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For readers who have not been following my quest for abs of steel, I thought I would give you a quick rundown on my journey thus far.

In January 2007, I made a few resolutions that I thought would improve the quality of my life. Now that it is a year later, I thought I should see how well I’ve done.

First, I swore to give up Pop Tarts, as I felt that they were a major stumbling block to my desire to look like a supermodel. I am happy to report that I have ingested only one strawberry frosted tart in the past two months, so I feel that I have done OK on that front.

Second, I wanted to de-clutter my counter because I thought it would make me more organized and thus a better person. Well, it’s as messy as ever and let’s just say I am organization- challenged.

Third, I wanted to spend more quality time with my friends and family. I’m doing all right on this, although I have had a few friends move away and my favorite sister left for Virginia, so my ocean of available quality-time possibilities is now a pond.

Last is my vow for improved health and fitness. I have tried many things in my quest for fitness, which has made it fun and easy to stick with. OK, maybe not easy, but I haven’t been bored. I have lost a few pounds, just in time to gain it back during the holiday season, and I think I have increased my muscle mass — I opened a pickle jar the other day and I didn’t even need the jar gripper thing.

OK, I digress — on to the mode of fitness choice of the week. This week I decided to combine a family activity with fitness, and I threw in a little nostalgia for good measure. I went, with Bob and the kids, to Roll-On America in Lancaster, Mass. I grew up in this area and I used to frequent Roll-On when I was in middle school. Although I told my husband that I never “saw” anyone else before we met, I did have my first “date” there and I remember “skate/dancing” to the Commodore’s “She’s a Brick House.”

I have to say, I don’t remember whether roller skating was good exercise as a kid, because I was concentrating so hard on not crashing into other people or walls. So, I did a little research. Sports medicine specialist Dr. Allen Selner has concluded, “that roller skating is equivalent to jogging in terms of its health benefits — caloric consumption, reduction of body fat and leg strength development.” A 1985 Consumer Product Safety Commission study stated, “Roller skating is almost twice as safe as a playground, three times safer than football and baseball, and five times safer than bicycling.” Another important tidbit — roller skating can burn up to 600 calories in one hour. That is equivalent to two Pop Tarts (that is, if I was going to eat them, which I’m not!)

So, on a typhoon-like Saturday afternoon, Bob and I went to Roll-On with Jill, Sam and Lorelei in tow. Jill and Sam did pretty well — they are both fairly athletic and Sam has a kamikaze-like attitude that allows him to go full speed ahead with reckless abandon. Lorelei, on the other hand, was more interested in the variety of lip gloss they had in the prize case at the front. She probably would have stayed there with her nose pressed against the glass case all afternoon if we hadn’t dragged her to get her skates on.

Bob and I took turns skating near our older two while the other pulled Lorelei along; when left to her own devices, she resembled Bambi in his first day on the ice. We skated on and off for about two hours and had a lot of fun. They didn’t play the Commodores, but I did hear my fair share of Hannah Montana songs and they threw in the “Chicken Dance” and the “Hokey Pokey” for good measure.

As for a workout, I can tell you that as I sit here typing, there are a few muscles in my body that are a little sore, especially my hips and thighs. My arm muscles are also twingeing from using my airplane arms that I thought would keep me from careening into a wall. It is also definitely a cardiovascular workout, as evidenced by the heavy breathing and the sweat that was exuding from Sam, my speed demon.

I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What would we have been doing for the past two hours if we didn’t come here? Watch TV? Wash dishes? Do laundry?” I felt that skating at Roll-On was a much better use of our quality time together.

Robin Scott, Roll-On’s marketing and sales director, told me about a new slogan they are standing behind. “Roll-On America — Making family time active time.”

“We really encourage families to come and spend time together in a safe, fun and active environment,” Scott said. “We value fitness and are so happy when we see people smile when they leave after an afternoon or night of skating with family and friends.”

Roll-On America has a lot of public skating times and other special deals and programs that they run. For more information on their offerings visit www.rollonamerica.com. As an added bonus, bring this article in from now until Jan. 31, 2008 and receive free admission to skate those pounds away!

Join me next time as my 8-year-old and I try out something new.

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