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THE BENEFITS OF SKATEBOARDING

Physical Health Benefits

Whether used as transportation, a recreational activity or part of an athlete’s dedicated ambition to learn new tricks, skateboarding is an all-round calorie burning and muscle building activity.
It’s also a lifelong lifestyle choice, as many continue to skate well into their 50s and 60s.

Skateboarding uses up far more calories than most other physical activities and, depending on the intensity of the skate, the average person will burn between 300-500 calories per hour.

If you skate every day, in a week’s time you could burn 2,100 to 3,500 calories, respectively. Because 1 pound of fat consists of 3,500 calories in stored energy, you could lose between half and 1 pound per week, depending on your activity level and metabolism.

Harvard Medical School notes that people who weigh 125, 155 and 185 pounds will burn 150, 186 and 222 calories, respectively, in just a 30-minute skateboarding session.

Skateboarding involves your feet and legs, helped by your core muscles and arms to balance, giving your body an effective full body work out, involving the core muscles on your torso, your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus and lower legs.

The body needs a regular workout for healthy metabolism and skateboarding is one of  the best workouts it can get with the additional benefit of increased physical endurance and coordination.

Skateboarding involves a lot of constant movement and coordination between your eyes, legs, feet and arms; requiring stamina and precision. Precision and coordination are used throughout your life, and when you improve these traits, you better your ability to do all sorts of activities.

Prevention of future injuries is one of the most beneficial things that skateboarding has to offer in terms of health. When you skate, you dramatically improve your balance and learn how to avoid falling,

This is an excellent tool to have in your life. You will naturally be better able to recover from slips, trips, and stumbles and avoid falls helping you to prevent future injuries.

Skateboarding also provides the ideal crossover sport for learning and practicing other sports such as surfing, snowboarding, scootering and cycling; by developing general fitness, physical endurance, coordination and balance.

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Social Benefits and Mental Health

It is evident that the social determinants of health, specifically social inclusion, have a strong impact on mental health in the younger population.

The pro-social community of skateboarding as a vehicle for mental health was discovered through research performed by Burt in 2011.

Burt published an article exploring the wellbeing benefits of creative hobbies in the older population. The significance of this trial was the emphasis that social inclusion can be fulfilled through creative hobbies (Burt, 2011), therefore a creative hobby such as skateboarding, could act as a therapeutic method for mental health in the younger population.

Supporting the notion of social inclusion within skateboarding was identified by Goldenberg, who performed a survey with over 150 skateboarders in 2009. The trial uncovered what skateboarders value the most out of skateboarding. Goldenberg reported that 2 of the top 7 most salient outcomes identified by skateboarders were in terms of social inclusion, camaraderie and social opportunities. The trial by Goldenberg showed how the interpersonal social factors satisfied by skateboarding are an important outlet for positive youth development.

To further support the evidence, in a trial by Wood in 2014, observational data was gathered from a skatepark in Perth, Australia. This data included the frequency of pro-social behaviours such as: socialising with friends, taking turns, respecting others, and helping each other. These frequent pro-social behaviours within skateboarding are what can form social support networks to potentially benefit mental health in the younger population. Wood’s result of social inclusion within skateboarding reflects qualitative data found through the lived experience of skateboarders.

Underlying how skateboarding satisfies social inclusion is the reason that minimal barriers to entry, and therefore a non-existent social class hierarchy within skateboarding, is present (Humbert, 2006).

Since skateboarding does not marginalise individuals, there is a form of social justice whereby the inclusion allows skateboarders to live free from discrimination and not constrained to a social gradient (Burt, 2011). Skateboarding provides an increasingly rare sense of belonging for children.

In the words of Ellis Watt “The skateboarding community is known as one of the most welcoming communities as regardless of someone’s health, gender, race or age everyone shares a passion, skateboarding. This may be the reason why it is such a supportive space as every skateboarder wants to see each other succeed and will support one another to do that”.