way to hang out.
"I kind of just jokingly said, let's do a Saturday Skate Club!" Hannah Owen said.
"She sent me a link to Rollerblades and I bought them that day … I was all in," Rachelle Riffle said.
Soon enough they were strapping on their blades and hitting the pavement together. Rollerblading as adults is new for both Owen and Riffle and now it's the highlight of their week.
"So much joy, when I have so little to look forward to," Riffle said.
This outdoor, physically distanced activity helps keep them safe. "We don't have to be sitting across from each other, to enjoy each other's company," Owen said. "But we still get a chance to catch up and just like spend some time together. So it feels totally safe."
"This feels like a way I can satisfy my own emotional needs and still keep others safe," Riffle said.
Plus it's good exercise. Intermountain Healthcare's Devin Vance, an exercise physiologist at the Salt Lake LiVe Well Clinic, says any form of exercise that gets your heart rate up is effective.
"So (try) a little bit more nontraditional forms of exercise that we may find really fun," Vance said. "I think this pandemic has given us a pretty good opportunity to try out new things that we never thought of doing before."
"When we go to Liberty Park and get going, I'll be in a cardio heart rate according to my Fitbit," Owen explained.
"I get so sweaty!" Riffle added. "It's been so great to be able to do something physical, do something active, but also that's fun."
Vance also says it makes for good cross-training. "It's a good way to take some stress off your joints. Since it's a low impact activity, obviously, you don't get that same pounding as you do from going on a jog or playing basketball," he explained.
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He encourages people to seek out forms of exercise that increase their blood flow, build their cardiovascular and muscular endurance and improve their balance. "Think of things that maybe you did as a kid that you thought were really fun," he suggested.
Owen's boyfriend Dylan Hansen also joins their Saturday Skate Club. He's learning how to skateboard for the first time!
When Riffle's marathon got canceled this year due to the pandemic, she was grateful to have another form of exercise to turn to.
Vance says it's important to exercise all the time, but it especially during a pandemic — it produces endorphins.
"The more active that we are, the more that we get those happy hormones flowing throughout the body," he said.
Owen says it's easy to be intimidated. "Especially if you're like picking up a new hobby after you've turned 30, it can be really scary and daunting," she said.
But she tells other beginners to remember to keep the big picture in mind.
"I'm not gonna be awesome and going and doing tons of tricks at the skate park. But, that's not the point. The point is, 'Are you having fun? Are you moving your body?'" Owen said. "Just grab a pair of skates and go!"
They both got a pair of new in-line skates for under $150 and encourage people to also wear a helmet and protective gear.