The mindfulness benefits of roller skating

Could rediscovering an old passion help you to skate through life?

We escaped from our beachside suburban homes every Saturday, dressed in bike shorts and tie-dyed t-shirts. There, at the city rollerdrome, my best friend and I would roller-skate for hours, powered by the sugar in our red and green frogs. This sweet phase had remained among my most pleasing childhood memories. Until recently, that is. Picture 90s nostalgia bliss: disco balls, flashing lights, pop music blasting over the sound system. It was louder than dinnertime with a toddler, yet I felt calm, acutely aware of myself and my surroundings. It seems mindfulness is not always found in the quiet moments – in the contented silence of a heavenly Savasana. Instead, it can come in experiences that are loud and exhilarating. Surprisingly, I had found thrills, cardio, and clarity in roller-skating.


As a parent to a child with severe allergies, I have to remain hypervigilant whenever we walk out our front door, which is as exhausting as you’d imagine. So it’s especially critical that I find ways to re-energise my mind, and remember who I am – as an individual, as well as a mother.

Childhood pastimes are a fun way to reconnect with yourself. For me, it’s not adult colouring books, painting or meditation that quiets my mind. Roller-skating is the ideal way to reunite with my inner child at a time when I need it the most. Rediscovering old loves, such as roller-skating, reminded me of a time when life was simpler. It’s a visceral response. I feel warm in the afterglow of happy memories.


Roller skaters have been artlessly enjoying themselves while performing aerobic exercise since the 1800s. Peaking in the 80s disco era, roller-skating has long been synonymous with urban culture. The full body awareness when I am on my skates clears my mind from day-to-day distractions. I focus on the wind on my face, I focus on the knowledge that it is my body’s connection with the smooth ground that will propel me forward. It makes me feel alive. Applying a mindful disposition to exciting activities such as roller-skating or skateboarding allows you to disconnect from devices, worries and the world. With every stride on the skating rink, I feel free. As parents will know, this is a feeling you want to capture again, and again, and again.


Roller-skating, golf, and even skateboarding require a lot of a concentration; naturally, you are present in the moment. Why not ask your partner if they remember how to do a kick fl ip? Or an ollie? Chances are, if they dust off  their old board and spend an hour trying, the concentration involved in performing such tricks will leave no room for any day-to-day worries to linger in their mind. In the chaotic world of parenting, hobbies are easier to make space for if they’re also enjoyable and help to clear your mind. Sure, relaxing in front of the TV has its place, but more likely you will be encouraged to do what makes you feel better if you enjoy the leisure activity as well.


Surfers and golfers seem to have always succeeded in combining leisure activities with mental clarity. Surfers seem especially unwilling to allow their hobby to disappear in the frenzy of life. My grandparents were avid golfers for decades, and when I was learning to play, my grandfather taught me I needed to ‘do a waggle’ after missing the ball time after time. ‘The waggle’, which looked how it sounded, was more of a mental shake than a physical one. It was a moment to clear my head of any noise or worries that might aff ect my swing and be present in the moment, allowing my mind to simply concentrate on my body. And hey – these thrilling activities are exercise for both the mind and the body, so there is nothing not to love! Is there a childhood love you could reconnect with, to help spark your soul and feel more mindful?

Words by Mikki Cusack
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