In-line skating (often called "rollerblading", which is the trademark of the industry leader, or simply, "blading") actually began in 1823 in London, England, though it didn't catch on at the time. In-line skating in its modern form began as a way for hockey players and cross-country skiers to train in the summer, and exploded in the early 1980's because of the newer soft polyurethane wheels. Some variations include roller hockey, slalom racing, trickblading, and freestyle blading.
In-line skating is a good way to condition and tone your butt, quads, calves, hamstrings and abdomen.
In-line skating equipment begins with the boots. Most blades now have a pivoting heel stop, with varying mechanisms for quick braking. There are also several fastening systems, including laces, Velcro and buckles. Try them on for comfort, and make sure you can easily stop. Ask if you can take them for a quick spin, outside or around the store.
Everyone needs a helmet, elbow pads, wrist protectors and knee pads. Don't be tempted to blade without helmet and pads because falling is inevitable. And since most blading is done on asphalt or concrete paths, they are your only protection from serious scrapes and cuts. If you already have a helmet for your bike, you can use it for blading.
NOTE: If you are using the in-line skates for rollerhockey, tell the salesperson. Rollerhockey skates have a different set-up, a stronger chassis, and different wheels than recreational in-line skates.
Niagara's summer weather and terrain provide good conditions for blading. Caution: in wet weather, your wheels and brakes can become very slippery and dangerous.
Some US parks have paved pathways suitable for inline skating: