Skateboarding boosts mental health (and is a killer leg workout) says research

The sport keeps you fit, helps build friendships, and develops essential life skills along the way

Group of skateboarders laughing together
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Skateboarding became an Olympic sport for the first time at the 2020 Summer Olympics, with street and park-based competitions taking place throughout July 2021. It made a star of 13-year old Sky Brown, Great Britain's youngest ever medalist, following her Bronze medal in the Women's Park skateboarding event. 

The athletes' performances were highly praised, and the achievements of the female boarders showed firmly that skateboarding isn't just for men. If this has made you consider grabbing a set of the best workout earbuds, cranking up some classic Tony Hawk's Pro Skater tunes and giving it a go, research has shown that the sport could do wonders for your mental health. 

In collaboration with the Pullias Center for Higher Education, the Skatepark Project surveyed over 5,000 under-25s across the US about the state of the sport, including whether they felt skateboarding culture was inclusive and supportive. The resulting data was analyzed and published in the Beyond the Board report. 

Listen: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater classic playlist

The researchers found that the majority of respondents said they skateboard to enjoy themselves and reduce stress. Similarly, skateboarding and accessible skateparks help build an increasingly diverse, tight-knit community regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity.

Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, the study also established that skateboarding improves resilience. Whether you're just getting started or trying to master a new trick, you'll inevitably fail at first, but the more you practice, the more skilled you become. 

According to one of the survey respondents, "it's taught me that things aren't going to happen first try, and if they do, it's a rare occurrence. What really determines the difference between you and the next person is your willingness to suffer through the necessity of the process in order for you to reach a goal. I've found it to be a very poetic representation of life."


This is some tips on how to drop in ##dropin take it very slow tho❤️don’t drop on a vert ramp until you get really comfortable and baby steps @nike

♬ original sound - Sky Brown

This is one of the chief reasons that skateboarding is such an effective workout as well. Building stability is essential, whether you want to use the skateboard to get around or perform tricks. If you don't have a strong core when you start out, you certainly will after practicing your skills. 

Boarding also works your legs hard, especially since one of them pushes the board along. Once you've got up to speed and have both feet on the board, you need to move your weight around, so you'll regularly find yourself in some degree of squat position. 

Although it can be a workout in its own right, many skateboarders couple their sessions with weights routines to build leg and core muscle. This makes them prepared for going out on a ride or performing tricks so that they can stay focused on the task at hand. 

If you're thinking of taking up skateboarding, developing your boarding skills, or building essential muscle, then it's worth strengthening your core with the best workouts for abs. This can improve your stability, promote good circulation, and reduce your risk of injury. 

Of course, it's also a good idea to practice some of the best leg workouts so that you have an excellent lower-body foundation to get your skateboard moving and prevent fatigue from setting in just as you're about to launch into your favorite trick.

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.