Skateboarding: The Raddest Way to Stay Fit!

Written by Nicky Trbovich

Skateboarding has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Starting as a two-by-four with roller skate wheels, it was a contraption for surfers to mimic surfing on land. As the years went by, skateboarding evolved: boards changed their shapes, trick skating developed, and skateboarding began to be accepted as a “legitimate” sport. Seriously, it was once thought of as an activity that trouble makers partook in, and now it’s in the Olympics. Funny how that works. Now that skateboarding is taken more seriously, many have started acknowledging the benefits it brings. 

Physical Benefits

Skateboarding is a physically demanding activity and can be an excellent and fun form of cardio. Depending on the intensity, an average skate session can burn up to 500 calories. While you’re burning calories, you’re also working coordination, balance, and even agility. The coordination and balance training comes just from riding the skateboard itself. In order to keep the board moving forward, the rider uses their back leg to push off the ground, thus leading to many moments where they are standing on one leg. This is further tested if you decide to do tricks. 

Once you get your balance and coordination to a state where you can comfortably ride, you can now start training endurance, stamina and agility. Skateboarding isn’t a constant activity, but consists of short bursts of intensity, like going from a coasting pace to pushing for speed. This makes it so your muscles do not get fatigued as quickly as they do when running or walking. Therefore it is easier to use your muscles longer and near maximal capacity. 

After riding becomes second nature, it’s natural to want to add some tricks to your bag. This is where the agility aspect comes into play. Let’s look at the basic trick everyone starts with: the ollie. In a nutshell, the ollie is when you jump and the board comes up with you. In a matter of seconds, the rider goes from standing, squatting, to jumping back to squatting and standing once they land.

Your cardiovascular system also benefits from these alternating bouts of intensity. Honestly, you can almost look at it like a HIIT workout. Your heart will be pumping and blood flow will be increased, strengthening your cardiovascular system, increasing aerobic capacity and reducing the risks for cardiovascular related diseases. 

Since it is a physical activity, skateboarding helps strengthen joints and a wide variety of muscle groups. The main muscles used are abs, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and even lower back muscles. Your abs and lower back muscles, aka core, will be working overtime as you go from standing to squatting to lunging. Sounds more fun than a plank if you ask me. 

The leg workout you get in an average session is worth it alone. In a single session, your hips constantly alternate between extension and flexion, while moving between the three planes of motion. For example, you operate in the frontal plane for an ollie, a heelflip will place you in the sagittal plane, and a 180 moves through the transverse plane. The act of pushing places you in a lunge position working your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and even calves.

Mental Benefits

The physical benefits are one side of the coin, but skateboarding provides benefits to our mental health as well. First, it provides a simple escape from the rigamarole of the daily grind. The main reason it does this is because of the absolute freedom it provides. You can skate by yourself or with friends. You can just ride it like a sidewalk surfboard or jump down stairs. The point is that there is no wrong or right way to skate. You make the rules for your skate session, no one else. Each time you go on one of these sessions, you’re also releasing endorphins which helps with symptoms of depression and anxiety.

While helping deal with stresses that life provides, skateboarding also helps push you as an individual. This is an activity that will place you out of your comfort zone eventually. Each time you bomb a big hill, clear a staircase, or even drop in on a ramp, you overcome a new challenge. You conquer a new fear. Even if you don’t succeed, you still come out better and fulfilled knowing that you pushed yourself to your limits. Many can attest that the first attempt is always the scariest and it gets easier from there. This is a lesson we can incorporate into everyday life and use it to motivate us to make life changes when needed.

Social Benefits

The last benefit can’t be measured, but its impacts can be the longest lasting. When you decide to skateboard, you become part of the community. This gives the kid who has a hard time meeting people a chance to find a friend group. Friends who they will keep for most of their life. Speaking from personal experience, my best friend and I came together because of skateboarding. No matter where you are, young or old, you can always find the local skate park and meet like-minded individuals. These are the people who are gonna push you when you think you can’t, reassure you if you can’t land something, and also share the enjoyment of your successes. It is honestly amazing how a piece of wood with wheels can bring people together.

No matter your reasons for wanting to skate, the benefits are wide ranging. It gets you outside and is one of the most fun ways to exercise. It is an easy escape from the daily routine, and since there are no rules, how you skate your session is totally up to you. The freedom of this activity will help push the limits of your creativity as you try to find new ways to skate the same spots. It encourages you to get away from your screen and go outside and be active and social. Skateboarding has given me a lot, and I am very thankful it came into my life. I hope it is doing the same for the next generation of shredders out there.


Whether you skateboard or not, an ASF personal trainer like Nicky can help you get fit for whatever challenges you face. Click here to schedule your free consultation and first workout!