Can Skateboarding be a Workout?

Often seen as an activity for outcasts, skateboarding has gotten a bad rap over the years. Skateboarding is often attributed to teenagers who would like to get in trouble. However, with skateboarding entering the next Olympics many are left questioning skateboarding’s legitimacy as a sport. Many people have never skateboarded before and are curious. Can skateboarding be a workout?

Can Skateboarding Be a Workout?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Despite its history as an activity for hooligans, skateboarding requires an extensive amount of physical ability and skill. The act of skateboarding can be tiresome and can cause exertion. Skateboarding helps build cardiovascular health as well as strengthen your legs and overall flexibility to your body. Riding around the streets may not feel like running a marathon, but once you start moving to more difficult manoeuvres and tricks, you will start to feel the burn.

 

Strength Building

Skateboarding is a great way to build up the muscles in your legs and core. Skateboarding requires you to push off of the ground to move. This pushing can help grow and define your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. The motion of kick off from the ground puts tension on your leg muscles that can break the tissue down and allow it to grow.

Skateboarding also requires you to jump and kick off from the ground when performing an ollie or any other type of trick. This motion can build your leg strength up considerably. People who have been skateboarding for a long time usually have pretty strong leg muscles. They may be good at jumping high and running fast. The muscle fibres necessary for an explosive movement built up extensively through skateboarding. When you consistently perform explosive movements, like kicking off the ground or jumping, the overall strength in your legs increases.

Skateboarding also requires you to engage your core. Core muscles like your abs and back are used to stay balanced on the board. Your core muscles keep you upright and give you the ability to make small movements that can affect your speed and direction. Your abdomen and back muscles are used to keep your spine aligned over your hips. This is the general function that keeps you upright on the board. If your abs and back were to suddenly stop working, your spine would flex and throw you from the board. Engaging your legs when you push off from the ground also uses your core muscles.

After skateboarding for a little while you will feel a bit of muscle soreness. This sensation is your muscles tearing and preparing to grow. Over time you will notice the definition in your quadriceps and calf muscles. The areas will be solid to the touch and will look well developed. Your muscles will also become more functional allowing you to jump higher, run better, and ride your skateboard faster. The increase in muscle mass may also help increase your ability to maintain balance.

Flexibility

Skateboarding requires repetitive use of your muscle fibres to perform minute movements for balance. It also uses larger muscles like your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings extensively. The more you use these muscles to move forward on a skateboard the more you stretch them out. As you stretch your muscles out, your overall flexibility will increase. Skateboarding is a great way to make your hips and legs more flexible. The leg swing that is required to move a skateboard forward mimics the movements of traditional callisthenics[1].

As you swing your leg, the muscles in your hip and around your thigh begin to loosen and stretch. Flexible muscles are far more resilient to injury and can make you feel better overall. When your muscles are flexible you will feel less soreness throughout your body. Increase flexibility also allows your body to reach its full mobility potential. This means that your body will function the way it was meant to you’ll be able to move and bend when necessary.

Can Skateboarding be a Workout?

Cardiovascular Health

Skateboarding can be an extreme cardio workout. Skateboarding is an activity where you switch from moments of extreme exertion to moments of rest. It resembles High-Intensity Interval Training in that it requires high effort and explosive movements in-between moments of rest.

This type of exercise can strengthen your heart. As the heart becomes stronger, it pumps blood through the body more efficiently. A strong heart is also less susceptible to Heart disease and high blood pressure. The more that you practice skateboarding, the better your heart will perform over time.

Skateboarding can also make a considerable improvement to your lungs. When skateboarding for a while you may become tired and even winded. If your heart rate rises, the amount of air you need to fuel your body with oxygen also increases. This causes your lungs to work overtime to pump oxygenated blood through all of your extremities so that they can do the work to propel you forward and escape work.

When you put your lungs through a consistent workout like this, they get better at pumping in an increased amount of oxygen. This increased amount of oxygen will help fuel your body’s movements. Through exercise, your lungs become more efficient and can get more oxygen into your blood with less work. Increasing your lung function can reduce your risks for other cardiovascular issues.

You may have a smaller chance of getting lung cancer and you may be more resilient to illnesses that affect the lungs. Stronger lungs mean that you have all the oxygen you need to fuel your extremities and your brain. Efficient oxygen usage in the body can lower your risk for several diseases.

Conclusion

Overall, skateboarding gets you in shape. It puts your body through hard work and prepares it for exertion in other ways. Skateboarding can increase your stamina so that you can exert yourself for longer. If you’re looking to get healthy but do not enjoy other traditional forms of exercise, skateboarding is a great way to help you get in shape.

 

Glossary

[1] Callisthenics – Link