Even though skateboarding has a careless reputation associated, in reality, it’s actually quite the opposite. Skaters need to take care of their body and mind. To perform at the best of their ability and overcome the hurdles that come in their way, in skating as in life.
But skateboarding teaches a plethora of valuable lessons that can easily translate into day-to-day life. Through regular practice, skateboarding brings long-term physical, psychological and social benefits.
According to a recent study of 13-25 year olds by the Pullias Center for Higher Education at USC’s Rossier School of Education, skateboarding builds critical thinking skills and improve the ability to build relationships. Skaters use skateboarding as an outlet for stress, feel safer and inclusive.
Here are 15 reasons skateboarding can be good for your mental health.
- 1 1. Skateboarding Is a Fun Way of Working Out
- 2 2. Skateboarding is Family
- 3 3. Skateboarding Helps to Manage Anxiety
- 4 4. Skateboarding Helps to Overcome Your Fears
- 5 5. Skateboarding is Creativity
- 6 6. Skateboarding Teaches Resilience
- 7 7. Skateboarding Is a Mindful Activity
- 8 8. Skateboarding Teaches Patience
- 9 9. Skateboarding Increases Self-Esteem
- 10 10. Skateboarding is a Lifestyle
- 11 11. It Keeps You Active, Regardless Of Age
- 12 12. It Teaches You To Be Supportive
- 13 13. You Get To teach Your Kids
- 14 14. Skateboarding Keeps You Young
- 15 15. Skateboarding Provides Safety and Inclusiveness
1. Skateboarding Is a Fun Way of Working Out
Skateboarding can be a great way to get back in shape. It’s a lot more fun to cruise around on your deck than to do tedious physical activities such as running or cycling. Despite what many would think, skateboarding burns between 400 and 800 calories an hour skating.
Like most physical activities, skating improves overall brain function. It boosts the blood flow in your brain, which leads to an increase in decision-making, creativity and memory.
On the mental health side, riding your board releases endorphins in your brain, which leads to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as preventing depression symptoms.
But skateboarding is a lot more than just a sport and can have unsuspected benefits to your mental health.
2. Skateboarding is Family
Aside from the practice itself, skateboarding is an amazing way of socializing. You’ll make new friends and develop existing relationships all because of a simple piece of wood with 4 wheels attached to it.
Through skating, you’ll meet people from all ages, ethnicity and social status. This way, you’ll have more in common with a skater on the other side of the globe than with your own neighbors.
Ultimately, skateboarding is a community eager to welcome anyone. If you’re in a dark place mentally and isolated, skateboarding can help fill up that void.
Some could even argue that a skateboard is a friend which you can play and hang out with.
3. Skateboarding Helps to Manage Anxiety
Skateboarding reduces anxiety by the simple fact it constantly puts you in anxiety inducing situation. If you’re hooked and want to progress, there’s no other way but to confront fear. It forces you to gain control over your own thoughts, which is effective for people who ruminate and overthink a lot.
Through focus and dedication, skateboarding forces you to put aside your limiting beliefs and fears to make your dreams come true.
If we go back to the example of a skater jumping down a massive set of stairs. While trying the trick, he knows he can get hurt a bunch of different ways. But he chooses to put all that aside, believing in his ability and choosing not to be controlled by his fear.
4. Skateboarding Helps to Overcome Your Fears
No one ever stepped on a board for the first time without feeling the fear of hurting themselves. No matter how long you’ve been skateboarding, the fear is always present in the back of your mind, when you’re trying new tricks or riding new spots. The scariest try is always the first one.
Contrary to popular belief, skaters aren’t daredevils. They’re taking, what we’d like to call, calculated risks. When you see someone jumping down 10 stairs, he isn’t careless nor suicidal. They built up to the trick and jumped down gaps hundreds, if not thousands, of times before.
Once you’ve conquered a trick that scared you, the fear will diminish until it becomes as trivial as walking, well… to some extent.
5. Skateboarding is Creativity
Skateboarding doesn’t have any rules or limitations, with the street for only fields. Sure, there might be trends such as tricks that every skater wants to learn, others that get hated on, or a certain fashion attached to the typical skater look. But by definition, skating is anti-conformist.
The way you do tricks and the style you showcase matters a lot more than the tricks themselves. Creativity rules skateboarding. It’s all about expressing yourself and testing fresh ways to have fun with your board.
Like other type of arts, skateboarding helps disconnect from stress, express our inner thoughts, and even meditate.
6. Skateboarding Teaches Resilience
Few sports can compare to skateboarding on the value of resilience. Falling and getting back up is an inherent part of skating.
Sure enough, trials and errors are the only way to progress in any activities. Repeating the same movements, again and again, in order to master the techniques. In tennis, for instance, failing would be hitting the net or missing the court.
However, skateboarding is 95% failing. And every single one of these failed attempts can hurt you. Mentally, physically, or both. In this sense, one of the first thing a new skater might have to learn is perseverance.
The resilience learned through skating translates into life in the ability to bounce back after experiencing difficulty and be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
7. Skateboarding Is a Mindful Activity
In a society where we’re constantly looking at screens, bombarded with information—worrying about what we did or didn’t do yesterday, about what we need to do tomorrow—skateboarding grounds you in the present.
When skating, troubles and stress almost instantly vanish, your mind being way too focused on your board and body to keep on worrying and ruminating.
In this sense, we can safely assume that aside from the physical benefits, skating encapsulates some benefits of mindfulness as well such as improving sleep quality or lowering blood pressure.
Skating requires extreme and complete focus from the body and the mind, all throughout. The aim is to make one with the deck, your skateboard becoming an extension of your body.
8. Skateboarding Teaches Patience
Skateboarding is a very humbling practice. One day your skating is on point, things just seem to click. The next day nothing works out in your favor and you feel you’re regressing.
On a similar note, landing a new trick can take a few tries or can turn out into a month-long battle. You’ll never know before trying.
You don’t want to let out your emotion overcome you. If you lose your temper, most time than not, it will take longer to succeed. You’re also more prone to injury. When you’re calm and collected however, you’re much more analytical, noticing what’s going wrong and correcting it the try after. Much more productive, isn’t it?
Anger and disappointment will slow you down on your journey. Patience and acceptance are key.
9. Skateboarding Increases Self-Esteem
Skating is all about progression. It’s not about being better than anyone else, but about being better than your past self. This feel of progression gives you a sense of purpose with endless numbers of challenges to face right on.
Skateboarding reduces shyness and helps get over caring what other people think. From the very beginning, you’ll be falling in front of everyone.
While this can be a problem at the start of the journey—where you’ll probably be self-conscious—after enough time, you’ll zone out. Focusing on yourself and your surroundings, and making abstraction of the lousy crowd. This will also help people who have concentration issues.
Trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone will boost your self-confidence massively.
10. Skateboarding is a Lifestyle
Now let me warn you right away, I’m not talking about fashion here. “Skating isn’t just a trend homie, it’s a lifestyle” as Hopsin said in his Nollie 360 flip track.
Skateboarding brings a new outlook on life.
Once you’ve picked it up, your perception of your environment will start shifting. The city transforming into a massive playground. The stairs turning into gaps, the benches into ledges. It gives you a whole new outlook on your surroundings.
If you become addicted to the skate life, skating will take a big part of your thoughts, which can be a much healthier way to stay inside your head.
11. It Keeps You Active, Regardless Of Age
Skateboarding is great for all ages to stay active. Whether you’re in your teens, or and adult, skateboarding keeps you moving.
Even just grabbing a cruiser and riding around town can be fun. If you’re a retired skateboarder and think of getting back into skateboarding without tre-flipping 7-stairs, just riding can be extremely gratifying. Once you get a taste of the fun, you just want more.
Skateboarding give you a sense of purpose and meaning. After a good skateboarding session I feel great for at least a week, befire I have to get my shot again. For many skateboarding is the only activity that just clicks, it never gets boring.
12. It Teaches You To Be Supportive
No matter how good are bad you are at skateboarding, 99% of skaters are supportive and cheer for you. Landing a new trick will result in loud cheers and high fives, it’s an awesome feeling and makes you appreciate the community even more.
It’s part of the skateboard culture and transfers over from generation to generation. Being stoked and supportive for your fellow skaters teaches you to be supportive to others. Funny how that works.
13. You Get To teach Your Kids
Once you get older and start a family, you get to be the cool dad/mom. Kids love skateboarding and look up to those gnarly local kids. What’s better than to have (in my case) a dad that still knows how to skateboard?
Teaching your kids how to skateboard is a great way of bonding, sharing the love of skateboarding will improve the relationship with your kids. My and my oldest kid always have a ton of fun when we’re riding our skateboards in our local neighbourhood. I always love the look on peoples faces when we ride togheter, it usually brings a smile to their face.
14. Skateboarding Keeps You Young
Excercise in general keeps your body young and healthy but somehow skateboarding even more. I still get excited when walking into a skate shop and love looking at board designs and talk about gear.
Perhaps also as an older skater you encounter a lot of younger people. Since you share the same passion, you always have a conversation starter. I’m a bit too old to hangout with the local kids, but just skateboarding with the local community keeps you young. At least it keeps my spirit young, the body usually reminds me of my age.
15. Skateboarding Provides Safety and Inclusiveness
In a recent study (funded by the SkatePark Project), researchers found that skaters of color felt more accepted within the skateboarding community. Sadly, female skaters felt they are still judged by their gender both in and out of skateboarding communities.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.