It’s quite common nowadays to mistake longboarding for skateboarding – after all, the two activities look so much alike. There’s a board with wheels that you ride on at varying speeds. If you take a closer look at the boards, however, it’s easy to distinguish a longboard from a skateboard. How do you differentiate the two then?
Skateboards are often shorter and narrower – measuring at 28 to 43 inches in length and 7 to 10 inches wide. A longboard is, by its very name, longer. Specifically, it measures 35 to 60 inches in length and has a width of 9 to 10 inches. With that said, can longboarding make or keep you fit? As an exercise however, skateboards, surfboards, and longboards work more or less the same. Here’s what you should know about this exercise:
Is Longboarding a Safe Workout?
Like any type of sports activity, longboarding can come with its own pitfalls. For example, longboarders can easily reach speeds of 50 to 65 mph when riding downhill and without proper form or body balance, falling off the longboard can lead to body damage. This is why people should always wear complete protective gear when longboarding.
Basic protective articles include a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads to cushion against impact. This is especially true for first-timers who have yet to develop the needed balance and coordination to stay on the board. These protective gear should minimize the impact if you do fall off the board. It’s not unheard of for longboards to make a bad turn and pull their leg muscles. Others may have it worse – hence the need for complete safety gear.
A person may also use longboarding paddles as an added equipment of the sport. Comments on longboarding often say that its an unsafe way to exercise – but doesn’t this ring true for all physical activities? With the right things, you can be safe AND still get all the health benefits of this activity.
Can Longborading Help with Weight Loss?
Longboarders who start the sport immediately find the activity to be very tiring. It’s a good cardio exercise, burning hundreds if not thousands of calories with each session. Sure, you might be riding the board down hills but to do that, you’ll have to walk up the hill first. Longboarding can increase heart rate, cause you to sweat buckets, and promote the use of large muscle groups.
This cardio workout functions much like HIIT where you’ll go from high to low intensity in rapid intervals – increasing your heart rate to a point that burns calories rapidly. The improved muscle strength also helps burn calories post-workout as muscles tend to burn more even when the body is at rest.
According to studies, longboarding can burn as much as 444 calories in a person with a body weight of 185 pounds. Done daily, longboarding can burn anywhere from 2000 to 3000 calories in one week – that’s more than the calories you can potentially burn in a gym!
What are the Health Benefits of Longboarding?
Of course, weight loss is just one of the health benefits of longboarding to the body. The fact is that longboarding requires the collaborative effort of different body parts, each of which is honed and improved through everyday practice. Here are some of the advantages of this exercise:
Better Balance on the Board
Skateboarding, surfing, and longboarding all require great balance. After all, you’re standing on a platform that’s moving several miles per hour and it’s important that your feet are firmly planted on the board. Through consistent practice, longboarders are capable of maintaining their stance even as the board moves down the road. It’s not just about maintaining your form, however, as standing on a moving longboard helps exercise the core muscles.
Flexibility Longboarding Skills
One of the benefits of longboarding that few people realize has to do with flexibility. Even simple skills like carving needs a certain level of balance, flexibility, and fitness level. More than anything however, flexibility is needed if you want to avoid injury on the longboard. Remember, chances are you’re going to fall of this thing during the first few days – or even weeks. Flexibility not only helps you perform tricks – it also means you’ll learn the right way to fall in order to avoid injury. As you advance in skills, your flexibility also improves, allowing you to attempt even more complicated moves.
Involves Strength Workout
Longboarding isn’t just about riding down the road. Riders also practice different techniques that actually contribute to their overall strength fitness. For example, there’s the riding style called “carving” which allows the rider to control their speed while moving downhill. The move requires the rider to lean left and right so that the longboard turn in an “S” pattern. Longboard dancing also involves strength training as you attempt different tricks using the longboard, deck, other things, or even your own body weight. Dancing on a longboard is inspired by boardwalking in surfing which requires a combination of flexibility, leg, body muscles, and synchronization.
Agility and Coordination Skills
Have you ever seen longboarders swerving in a zigzag pattern down the road? They’re able to do this with the slightest movement of their body which shows excellent synchronicity. From starting, turning, and stopping – longboarders have to employ large groups of muscles and coordinate them with each other to achieve the results that they want. With practice, the timing and agility become instantenous.
A technique in this sport that beautifully shows agility is called the “early grabs”. With this workout, the rider grabs the board while in motion and lifts it while jumping at the same time. This is actually one of the most basic techniques of longboarding but learning it can already do so much for strength and cardio.
Note though that this exercise can include coordination with other riders. For example, there’s this technique called the Draft Train where riders slide down the a hill in a straight line, all in close proximity to each other. The first rider helps break the wind, allowing everyone behind him to move at a faster rate. It’s an advanced move that necessitates teamwork.
Improve Your Endurance with Longboarding
Longboarding is incredibly exhausting and hard. Even the starting work of pushing off your leg can already leave you sweating. The only reason you keep doing it is because it’s also incredibly fun! This is why longboarders have no problem spending hours in the activity – sometimes without even realizing just how much time they spend in the workout. It makes sense to start slow, perhaps spending just a few minutes to an hour each day as you learn. Over time, your skill and endurance will improve and you’ll dedicate whole days just for the activity.
Cardiovascular Health Benefits
Longboarding involves a combination of running and rest, increasing the blood flow to levels that contribute to cardio health. Being such a good workout, this cardio activity doesn’t just help burn the love handles – it also lowers fat content surrounding the heart, allowing it to better distribute blood all throughout the body. As you get used to the activity, you’ll find that your resting heart rate actually lowers down – which is a good indicator of overall cardiovascular health.
Helps with Toning and Body Shape
There’s something about long boarding that leads toward a desirable body shape. If you’ll notice, most people who take up longboarding are long and lean with well-toned muscles. This is because aside from the all the cardio workout – literal work is needed for longboarding. You will be utilizing muscles to move and maintain your form and balance. Just look at the arm and leg of people who take up longboarding and you’ll see how beautifully carved they are. The legs are specially worked out because longboarding requires the rider to push off the platform in order to gain speed.
All the Advantages of Exercise
Since longboarding is in itself a form of workout, all the benefits associated with exercising comes with the activity. This includes better sleep, greater concentration, improved stamina, stable moods, and for women – regular cycles.
Where are the Best Places for Longboarding?
Longboarding can be done anywhere with a smooth surface. The skate park is perhaps the best site for the activity as the ground is smooth and resistant to friction. Skate parks also give you the chance to practice moves or tricks with the board, depending on your skill level. Parks are also a great place to find people who are also longboarding enthusiasts. The longboarding community is welcoming and would happily teach and guide you on what you need to know.
Other Benefits of Longboarding
Of course, the sport has other benefits other than being a good workout. This exercise can also help introduce you to new social circles or groups of people who are enthusiastic about exercises. If your goal is to achieve overall health and fitness – then these are the people you want to associate with.
It compels you to work your mind as you coordinate your legs, eye, and body towards one smooth move. The sport can also take you to different places as longboarding groups often explore different areas to improve the longboarding experience. If you’re already comfortable with the thing, then the longboard can also be used as an alternative mode of transport. Just be careful when using it on the road.
To wrap it up – longboarding comes with many health benefits – both mental and physical. As exercises go, it’s definitely one of the most fun and exciting ways to improve heart health, cardio, and muscles, and strength. With the right approach, longboarding gives you all the benefits of running and going to the gym – all in a burst of fun!