For some people, skateboarding is a hobby. But for many others, skateboarding—and other extreme sports like it—is a way of life. It’s about more than just the physicality involved; it’s about the mental discipline required to be a good skater as well.
Why do people engage in extreme sports? Is it the thrill? The danger? The competition with oneself and others? Each person will have their own reasons for being involved in extreme sports, but whatever those reasons are, psychologists have found that there are many benefits to engaging in these activities regularly. Let’s check out eight ways skateboarding can kickflip your life into high gear:
1. Improves Your Heart & Blood Pressure
It’s a given that skateboarding will get your heart pumping, right? Like all forms of physical activity, it can help you avoid or reduce your risk of a variety of health problems. Skateboarding helps improve your blood pressure and can lower your risk of coronary heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels and raising “good” cholesterol levels.
2. Controls Weight
Skateboarding is an excellent way to control your weight. Many people think of skateboarding as something for physically fit and active people. But really it’s for anyone who wants some variety in their workout routine. Skateboarding is a fun way to incorporate some physical activity into your life without having to go to the gym or hire a personal trainer.You can do it almost anywhere, and the best part is that you’ll have a blast while you’re doing it! All you need is a board, and if you’re not completely sure if skateboarding is right for you, check out some of these benefits:
- It’s affordable: It doesn’t cost much to get started with skateboarding. Your only real expense will be the board itself, which doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. You can find good beginner boards for around $50-$100, although more advanced boards will run closer to $200-$300. And if the price tag is still too high, there are always used boards available that you can use until you save up enough money for a new one
- It’s easy: It might look hard when you first try it, but skating comes naturally once you learn the basics
3. Improves Immune System
Your immune system is a big deal. This is because it influences virtually everything in your body—from preventing colds, to preventing diabetes, cancer, and other illnesses. Skateboarding movements have shown to improve blood flow and your lymphatic system. This in turn boosts the immune system’s ability to fight off illnesses and disease. So if you want a stronger immune system, consider picking up a board and taking yourself for a spin around the block!
4. Stronger Muscles & Improved Mobility of Your Joints
One benefit of skateboarding is that it helps you become more flexible. For example, by improving your flexibility, you increase your range of motion. This can help you in other sports or areas of life where flexibility might be involved.
5. Improved Quality of Sleep
One of the most interesting benefits of skateboarding is the role it plays in improving sleep. Skateboarders who have trouble sleeping a full night have reported getting more restful sleep after incorporating skateboarding into their daily routine. Studies have shown that those who are prone to anxiety and worry may experience lower levels of stress just from standing on the board and skating around.
In fact, it’s believed that the mind-body connection created by skateboarding can help people with insomnia to relax and fall asleep faster, which would otherwise be difficult for them. People who find themselves struggling with a lack of sleep might want to try incorporating the sport into their daily routine: It could be just the thing they need to get back on track.
6. Seriously Lowering Stress Response & Anxiety
Research has shown that skateboarding lowers stress levels and anxiety in people who are super stressed out and anxious. This makes sense because, when you think about it, skateboarding requires so much focus and has so many benefits to offer!
It’s not just the physical benefits of being active, either. Skateboarding also teaches you so many lessons about yourself—the value of perseverance, for example. If you’ve ever seen someone fall down while trying to learn how to skateboard, you know how important it is to keep trying until you eventually succeed. You’ll also learn patience. Learn how to be more mindful of your surroundings while you’re skating. Not only that, but skateboarding helps you connect with others, which is something we can all use a little more of in our lives, right?
7. Better Memory & Spatial Orientation
Another benefit from skateboarding is that you get better memory and spatial orientation, according to The Journal of Neuroscience.
While some people may see skateboarders as thrill-seeking daredevils, a recent study from The Journal of Neuroscience suggests that the physical activity of skateboarding is actually quite beneficial for your brain. The study found that skateboarders showed greater improvement on tests related to memory and spatial orientation than non-skateboarders.
The findings recommend that the act of balancing while performing tricks requires skaters to create a mental map of their surroundings. This process helps them to learn new environments more quickly and efficiently.
8. Improving Mood & Alleviating Depressive Symptoms
Skateboarding has been shown to improve mood in people with major depressive disorders. Many people enjoy the sport just because it’s a great way to blow off steam. Even if you don’t have depression, skateboarding is an enjoyable way to work out, stay in shape, and boost your self-improvement skills:
- Improved mental performance (thinking and focus through improving blood/oxygen supply to neurons, raising brain-derived neurotrophic factor BDNF, etc.)
- For skateboarding specifically, there often is a social factor, which contributes to psychological wellbeing and resilience (providing your friends are not dangerous to your physical or mental health).
- Even without social factors, you’re enjoying your time, and you’re improving your skills. You’ll learn that there is no progress without falling and taking calculated risks, and this makes you more resilient.
Now that you know all the benefits of skateboarding and how it can be used to improve your health, what’s stopping you from picking up a board? Remember, you don’t need to be a kid or teenager to learn how to skateboard—anyone can do it! Don’t let fear of embarrassment stop you from having a great time and improving your life.