Running vs. Longboarding

Teenage girl practicing riding long board.
A close-up of a girl riding a longboard in a plaza. (Image: kasto80/iStock/Getty Images)

Whether on a college campus or in a city park, runners and skateboarders abound on a warm summer day. While runners still use the same basic equipment -- running shoes, shorts and headphones -- the sidewalk surfer's skateboard has evolved into the longboard. A large-wheeled, elongated type of skateboard, the longboard has drawn the attention of mature skateboarders, who prefer the softer ride over the classic trick skateboard. Running is a better calorie burning aerobic exercise, while longboarding is used for transportation in urban areas.

Benefits of Running

Running offers an extremely efficient means of burning calories for individuals looking to lose weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies running as a vigorous activity, one that burns more than 7 calories per minute. Running is also an extremely practical and inexpensive hobby, requiring no special equipment other than running shoes. Although the sport is also widely practiced without any training, it's advisable to consult with a trainer if you plan to become a serious runner. A trainer helps you with a good running form, ensures you use proper footwear and advises you on how to keep your goals realistic according to your fitness level.

Benefits of Longboarding

Basic longboarding is not nearly as physically demanding as running, making it an easy hobby to adopt if you're less physically fit. Longboarding also helps you develop better balance and coordination, mimicking the movement of a surfboard without the waves. Unlike traditional skateboarding, longboarding doesn't focus on fancy tricks but on propelling yourself down the sidewalk. As a result, the learning curve is somewhat faster than for standard skateboarding. While longboarding doesn't offer the same calorie-burning potential as running, it still burns 3.5 to 7 calories per minute, making it a moderate-level aerobic activity.

Drawbacks of Running

The major downside of running is the high-impact nature of the activity. With every footfall, your entire body weight comes down upon the ground with considerable force. As a result, individuals with weak bones or joint problems, especially around the ankle, knee or hip, may prefer a lower-impact form of exercise. In addition, though running requires relatively little technical learning, the intensity of the activity can make it challenging for those unaccustomed to regular physical activity.

Drawbacks of Longboarding

Although longboarding isn't as high-impact as running, longboarders do face their own perils. Given the high speeds you can reach on a board, the risk of collision is as serious as that of cycling or traditional skateboarding. Longboarders who perform tricks or race down hills expose themselves to the risk of serious injury. Helmets, elbow pads and skateboarding gloves are essential safety equipment whether racing or traveling to work.

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