We all know how much time and effort it takes to get into shape, in fact under NHS guidelines we should be aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Making that much time for the gym is hard to keep up so how can we build fitness into our daily routine? More than ever the challenge is to find a way to move more in a way that you enjoy in order to look after your long term well being. Perhaps an adult scooter is the answer? Let’s find out.
Is Kick-Scootering Good for Fitness?
It’s time to ask a pro for some kick-scooter science! We caught up with personal trainer and kick-scooterer Alex Lawson for his insight. Alex uses his kick-scooter for commuting and getting around London, he gave up driving and cycling his commute in favour of the foldable adult scooter, the SwiftyONE. Having clocked up some serious mileage, Alex has helped us to identify the key fitness benefits of kick-scootering.
“I must have done at least a thousand miles on my Swifty. I’ve been scooting for about a year and a half, five days a week, where I was doing anywhere between 5 and 10 K a day.” - Alex Lawson, Personal Trainer, Kick-Boxer, London Kick-Scooter rider
Charlotte Gilmartin on the SwiftyZERO, the adult fitness scooter.
Low Impact and Variable Cardio
Scooting is a form of low impact cardio – meaning it won’t strain your joints as you maintain an increased heart rate. It also offers variable cardio, you can mix up your training by switching between a steady paced cardiovascular workout and HIIT training. For cardio, we’d recommend 4/5 long kicks evenly on each leg. You can make it as hard or easy as you like.
HIIT Training with an Adult Scooter
For HIIT (high-intensity interval training), we’d recommend finding an appropriate hill, scooting up, rolling down, scooting up, rolling down. Try 3 short kicks on each side. This type of training provides a High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT, which is proven to burn more fat in less time. By raising the footplate height, you can make the scooting work out a bit more strenuous. You can do this by selecting a different type of tyre, an extra 10mm by picking off-road tyres will make it harder to scoot, and therefore making it more demanding. This way you’ll be able to hit your maximum heart rate quicker.
Fun and Easy – Stay Motivated
Scooting can offer a fun way to incorporate exercise into your day-to-day life. It’s a form of active travel, so use a kick-scooter as motivation to replace the car on those short journeys. Easy wins like this help to keep you motivated! You can start using a scooter as part of your commute or for the school run, for example. It’s faster than walking and super convenient whatever your ability - just step on and go!
Standing not Sitting
Finding a sport that doesn’t involve sitting is a great way to counteract our sedentary lifestyles. If your job involved a lot of sitting, you need to think about looking after your core strength for your long term well-being.
“Most people spend a lot of their day hunched over computers or a desk, we spend a lot of time in the flex position. Scooting gives that added bonus of being nice and upright with your shoulders back, engaging those core muscles as you scoot.” – Alex Lawson.
Scooting is a holistic lower-body workout, as many different muscle groups are targeted during the medial (forward and backwards) motion of the kicking leg, and during the dip of the standing leg. For fitness, scooting comes in between cycling and running.
Toby Olubi on the SwiftyZERO, the adult fitness scooter.
Which muscle groups are targeted?
Scooting can be used as a complimentary workout to other sports, as it works the whole of the lower body and parts of the upper body. It’s not just the leg you use for kicking that does all the work. The leg that stands on the footplate carries your body weight and stabilizes you. This engages all the muscles from the foot and up through the standing leg as well as through the hips into the core trunk muscles.
“I feel that scooting offers a lot more compared to cycling and running.” – Alex Lawson.
It’s also important to know that scooting does not just train one leg: you should make sure you switch evenly. In an interview with Swifty, Alex Lawson said, “Most of us are either left or right footed and have a dominant leg. It takes some time to get used to distribute it evenly, but it’s important to use both legs while scooting."
1. The Lower Body (Quads, Glutes, Hamstring, Calves and the Soleus)
There are two things happening during a kick. Your standing leg is working as you bend at the beginning of the kick. Your quads, glutes and core are engaged. Meanwhile the kicking leg is working forwards and backwards, liberating the hip flexor and hamstring. Scooting gives a bigger range of motion for the glutes, hamstrings and the lower legs compared to cycling. While scooting, you also use your foot muscles, calves and soleus to drive. As you are standing, the workload extends through the glutes and up engaging your core at all times.
Two muscles that are especially hard to stretch and train: the soleus muscle and the glutes. No other sport targets those muscle groups specifically. Scooting gives you the perfect opportunity to easily train as you travel.
2. Hip Flexors
The hip flexor gets a chance to be liberated more while using a kick-scooter. With cycling, you generally keep the knee in front of you. With scooting, the hip flexor gets the chance to fully open through making the full movement with your legs.
3. Core, chest and back
Because of the scooting technique, you also train your core, your back and your chest. By pulling yourself up to the handlebar, the muscles in your chest are forced to work. By kicking your leg backwards, your lower back muscles are also targeted. It’s like a rowing exercise in reverse. Your core muscles are trained through keeping your body upright and stable during the scooting motion.
4. Smaller Interconnecting Muscles
Scooting also helps with your stability and trains the smaller, interconnecting muscles in the knee and ankle. Like a wobble board in the gym, your knee and ankle get destabilised on the board while scooting. Your body, and especially those interconnecting muscle groups, work hard to keep you stabilised. You don’t find this type of training in many other forms of exercise. That’s one of the reason it’s common to get muscle imbalances from other sports.
Training one repetitive form of movement can cause muscle imbalance because the smaller muscle groups are not being trained properly. Scooting uses your whole body and also targets those smaller groups, making it a perfect complimentary form of exercise to add to your already existing workout routine. Our Swiftys are being used by professional athletes, ice skaters, bobsledders, football teams, basketball teams and martial artists as a complementary addition to their fitness routines.
Charlotte Gilmartin on the SwiftyZERO, the adult fitness scooter.
The Kick-Scooter Workout
Here are our tips for how to warm up to prepare, and cool down after your kick-scooter workout.
Scooter Workout Warm-Up
Even if you’re only using your scooter to commute or bring the kids to school, it’s important to do a quick warm up before scooting. It is still exercising! Warming up your muscles and loosening your joints is important to prevent injuries.
A warm-up doesn’t have to take long. The warm-up that Alex Lawson shared with us on our YouTube channel only takes 40 seconds.
More on our Youtube channel: HOW TO WARM UP BEFORE A KICK-SCOOTER WORKOUT by Alex Lawson
- Start with loosening the joints. The main joints that are being used while riding a scooter are the wrists and ankles. Simply move your feet and hands around to get the blood flowing in those areas.
- Stretch open your hand a few times to make sure your brake hand is working properly.
- Fire up the calves, engaging the soleus. You can do this by moving from your tiptoes to putting your feet flat on the floor a few times.
- Then, do a few small midpoint squads to engage the glutes.
- After that, you can do a few alternate forward hamstring pop-outs to warm up the hamstrings.
- And lastly, you can roll back your shoulders a few times to loosen up the muscles in your back and shoulders.
Scooter Workout Ideas
Because of the versatile nature of scooting, there are no set rules for a kick-scooter workout. You can adjust it to the exact kind of exercise you need. Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started. Feel free to combine both types of training or adjust it to your fitness goals and needs.
Scooting can be the perfect cardio workout, whilst also training your muscles. If you’re looking to use your scooter for cardiovascular training, we’d recommend finding a flat terrain and scoot for about 20-30 minutes. Make sure to remember switching legs every 4/5 kicks to train your body evenly and avoid muscle imbalance. Get your heart rate up and burn those calories!
Another way of using your kick-scooter is for HIIT training. High-intensity interval training is a training technique that’s grown in popularity. In this form of exercise, you alternate short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less heavy recovery periods. To use a scooter for HIIT training, you’d ideally scoot on hilly terrain. Try to scoot up the hill with 3 short kicks on each leg before switching, and use the descent as a recovery period.
Scooter Workout Cool Down
A quick cool down after using your scooter is always recommended to give your muscles a chance to relax and prevents your blood pressure from dropping too quickly. It allows your heart rate to gradually slow down, rather than it dropping rapidly which can cause dizziness. You don’t have to hold these poses for as long as you can, just 7-10 seconds per stretch is enough to help your muscles recover for the next day.
More on our Youtube channel: HOW TO COOL DOWN AFTER A KICK-SCOOTER WORKOUT by Alex Lawson
- Start with the quads on the front leg. Grab your foot around the ankle from behind. Keep your knees aligned and pull your heel into your back. Keep your spine nice and straight.
- Then move to some hamstring stretches. There are many different ways to stretch the hamstrings, so you want to find a way that’s easier for you. One way is to move one leg forward while keeping your knees aligned. One knee extends while one knee bends.
- After that, the glutes. Once again, there are many different ways to stretch the glutes. One of them is to stand up straight, cross one leg over your knee and sit your hips back. Keep the upper body straight and repeat with your other leg.
- Calves are next. One way to stretch the calves is to face a wall with one leg toward, one leg a bit further back. Lean on your hands against the wall and press your heel into the floor.
- Next up are the hip flexors. Extend your legs, raise your hand up and lean to the side to extend and stretch the small batch of muscles.
- The upper back needs a bit of attention as well after working those muscles. Open up your arms and reach forward, like you are hugging someone. After a couple of seconds, open up and stretch out.
- Your forearms will need some stretching too, especially if you’ve been out scooting for a long time or if you’ve been gripping your hands tightly to the handlebars. Stretch out the flexors and extensors by straightening your arm and pulling back your fingers.
How to choose the right adult scooter for fitness?
If you’re going to use a scooter for fitness, look for comfort, find a scooter that’s designed for adults and is comfortable for long distances. You should also consider:
- A long wheel-base that provides stability, you won’t want the risk of any nose-dive accidents that are common on kids scooters during your scooter workout.
- Pneumatic tyres and larger wheels – these provide a smooth ride, anything with hard wheels will be rattley which will seriously encroach on the fun factor.
- Weight – look for something light and nimble – an aluminium frame that is nice and stiff transfers your energy into speed.
- Handlebar height – for the upright standing position, make sure your handlebars are not too high and not too low, something around the height of your hipbone should be comfortable.
- The strength of the scooter – look out for the Maximum Load rating of the scooter, this signifies how long your scooter will last and how well built it is.
Our favourite scooter for fitness is the SWIFTY ZERO adult scooter. It ticks all the boxes as it is light and nimble, only weighing 8.2KG making it is our lightest and fastest scooter. The low weight aluminium frame makes it easy to transfer energy into speed, but does not compromise on strength, the SwiftyZERO holds a Max Load rating of 150kg. The 16-inch pneumatic tyres and long enough wheelbase allows you to glide across mixed terrain and in any weather, comfort and style.