The model said she was inspired to bust out her old rollerblades after she "heard some teens on TikTok" were catching on to the retro trend.

By Faith Brar
July 23, 2020
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Ashley Graham poses while visiting the Revlon Ultra Rollerama booth during 2019 Lollapalooza day three at Grant Park on August 03, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois
Credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

In addition to being a body-positive queen, Ashley Graham is the ultimate badass in the gym. Her workout routine is no walk in the park and her Instagram is proof. A quick scroll through her feed and you'll find countless videos of her pushing sleds, trying cool fitness equipment, and doing glute bridges with sandbags (even when her sports bra refuses to cooperate).

The model isn't afraid to try new things, either—remember when she proved that aerial yoga is way harder than it looks?

Now, Graham has picked up another fitness interest (fitnessterest?): roller skating. In a new Instagram post, the model shared a video of herself skating in a park, presumably close to her parents' house in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she's been quarantining during COVID-19. The short clip shows Graham casually skating and grooving to some chill tunes, dressed in a white tank top layered over a purple sports bra, paired with classic black biker shorts. (Related: Ashley Graham Can't Stop Talking About This Sports Bra That's Specifically Designed for Big Boobs)

Turns out, Graham has been lacing up her rollerblades and heading out into the sun between Zoom meetings, she shared in the post's caption. The best part? She's been using a pair of skates she's owned since high school. "Shout out to my class of '05," she wrote, adding that roller skating is now her "new (technically old) obsession."

There's no denying that Graham makes roller skating look like a ton of fun, but does it actually count as exercise? Experts say heck yes. "Roller skating can be a super-effective endurance, strength, and muscle development workout," says Beau Burgau, C.S.C.S., strength coach and founder of GRIT Training.

From a strength perspective, roller skating mainly targets the lower body, working your quads, glutes, hip flexors, and lower back, explains Burgau. But it also challenges your core. "You have to use your core to stabilize yourself, which in turn helps improve your balance, control, and coordination," says the trainer. (Here's why core strength is so important.)

In terms of endurance, roller skating is a seriously effective aerobic exercise, not to mention a low-impact cardio workout, adds Burgau. Translation: fewer risks for injuries compared to other forms of cardio, such as running. "Skating is a fluid motion," explains Burgau. "If your form is correct, it's much easier on your joints compared to running, where the repetitive, pounding motion can be hard on your hips and knees."

The best part? To reap these benefits, you don't have to worry too much about your intensity, says Burgau. "Similar to running, it's hard to sustain a sprint while skating," he explains. "So finding a consistent speed that keeps your heart rate up is perfect."

For more of a challenge, try interval "sprints" with your roller skates, suggests Burgau. "A 1:3 work-to-rest ratio will get your heart pumping and kick up the intensity if that's what you're looking for," he says. (Related: Interval Training Workouts for When You're Super Short On Time)

But before you grab your skates, make sure you have proper protective gear. Regardless of whether you're a roller skating expert or novice, wearing a helmet (and, for good measure, elbow pads and knee pads) while you skate is key. ICYDK, head injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in crashes related to roller skating (in addition to cycling, skateboarding, and riding a scooter), according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Bottom line: You can never be too safe. (Related: This Smart Cycling Helmet Is About to Change Bike Safety Forever)

That said, as long as you're being responsible, roller skating can be a great cardio alternative to activities like running, cycling, or even the elliptical—and its benefits go beyond just getting in your cardio. "Skating requires a mind-body connection because it's a learned skill," explains Burgau. "Walking and running come more naturally and instinctually, but since roller skating is a learned motion, it keeps you present and in the moment, making it a great way to practice mindfulness."

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