A lot of people who are looking to get into inline skating who are a little bit older will ultimately run into the question of, “am I too old to learn how to inline skate?”
The assumption behind this question, of course, is the old saying; you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This saying is so popular because there is a very common misconception that when people get older, it’s very hard for them to pick up new information. The reason for this has more to do with attitude and mental programming rather than a mental competence or intelligence.
According to scientists, people actually get smarter as they get older. Their ability to make connections and draw inferences, as well as trust their intuition actually increases over time. The more experiences they get the better choices they make generally speaking. With everything else being equal, age actually helps intelligence.
So where does this idea of you can’t teach an old dog new tricks come from? Well, it has something to do with the observable fact that as people get older, the more they rely on past assumptions. In other words, the brain focuses so much on efficiency that it is almost dependent on looking at past patterns and making an instant judgment based on those patterns.
Compare this with a young person’s decision making process which normally looks at the phenomenon or the principle on a firsthand basis. In other words, this person makes less assumptions and just focuses on what he or she can see right in front of him or her to make a decision. They are more open to the actual details of a particular situation before they can make up their minds.
This is a very big difference because when it comes to new information, a lot of the times, you really can’t apply old patterns. In many cases, you’re dealing with something fairly new and you would need to be a little bit more curious and look at things based on how they actually operate as far as your experience in the here and now goes.
Your past experience can only go so far. In many cases, it’s totally inapplicable to the new phenomenon you are observing. This is why old people have a tough time incorporating new information. It’s not that they are unable to process that information.
In fact, information that they already know is handled quite well. They are experts in the stuff that they already know that when they are faced with new experiences, new opportunities, and new ways of doing things, that they tend to stumble. This is really all a failure of curiosity.
So if you have a lot of years under your belt, it only means that you have to be more open minded. That’s all it means. So if you are asking yourself if you’re too old to inline skate, just entertain your sense of curiosity.
The good news is everybody has a sense of curiosity. Just as we all have unlimited imagination and creativity, you can tap your sense of curiosity as well as your sense of possibility to not only learn how to inline skate, but have a great time.
Preparing Yourself to Learn Inline Skating
Regardless of your age, if you’re preparing to learn inline skating, you need to take the proper precautions. First, you need to invest in a good helmet. When you’re trying to learn expect, that you will fall. There will be many spills. This is part of the learning curve.
If you’re a little bit older, you already know this. If you remember the first time you tried to ride a bike, it probably wasn’t very pretty the first few times. Eventually, you reach a point where you no longer needed help and you can then safely take off the training wheels.
You can do the same with inline skates. You just have to have the right helmet as well as other protective gear like wrist guards, elbow pads, shin pads, knee pads, so on and so forth. When you have all these crash padding, falling down and hurting yourself don’t have to go hand in hand.
Expect to fall down quite a bit but since you’re older, you would have an easier time learning from your past mistakes. It’s much easier for you to connect dots, find the pattern, and move your body in such a way that you’re able to achieve balance sooner rather than later. Use protective gear. This applies across the board. It doesn’t matter how old you are.
However, older people are especially sensitive to this if you are aged 50 and over. Your joints can only take so much punishment as you get older. Also, your bones become more brittle. This is especially true if you are female. Older females are more prone to osteoporosis.
When you’re trying to learn how to inline skate, you have to remember that it’s harder to fall if your center of gravity is lower. Remember that this is why it’s a good idea to crouch a little bit as you try to get your balance. This way, you can catch your balance if you’re beginning to tip or fall. Also, it minimizes the likelihood that you would tip and lose your balance.
By keeping your knees slightly bended, you can avoid getting thrown off and falling to the side. It’s also a good idea to pay close attention to your center of gravity and your body weight. The biggest hurdle in learning how to inline skate, is to get your balance using the skates. You have to understand that the skates that you are using have a line of wheels that are straight. That’s all you are resting your weight on. The skates need quite a bit of getting used to.
Obviously, you’re used to your shoes which distribute your foot and your body weight evenly. Now you’re using skates where you have to line up your body weight according to those straight lines. This requires you to get accustomed to proper weight distribution. But focusing on where your body weight is tilting and focusing on your center of gravity, you can make this process of aligning your body weight to achieve balance much more conscious, more predictable, and ultimately easier.
Compare this with somebody who’s just struggling not to fall but has no clue regarding the center of gravity, as well as body tilting. That person is basically just randomly experimenting shifting his or her feet and his or her body weight. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
But if you don’t know what to focus on, chances are quite high that you would make a mistake. Chances are quite high that you would tip over and you wouldn’t know what to do so pay attention to the center of gravity and how your body weight is tipping so you can transfer the distribution of your body weight accordingly. This enables you to overcome the biggest challenge of rollerblading fairly quickly.