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Deep Skate Secrets 2: Lateral Acceleration

Cultivating Lateral Acceleration Is The Secret Sauce.

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What is it, and Why Does it Feel So Good?

What is Lateral Acceleration?

Lateral acceleration, often expressed in “g” units (with 1g equal to the acceleration due to gravity on Earth’s surface), occurs when you make a turn or change direction. We most often experience it via the sideways acceleration a vehicle experiences when it is taking a curve. It’s essentially a measure of the force that occupants inside the vehicle feel pushing them sideways during a turn.

For example, when a car turns a corner at speed, the lateral acceleration pushes the car’s occupants to the side. In racing, lateral acceleration is very important: high-performance vehicles are designed to maintain high speeds in curves, which leads to high lateral accelerations. The ability to generate and withstand high lateral acceleration is indicative of a car’s cornering ability.

It’s also used in the context of roller coasters and other amusement rides, where the lateral acceleration can contribute to the thrilling sensations riders experience. It’s not a sensation we experience often-unless we’re roller skating.

When roller skating, lateral acceleration occurs when you make a turn or change direction. Just like with a vehicle or an airplane, your body experiences a force pushing you towards the outside of the turn. This is the result of inertia: your body wants to keep moving in the original direction even as your skates turn.

When you lean into a turn while roller skating, you’re counteracting this force. Your center of gravity shifts towards the inside of the turn, allowing you to maintain balance and prevent from tipping over towards the outside of the turn. The sharper and faster the turn, the greater the lateral acceleration, and the more you need to lean to counterbalance it. So, if you’ve ever noticed that you naturally lean into a turn when you’re roller skating, that’s your body’s way of managing lateral acceleration! It’s a key part of maintaining control and balance when changing direction at any sort of speed.

Why Does it Feel so Good?

The feeling of lateral acceleration can be exhilarating because it’s both novel and challenging. It’s a uniquely remarkable way to move and rolling on wheels exponentiates this movement. It differs from the everyday experience of moving forward and backward, or up and down. As you become proficient at skating you learn to cultivate this feeling even when you’re not cornering or skating fast. Eventually you only need to slightly shift your weight from side to side to experience the pleasure of this feeling. You’re playing with gravity!

There are physiological and psychological reasons why this feels so good. Firstly, our brains are wired to enjoy new and unique sensations, and the feeling of lateral acceleration certainly falls into that category. It’s not something we experience regularly, especially not at high intensity. This novelty can trigger a release of adrenaline, a hormone that increases heart rate, boosts energy levels, and generally makes us feel excited and alive.

On a physiological level, experiencing lateral acceleration can often feel exhilarating because it stimulates our vestibular system, which is the sensory system responsible for maintaining balance and spatial orientation. This system resides primarily in the inner ear and communicates with the brain to help us know where our bodies are in space. When we experience lateral acceleration, the vestibular system sends signals to the brain which can create feelings of excitement, thrill, and pleasure.

The following quote from SLOMO, a doctor who gave it all up to spend his life roller blading says this about Lateral Acceleration:

“For a while I thought I might be going crazy or something because I’m too happy. I kept waiting for this obsession with skating to differentiate itself into some diagnosible problem. But that was 15 years ago….I realized that there was an aspect to lateral acceleration that made many of us feel good. I studied this and there’s a neurological explanation to this type of thing. Acceleration stimulates a set of receptors in the inner ear, which connect us with the center of the earth by gravity. A piece of calcium sits on a membrane, so that any change in the relative position of gravity will make this stone roll, and therefore there will be some indication that the body is moving relative to the center of the earth.
When I skate the whole idea is to keep a continuous feeling of acceleration. And if you keep it constant the feeling if expansion continues to build. Anything where you can get this lateral acceleration feeling, you can use that for meditation because it puts you in the zone.”


SLOMO and his theory of why skating puts us in the zone:

“But now I experience myself as the tip of a great iceberg of consciousness.”


Check out our past posts for some background on Rhythm/Style Skating & an Intro to Deep Skate Secrets.

Deep Skate Secrets 2: Lateral Acceleration. Women's Recycled Roller Skate Shorts.
How to roller skate. Roller skate secrets.
Roller skate Apparel and Gifts. Women's roller skate leggings. Roller skate shirts.  How to rhythm skate. How to JB skate. How to Snap Roller Skate.

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2 thoughts on “Deep Skate Secrets 2: Lateral Acceleration

  1. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus the rest of the site is also really good.

    1. Hey! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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