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Amanda 09-20-2004 09:21 PM


October is National Roller Skating Month, and 2004 NBA Slam Dunk Champion Fred Jones is teaming up with the Roller Skating Association International to remind kids of all ages that roller skating is a fun and effective way to stay in shape and live a healthy lifestyle. In the campaign, Jones names speed skating as a factor in his 2004 NBA Slam Dunk Championship and his role with the Eastern Conference Champion Indiana Pacers.

"My parents used to take us to the roller skating rink at least twice a week when we were younger," Jones said. "Some guy saw me skating and asked my mom if I could try speed skating. I did that for two years from the time I was 6 until I was 8. And it got my legs really strong."

According to Jones, the experience helped strengthen his leg muscles and paved the way for a successful college career at Oregon and now coming off the bench with the Pacers. Jones is known as a quick, athletic player, earning national attention with his victory at the 2004 Slam Dunk Contest during the NBA's All-Star Weekend  an accomplishment that's even more impressive considering Jones is only 6'2"!

Roller skating is more than a strength exercise for athletes like Jones; it's an effective low-impact aerobic exercise that kids of all ages and skill levels can enjoy. That's why Jones is supporting a campaign in schools throughout the country to highlight roller skating as a fun and healthy activity for all young people.

As part of the campaign, middle school children will learn about the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle by fitting in fun ways to get exercise like roller skating. Schools will have Fred Jones posters, curriculum materials and coupons for local skating centers to share with students during the month of October.

"Roller skating has always been a way to socialize, listen to music and play a few video games with your friends," said Dan Brown, president of the Roller Skating Association International. "During National Roller Skating Month this October, we are stressing not only the fun aspects of roller skating, but also the health benefits."

For many years, the President's Council on Physical Fitness, as well as the American Heart Association, have recognized that roller skating is among the best overall aerobic exercises, involving all the body's muscles, including the heart. Studies show that skating is equivalent to jogging in terms of calorie burning and fat reduction; just an hour of vigorous skating can burn up to 590 calories in a 150-pound person.

Roller skating indoors provides a safe, fun way to stay in shape and makes for a stronger and better body. "It's also a great place to hang out with your friends, hear some good music and maybe even meet your first girlfriend," said Jones with a smile.

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