There are many benefits to paddle boarding, whether you’re looking to get fit and lose some weight in the process, or an experienced water sport enthusiast looking for a new challenge. SUPs are good for high impact workouts such as surfing and racing, to low impact activities such as yoga, fishing and recreational paddling.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the benefits of stand up paddle boarding.
1. You can go anywhere
One of the best things about paddle boarding is that it can be done anywhere where there is water. Unlike a gym or exercise class, you’re not restricted by where you can go or by opening hours.
A SUP can be used on the ocean, lakes, rivers and canals so you really have no restrictions of when and where you can paddle. This is a huge advantage to anyone who lives inland. Unlike some water activities, you don’t need to head to the sea to take part. Inland waterways work just as well. You do need to be aware of weather conditions, but that’s about all.
Inflatable SUPs can be carried in back packs so you can take them on camping trips and enjoy some paddling while you are away.
2. Low impact workout
If you’re not at the peak of fitness, or looking for a good way to lose a few pounds and tone up your muscle, this is a really good, low impact way to start.
Even paddling through the water to get on your SUP uses muscles and if you’re not used to using them, you’ll notice it. Unlike some sports, you are far less likely to damage tendons or ligaments, as the power you use and the speed you travel are all under your own control.
You’re under no pressure to do more than you are capable off as well. You choose what you do and when you do it.
Paddle boarding relies on you being able to balance – otherwise, you just keep falling off. Balancing on a SUP can help you in many other areas of your life too. As we get older our sense of balance seems to get lower, and balancing on a SUP is a good way to counteract this. You don’t even have to paddle. Simply standing on the board in the water will work your muscles as you adapt to the movement of the water underneath you.
A good sense of balance is vital for those in certain jobs, particularly any which involve ladders or heights. It can also help you on slippery days too, or if you trip and go to fall.
If you participate in other sports, your added sense of balance could even help your performance in that too.
4. Works the whole body
This is a brilliant advantage of paddle boarding, because your whole body gets a good workout, and most of the time you don’t even realize it.
The simple act of walking in to the water with your SUP and balancing on it gives your muscles a workout, and then you have the paddling on top. Let’s look at how the different parts of the body are used when paddling.
- Leg muscles. These are used when you balance and as the SUP is continually moving, your legs are continually working to maintain your balance. You may feel stiff when you first start out on your SUP, but it won’t take long for your leg muscles to get stronger.
- Arms and shoulder muscles. You use your arms and shoulder for paddling, and for many other smaller activities on and around the board, such as carrying it down to the water. At first you may feel pain in the shoulders when you paddle as your muscles will not be used to this type of activity. As you spend more time on the water, you’ll notice your arms and shoulders have more power in them.
- Back. As you balance on your board, although your legs are doing the work, your back will be supporting you too. Similarly as you move your shoulders to paddle, your back will be moving with them and this will slowly strengthen your back as a whole.
- Core and abdomen. You use your core to paddle the SUP and this includes your abdomen. Every stroke you make, if you’re doing it right, will contract your abdominal muscles. Balancing also uses your abdomen so it won’t be long before you feel stronger and look leaner.
5. Less fatigue
As you build up your muscles, you will feel generally stronger. If your muscles are working properly, this means that simple tasks which may leave you feeling fatigued, are now easier for you to do.
Add to that the advantage of being outdoors in fresh air, and you get an even bigger boost to your fatigue levels. The big advantage to paddle boarding is that you don’t even notice the increase, as it happens so gradually.
6. Stress relief
With daily life becoming increasingly stressful, simply getting away from it all can be a huge relief.
Stress is a killer. It can cause many health issues, including heart problems and it stops you from thinking clearly. Reducing stress can improve your mind so you can think clearly, and this is a huge benefit to everyone’s life. Less stress can also improve your overall autoimmune system so you feel generally healthier.
Simply being out on the water is relaxing, with the gentle rocking of the SUP, the sounds of nature and no cars or noises to distract you. You’re away from phones, noise and social media and get the chance to simply unwind and forget all your worries. Some even compare paddle boarding to walking on water.
As you paddle you create a rhythm with the paddle and the overall effect is calming and relaxing. You can even sit and meditate or do yoga to enhance your experience on the water.
Then of course, the exercise itself is de-stressing too.
7. Cardio workout
When you begin paddle boarding, you probably won’t get much of a cardio workout, but as you increase in strength and start to paddle harder, you will soon give yourself a good aerobic workout.
It’s important to give the body this type of workout as it helps increase your heart rate and improves oxygen flow around the body. As you breathe deeper, you take in more oxygen to your lungs and your cardiovascular systems gets stronger too.
Simple paddling will give you a cardio workout, but paddling harder will give you a better one. Surfing and racing are two SUP activities will which really get the heart working. If you don’t want to do these, just paddle faster or have a short race with one of your friends.
Sometimes every day tasks just seem too hard. They use too much energy, take too much effort and use too much muscle power. Building up your stamina makes it easier to get through the day and get everything done.
The overall effect of paddle boarding helps to build up your stamina. Strengthening your muscles will make it easier to do physical activities, while the cardio workout helps develop your endurance. Reducing stress levels is a great help with stamina too, as it gives you a clear mind work on any problems you may have.
The combination of an improved cardiovascular system, stronger body and less stress, results in much more stamina.
9. Sun and fresh air
There’s a lot to be said for simply being out in the fresh air. The air around water, particularly the sea, is a lot fresher than it is in towns and cities, so you immediately feel the benefit of being out on your SUP.
Fresher air is good for your heart, lungs and your immune system. It also gives you a bit of a feel good kick too.
That’s not all you get from being outside. The sun is a natural source of vitamin D, and with modern hectic lifestyles, this is becoming increasingly important. Being stuck in an office all day, then going home in the dark, you won’t get the benefit of much sunlight. Without Vitamin D you will feel tired, you will be more susceptible to muscle aches and pains and it can even cause depression.
Even on a cloudy day, a good workout on a SUP will get you some benefit of Vitamin D. If it’s a nice sunny day, you’ll feel a lot happier when you finish your workout.
10. Lose weight
Paddle boarding is a great way to lose those few extra pounds. While you may not think a gentle paddle is doing anything, it will be. A SUP will help you build up muscle slowly, and as you do you will tone up, look leaner and start to feel fitter. Paddle boarding can burn 300-400 calories, just by paddling casually across the water.
As your strength and fitness increase, you can start to paddle harder and longer, and this then gives you a more physical workout – and this is where you can really start to burn those calories.
Walking and running are seen as good ways to burn calories and lose weight, but a SUP is a lower impact sport and so you are less likely to suffer an injury and more likely to continue with it.