You’re never too old to learn to skateboard: it’s not only fun but also good for your mental health.
A new study dubbed “Identity and Wellbeing in Older Skateboarders,” which has been published in the research text “Lifestyle Sports and Identities”, suggests that it can help boost our moods in midlife.
Gathering interviews with 30 middle-aged skaters in Hong Kong and the UK, sociological researcher Dr Paul O’Connor, from the University of Exeter has outlined a handful of benefits these Gen-Xers get from skating including “access to a community,” “an identity separate from other parts of their lives,” and “a way to cope with depression and stress” as well as to bond with their kids.
In particular, he found that for some women, who tend to feel “invisible” as they age, skateboarding is a chance for them “to do something that is empowering in a truly novel way,” an activity that can even invoke “spiritual meaning”. The nature of skateboarding, which celebrates failure (the falls) as part of growth, may even help adults loosen up and enjoy the ride.
Not convinced yet?
Copywriter Lisa Berenson started skateboarding when she turned 40 inspired by seeing older women learning on Instagram.
“I was just pushing about at first, but then I started to take lessons and try more tricks“, she said to the Guardian. “It took me a long time to get over the self-conscious feeling of being a mum in her forties at the skatepark. I was sure everyone was laughing at me. But the more I got to know other skaters, I realised that my age and skill level didn’t really matter.” She said she finds skating a great way to “switch off from the demands of everyday life”.
Esther Sayers began skateboarding at the age of 47 – now in her early 50s, she says it’s a decision she hasn’t looked back on. She told Sky News: “I had a couple of years of feeling a bit purposeless in terms of big life goals being completed. Adulthood can be quite constricting, you have to look after the home, the family, the job and be this professional expert. Skateboarding just fitted in my life at that time because it offered me something else, it offered me a new challenge, it offered me a new chance to learn again.“
So, what are you waiting for? The time is ripening for midlife women who want to challenge themselves with this sport.
According to the American award-winning travel writer and consultant, Marla Cimini: “In recent years, skateboarding, a traditionally male-dominated activity — has become more popular with adult females in the US and across the world“, she says. “Today, women’s skateboarding meet-ups have been gaining momentum across the country, attracting new, avid fans who love just cruising around, carving bowls, and landing flips, grinds, and ollies. Through Instagram, (and other social media) these grassroots groups share inspiring videos, and skate goals, and host meetups through (safely) planned skateboarding sessions. Leading the way are the larger cities, as well as smaller suburban communities“.
For anyone thinking of taking up skateboarding, don’t forget to take the appropriate precautions: learning to skateboard in midlife can be a good way to get back into shape and get back your zest for life, however, it can be also a physically demanding sport.
So, be prepared: take your time, find the right skateboard for you, wear protective gear and then go out and enjoy the ride.