Does Paddle Boarding Burn Many Calories?

We all find ourselves carrying a few extra pounds now and then and when we do, we want to get fit to get those pounds off.

Most fitness crazes don’t last because we end up pulling muscles or tendons, so we give up – and the weight just goes back on again.

Paddle boarding is a great way to get fit and lose a few pounds. It’s a low impact sport with so many benefits that you can even lose weight while you chill and relax. It is suitable for all ages and all fitness levels and as with all sports, the harder you work, the more calories you will burn.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Burning calories

Experts say that women burn approximately 2,000 calories a day, while men burn 2,500. This is merely a guideline as no two people will burn calories at the same rate. A lot depends on lifestyle and how active that person is, as well as on their metabolism.

The rate at which a person burns calories depends on a number of different factors.

Gender: Men tend to burn more calories than women do.

Age: As you get older your metabolism tends to slow down, and you burn fewer calories.

Height and weight. The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn when you take up an activity.

What we can say is that the fitter you are, the harder you can exercise and the more calories you can burn. Paddle boarding is a way to slowly build muscle, and as you do this, you can burn more calories when you paddle harder and faster. Even gentle paddling is a great start to weight loss.

Before we look at paddle boarding, let’s look at a few other activities for comparison. These are all low impact activities which anyone of any fitness level can do. These figures are all based on an average.

  • Light gardening -330 calories per hour
  • Golf – 330 calories per hour
  • Cycling (depending on the speed) – 290 – 590 calories per hour
  • Gentle walking – 280 calories per hour
  • Swimming – 510 – 840 calories per hour

The great thing about paddle boarding is that it really is a sport for anyone, no matter how fit or overweight they are. Boards are built to hold a lot of weight, so even if you have more than just a few pounds to lose, you can still participate.

With paddle boarding, unlike in the gym, there will be no one telling you to go harder or faster, no set exercise plans or someone watching over your shoulder. You can go entirely at your own pace. At first you are more likely to build muscle than burn off calories, but this is a good start as this will help you build up to more strenuous paddle boarding activities to burn off more of those calories. Just standing on the board and balancing can burn 186 calories, because you are using so many muscles simply to keep your balance.

calories burnt paddle boarding


Recreational Paddling

This is probably where most beginners start. Paddling gently around the water, relaxing and taking in the scenery around them. This doesn’t appear to require too much effort, but all the time you are on a paddle board you are using your muscles to balance, and your arms and shoulders to paddle. Recreational paddling is most often carried out on calmer waters on a nice day, and the speed is nice and leisurely.

As we can see above, an hour of gentle walking will burn up 280 calories. An hour of leisurely paddling will burn up between 305 – 430 calories. As an added bonus you build muscle and get plenty of fresh air in the process.

SUP Touring

SUP touring is the next step up from recreational paddling. The speed is still moderately slow but touring will be done over a longer distance. Even though it doesn’t appear to be a physical activity, it’s still working the same muscles as you would for recreational paddling.

If you take up SUP touring, you can burn anywhere between 615 and 708 calories an hour. When you’re busy touring and enjoying the view as it goes past, you won’t even notice the calories you’re burning off.

SUP Yoga

SUP yoga is becoming increasingly popular. Carrying out a yoga routine in water is extremely relaxing, particularly on a clear, sunny day. SUP yoga does vary slightly from normal yoga, as every pose needs to be balanced on the SUP. This extra balancing uses extra muscle power and this helps you burn off more calories.

One hour of gentle yoga on land can use approximately 200 calories. One hour of SUP yoga can use between 416 and 540 calories an hour. It also provides a more relaxing experience.

SUP Surfing

Paddle board surfing is very popular. It offers an alternative to surfboards and SUPs can maneuver through the waves in ways that normal surf boards can’t. The addition of a paddle helps with steering to pick up more waves and keep them for longer. As a result, SUP surfing can be far more energetic and normal surfing as there is less time spent waiting for the surf.

Normal surfing can burn up between 200 – 400 calories. SUP surfing burns up between 623 – 735 calories an hour.

SUP Racing

SUP racing is fast, and some races are carried out over many miles. Races can be down rivers or across oceans. As you might expect, keeping control of a paddle board for this length of time takes a lot of power. Even short races are strenuous. With the speed of a race, turns around buoys, controlling your balance in surf, waves and winds – it’s no surprise that of all SUP activities, this one burns the most calories.

An average race can burn between 713 and 1125 calories an hour, and it keeps you super fit too.

As we can see, even the easiest of paddle boarding activities can provide a good work out to help burn off calories. As these burn off, you will feel fitter and healthier and you’ll probably look at new ways to use your SUP, learn how to choose the right board for your here.