8 Health Benefits of Roller Skiing (No Snow Required)

by Anthony Schwabe | Updated: September 20th, 2023 |  Skiing Articles

Most of us have heard of the different types of skiing, from cross-country to freestyle, but there's one missing. I’d be willing to bet most people wouldn’t have ever heard of roller skiing or its many benefits. 

Roller skiing is an excellent full-body workout with a host of benefits. These benefits include increased cardiovascular health, improved fitness, the promotion of fat loss, and an increase in the muscle around the entire body. Roller skiing is also a great activity used to develop skiing skills without the need for snow.

Roller Ski

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Let’s go over some of the basic questions about roller skiing, and why you should consider taking up this unique sport.

What is Roller Skiing?


Roller skiing is the combination of cross-country skiing and rollerblading. It was first introduced in Europe as far back as the 1930s. Its conception came as a result of the desire for skiers to train and practice even without snow. Even cross-country Olympic skiers implement roller skiing because of the benefits that translate over to actual skiing. 

Although roller skiing was created as a training tool during the summer months, as its popularity increased it became a sport of its own, particularly in places where snow isn’t readily available. Nowadays there are even roller ski competitions across the globe. The biggest of such events is the Alliansloppet, which is hosted in the Swedish city of Trollhättan every year. 

8 Benefits of Roller Skiing: 

There’s a reason people have taken to roller skiing, even those who don’t use it as a training tool. Let’s go over some of the best benefits of roller skating. 

1. It Improves Cardiovascular Health

Roller skiing, like cross-country skiing, is a serious workout. It falls into the aerobic category of working out, making it hugely beneficial for your cardiovascular health. Your lungs and heart will get a great workout, regardless of how intensely you choose to roller ski.

The benefits this way are similar to those of jogging and walking but to an even greater level. Roller skiing requires movement from both the arms and legs, unlike simply walking or running. By getting your arms involved, you hugely increase the amount of work your cardio system needs to do, even at relatively low-intensity levels.

2. It’s A Full Body Workout

Not only is roller skiing a great cardio workout, but it develops almost the entire muscular system of the body. You’d be hard-pressed to find a muscle that isn’t targeted in some way from a decent roller skiing workout. 


Much like Nordic walking, the arms and legs will get a serious workout, but that’s just the beginning. 

The entire core and back muscle groups are required to maintain an efficient and smooth movement. These muscle groups also worked a lot just to keep you stable. Anyone who’s spent a long day on the slopes will know just how much every muscle gets worked.  It also makes you much fitter as a result of being cardio.

3. It’s Easy On the Joints

For anyone wanting to get fit and healthy, running, jogging, and even skipping can be great options on their own. Unfortunately, many of us have reached an age where we need to consider our joint health - myself included!

Jogging can be particularly taxing on the knees, especially for anyone who hasn’t run in a long time. With roller skiing, this doesn’t have to be a concern. The movement is smooth and pain-free for almost everyone. Even those of us with existing injuries could get some benefit out of the low-impact movement roller skiing consists of. 

4. Anyone Can Do it

roller skiing, athlete, sportswoman

Roller skiing is a great exercise for any and everyone. From young kids to the elderly, roller skiing is not only possible but fun too! The only caveat to this is that knowing how to ski already can make it easier and even then it’s not a huge barrier to entry like some other activities. 

There is no real issue for most people, regardless of age, height, weight, or fitness level. It might take some a bit longer than others to get the hang of the movement and balance, but that’s about it! This also makes it great for the whole family as everyone from the kids to grandparents can join in at their own pace without much worry. 

5. You Can Do it Anywhere

Unlike traditional alpine and cross-country skiing, you don’t need snow to roller ski. It can be enjoyed day in, and day out, no matter the weather. 

This makes it absolutely amazing for anyone wanting to practice their skiing, should they live in a country that doesn’t have year-round snow or even snow at all!  All you really need to get started is a set of roller skis and ski poles.

Beginners should start out on flatter terrain while they get the hang of the movement, but that’s about it. The more adventurous and skilled can tackle some steep hills to get a serious speed boost more akin to real skiing. Just be sure to always wear a helmet!

6. It’s a Great Way to Unwind

It’s no secret that exercise is a great way to unwind and destress. This is particularly true of cardio workouts as they release plenty of feel-good chemicals in the brain. A problem a lot of people have with other forms of cardio exercise is that it can be somewhat boring or repetitive. Many people are used to walking all the time, so to add even more walking as exercise isn’t what they want. 

Roller skiing is very fun, meaning you can spend a much longer time doing it without getting a feeling of boredom.  A solid roller skiing session can require a lot of energy and this release of excess energy can also alleviate anxiety in some people. 


7. It Helps to Train for Skiing

This is a bit of an obvious benefit, but because roller skiing mimics cross-country skiing, it has a lot of carry-over to the real thing. You develop many of the same skills required to perform well in cross-country and even alpine skiing. 

Things like agility, endurance, technique, and stability are all trained throughout a good roller skiing session. There’s a reason even the professionals use it as a training tool when there isn’t any snow around. 

8. It’s Great for Fat Loss

Roller skiing is a great way to burn calories and lose fat. Walking and running are some of the best ways to increase calorie expenditure for fat loss, but many people find them dull and repetitive. 

Roller skiing can mimic a similar level of intensity that is achieved from long, slow walks, meaning it also results in a similar fat-loss workout. Again, it is also very easy on the joints. This makes it a hugely invaluable tool for anyone with knee issues that prevent them from doing more traditional cardio exercises like walking or jogging. 

 Is Roller Skiing Good Exercise? 

Roller Skiing
Photo by Eugene Kim licensed under CC BY 2.0

Roller skiing makes for a truly killer workout! The entire body is taxed after a solid roller skiing session. What makes it such good exercise is that it hits every area of the body, from all the major muscle groups to the cardiovascular system - the system that incorporates our heart health. 

Even at lower intensities, it can improve your heart health, and fitness levels, and promote fat loss. At higher intensities, your muscles will burn as your fitness levels skyrocket. Pretty soon you should see your arms, legs, back, and core all tighten and tone up. 

To Conclude

Created as a way to train for cross-country skiing without the need for snow, roller skiing is an excellent tool that has been used to gain a competitive edge, and more recently recreationally. There is a wide range of benefits of roller skiing besides simply developing skiing skills. 

Almost every aspect of physical fitness is improved by roller skiing. What is even better about roller skiing is that is appropriate for almost everyone. All you need is a set of roller skis and ski poles and you’re good to go!