Mental Health Benefits
Research has shown that skateboarding has been proven to provide significant mental health benefits. These include but aren’t limited to mitigating the negative effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), offsetting Alzheimer’s disease, and providing a healthy outlet to improve mental health.
Findings based on the 2018-2019 National Survey on Children’s Health (NSCH) combined dataset revealed that 43% of children in Arizona experienced one or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This is slightly higher than the national rate of 39.8%. While there is extensive research on ACEs, there is a growing body of evidence investigating positive childhood experiences (PCEs). PCEs include academic or extra-curricular achievement, self-efficacy, support, optimism, positive interpersonal relationships and connectivity. All of the aforementioned PCEs can be used to neutralize the negative impact of ACEs with skateboarding serving as the vessel.
Research done by Hull Services has found that skateboarding fits into their neurosequential model for therapeutic care to treat children impacted by trauma. Due to its high sensory stimuli, skateboarding can help to create regulation in the lower domains of the brain (the brainstem and the diencephalon), which in turn effects positive changes within the higher regions of the brain (the limbic system and the neocortex); enabling development that can be beneficial for people suffering from dysregulation due to trauma and prolonged stress (Dr. Emily Wang, Director of Trauma Informed Services, Hull Services).
“Time spent on a skateboard by young people can help their brains to heal from past trauma. It can actually move the development of the brain into a more positive trajectory from the brain stem right up to the neocortex” (Dr. Emily Wang).
Due to the physical activity that plays an integral role in skateboarding, it can benefit participants brains by preventing a decline in their mental function. According to the world renowned Mayo Clinic, physical activity such as skateboarding has the potential to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and combat risk factors for dementia.
A study conducted by Instinct Laboratory and Flo Skatepark, has shown that individuals who partake in skateboarding stated they do so to reduce boredom, provide them with a healthy outlet of escapism, help them to build their confidence and use skateboarding as a coping mechanism for their emotions.
The mental health benefits of skateboarding are abundant and go beyond those mentioned here. With your supporting contributions, we deliver access to these benefits and more to well-deserving youth in underserved communities around Arizona.