Working out in the gym isn’t the only to get a good exercise in. If you’re the kind of person who can’t stand the gym, then longboarding can be a great way to burn some calories, get outside, and have some fun.
Longboarding will give you a moderate cardio workout. Longboarding can burn up to 4-7 calories per minute according to a Harvard study. This is about 240-420 calories an hour compared to about 700-950 calories burned running for the same amount of time.
Other exercises are more efficient at burning calories or building muscles. Longboarding isn’t particularly great at either, but longboarding is just plain fun. You can get some exercise will feeling the wind in your hair and exploring your city.
Especially if you have trouble sticking to a conventional workout plan, then maybe longboarding will be right for you. Even if it isn’t the most effective, the best exercise plan is always the one you can stick to and be consistent with.
Is Longboarding Good Exercise?
Longboarding is primarily a cardio exercise.
The core muscles and lower back are activated when you turn and guide your board. The calf and quads are activated as you push off to gain speed. You can can muscle in your core, calves, and quads from longboarding, but it will not compare to the muscle gained by specifically targeting them in the gym.
Longboarding true merit lies in the enjoyment and fun you get from cruising around your city or along country roads. Everytime you cruise around the city, the weather is different. You take different paths and encounter different people and places.
There is a unique sense of adventure you can get from longboarding. I personally love picking parts of my city that I’ve never been to and cruising the neighborhood with a friend. We always find unique spots and sometimes great restaurants to get lunch in afterwards.
Although, currently I’m living in Seoul, South Korea and there aren’t any bad neighborhoods to find ourselves in. Maybe do some research on the neighborhoods you explore if you live in a dangerous city.
If you choose longboarding as a workout, keep in mind that it won’t be the most efficient use of your time and that you will not build much muscle. Particularly, you will not build any muscle in your upper-body.
I would recommend a split where you do some weight training along with the cardio exercise of longboarding.
A Harvard study estimated that the average rider will burn 4-7 calories per minute longboarding. This is less than running, skateboarding, and biking in the same time period. The breakdown for calories burned per hour is in the table below.
|Activity||Calories Burned per Hour|
What Muscles Does Longboarding Work?
If you want to gain muscle, then longboarding might not be the best exercise for you. However, some specific muscle groups are worked from longboarding.
The primary muscles that longboarding works are the core muscles, calves, and quads. The core muscles are activated as you lean, push, and guide the board with your body. Your calves and quads are worked from pushing off to gain speed. Your hips and stabilizers are worked the most.
Your upper body is virtually unused during longboarding. You might pick up you longboard at some point, but that is inconsequential.
Longboarding is not considered a complete exercise on its own and it is recommended to supplement your longboarding with another workout. Weightlifting would compliment longboarding’s cardio and core workout very nicely.
If you want to know about how to get started teaching yourself to longboard you can check out our guide here.
Core muscles are essential for balance and stability. They help you keep good form when lifting heavy objects and look good when you have your shirt off.
Your core muscles are the muscles within the abdominals and back, attaching to the spine or pelvis. Core muscles help us prevent back, hip, and knee pain.
Longboarding works these muscles by requiring us to squat, lean, and pivot our bodies on the longboard itself. If you don’t position and lean our bodies in the correct ways, then we cannot control and guide the longboard itself. Just cruising around your neighborhood for 20-30 minutes on a longboard can be a good core workout.
Your calves, particularly your dominant foot, will take a pretty heavy workout. You need to push off of the ground to gain forward momentum and most people exclusively use their dominant foot to push off. This activates your calf and quad to a lesser extent, but can cause asymmetrical muscle growth. This is something to be aware of if you are longboarding for exercise. It is best to practice pushing off with both feet to prevent asymmetrical muscle growth.
During walking, running, or jumping, the calf muscle pulls the heel up to allow forward movement (source).
Your calves help you get that extra little boost when you push your longboard forward. Longboarding will work these muscles which might help you run and jump as well.
Personally, my calves get tired from being worked often, but I have never noticed a big difference in muscle growth. My calves always seem like the same size. They are one of the hardest muscles to grow in the body.
The quadriceps muscles, commonly called the “quads,” are powerful muscles involved in lower body movement and propulsion. The quadriceps muscles consist of four large muscles at the front of the thigh (source).
These muscles help you stabilize yourself, brake, and push off with your longboard. They are also critical to keeping your knees in good health. Not just during longboarding, but almost all types of exercise and even everyday walking.
Longboarding will help strengthen your quads, but be sure to switch the foot you push off with. Asymmetrical muscles growth can be detrimental to your health and cause injuries.
Your hamstrings are also worked from longboarding.
The hamstrings are a group of muscles that cross the hip and knee joints and are responsible for walking, running, jumping, and many other physical activities. The hamstrings flex the knee joint and extend the thigh backward to propel movement (source).
Hamstrings are critical to any movement with the leg and are worked during running and jumping as well. Healthy hamstrings are essential, but just make sure that you stretch them out before a long longboarding session.
Hamstring injuries are among the most common sports injuries.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Longboarding?
You burn an estimated 4 to 7 calories a minute from longboarding. This varies based on the intensity of your cruising and route, body weight, and body composition. Generally, longboarding burns less calories than other recreation exercises like running, biking, and skateboarding.
Longboarding Calories Burned Calculator
Check out our longboarding calculator below. These values are estimates from a Harvard study. The ranges depend on factors such as intensity of route, body weight, and body composition.
Longboarding Health Benefits
Longboarding has a few health benefits that go beyond just the workout itself. There are some aspects of longboarding that can give you a healthier mind and body.
Let’s briefly look at a few of these benefits.
The calorie-burning aspect of longboarding will help you lose weight and burn fat.
You of course need to supplement your longboarding exercise with a strong and healthy diet plan, but exercise definitely helps. Exercise increases your metabolism and burns more calories helping lose weight faster.
Riding a longboard can require some real core strength and some real bending and twisting.
I often need to squat down to stay balanced going downhill or need to lean back to turn my board at just the right angle. I have never been one to try yoga, but longboarding can help you with flexibility.
If you are very inflexible, then you might have some struggles riding your longboard at first, but don’t fret. You’ll loosen up pretty quick. Simply doing a new movement a couple times a week will help your body get used to stretching or bending in a new way.
Build a Strong Core
A stronger core will help you in ways that most people don’t realize.
A strong core helps prevent back, hip, and knee pain. It allows you to support heavier weight without losing proper form and can help you from getting winded so easily. Plus having a strong core just looks good 😉
Longboarding can help you build up these core muscles while doing a fun engaging workout. It is a self-fulfilling cycle. Longboarding helps you strengthen your core which helps you longboard better which will make you work your core more. Theoretically.
Either way having a fun, core workout in your schedule can’t hurt anything.
If you want to learn 25 interesting facts about longboarding check out our curated list here.
Have a Calmer Mind
This is a little less talked about. I think there really is something about skateboarding and longboarding in general that helps you calm down, get out of your own head, and feel a bit of adventure.
Studies do show that getting outside helps get a healthy mind and longboarding will definitely get you outside for hours at a time. Just give it a go.
There is something special about feeling the wind in your hair and just skating or longboarding to unwind. It hard to describe, but you will probably understand if you try it a few times.
Board sports in general are an expression of freedom for a lot of people out there.
All in all, longboarding can be a great exercise choice depending on your needs.
If you struggle with the boredom of normal gym workouts or running, then longboarding provides a nice alternative. Just keep in mind that it won’t burn the most calories or build the most muscle. You will also need to supplement it with other exercises. We recommend weightlifting to compliment longboarding’s cardio workout.
Be careful to switch up the foot you use to push off. This is because it is easy to create asymmetrical muscle growth.
Otherwise, just go and have fun. The fun of longboarding is really the best thing about it. It can genuinely help people who struggle with motivating themselves to exercise.
If longboarding helps you get out there and active, then who cares if it isn’t the most efficient exercise. The best exercise for you is always the one you can stick to. Consistenty is key when it comes to health and fitness.
Thanks for reading and be on the look out for more articles from Board and Wheels.