Skateboarding has been on my mind for decades. Though I started skateboarding when I was 9 years old (and loved it then), I stopped after a couple of years because none of my friends could skate. For many, many years, I didn’t know how to get back into it, and I regretted all that lost time. I didn’t know I had ADHD until I was in my late 20s (I’m in my 40s now), but, in retrospect, I see how my ADHD brain was stuck on figuring out where to begin and how to just “do the thing.”
I found my way back to skateboarding in 2020. In the middle of the pandemic, my husband decided he wanted to learn to skateboard. Then our daughter got into it. Then our son. So our family hit the skateparks.
That’s how I found Telma and Rich and the Later Skaters Gang, an adult skate movement that started in Toronto (where I live) and is now global. Oorbee Roy, who has become a TikTok sensation as “Aunty Skates,” is another Later Skater friend of mine. At 47, she drops into huge bowls and shreds her backyard mini ramp, sometimes while wearing a sari.
At 43, I’m ecstatic to be skating again. Not just because it’s a fun way to exercise, but because it’s incredibly therapeutic.
9 Ways Skateboarding Steadies My ADHD Brain
1. Steady dopamine hits keep me motivated. Skating forces me to choose one small goal to achieve and celebrate at a time. The dopamine rush I get when I land a trick keeps me motivated and focused on the next step.
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2. There are serotonin hits, too. Skating outdoors in the fresh air and sunlight gives me a boost of serotonin and uplifts my mood.
3. I relish the endorphin release. The physical act of riding around on my skateboard releases feel-good hormones that reduce stress and even provide pain relief for my joints.
4. I work out my cerebellum. I’m not pulling off kickflips or carving giant bowls yet. But I am improving my balance and control over the board, which works out my cerebellum. A stronger cerebellum can result in improved attention, focus, and emotional control.
5. I’m creating friendships and strengthening connections. I try to join as many Later Skater meetups as I can. I get a release of oxytocin as I bond with this positive community of skaters. They remind me that we all battle negative self-talk and mental blocks. And they cheer me on and offer feedback to help me progress. It’s way easier to stay motivated and consistent when I’m having a blast on my board with friends.
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6. I get to experience a healthy adrenaline rush. Like many people with ADHD, I’m drawn to risk and excitement. And skateboarding brings the right level of thrill-seeking. I will fall as I keep skateboarding. But learning how to fall safely gives me the courage to keep progressing to the next level.
7. I can be creative. When I’m on my skateboard, I’m making creative decisions and carving my own path. It’s exhilarating to juggle so many possibilities.
8. I can hyperfocus. We’ve gone as far as to have a mini ramp built in our basement so we can skateboard at home. I was worried we wouldn’t use it enough, but we do, and we’ve invited a few Later Skater friends over for sessions. (Thanks, Pete, for helping me with rock to fakies and tail stalls!)
9. I get stuck — and unstuck. Skateboarding has helped me physically, mentally, and socially. But even with all the good, and after making so many new skate friends, I sometimes still feel stuck — in my head or in the past. I’ll be fully padded and skating around the park a bit, only to stop and watch everyone else shred. When this happens, I give myself a jolt. What is the Later Skaters Gang about? “No matter the age or skill level, it’s all about little wins, a love of skateboarding and having fun.”
It’s Never Too Late — for Skateboarding or Anything Else
Despite my hiatus from skateboarding, the sport never truly ended up in my graveyard of abandoned interests. It will not be buried alongside bowling, stamp collecting, and Mid-century modern furniture restoration.
I never imagined I’d be spending my 40s connecting with people from all over the world who share a love for skateboarding. But here I am. I even got to appear in an epic video by Later Skaters Gang called These Are the Moments, featuring 120 skaters and their skate clips from 2022. There I am for a couple of seconds, attempting a 50-50 on a little ramp at the skatepark. Might not look like much, but it was a personal win for me. And a reminder to enjoy all the little moments, to just keep pushing.
Believe me, it’s never too late to skate — or to find what helps you thrive. As my Aunty Skates T-shirt reminds me: “It’s never too late to live your best life!”
Skateboarding, Wellbeing, and ADHD: Next Steps
Myra is a wife, mother, and teacher from Toronto who loves to write about #theBIGinSmallThings. When she’s not trying to find her keys or wallet, Myra loves drinking bubble tea and skateboarding with her family.
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