Standup paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun activity that is perfect for a group of friends and the whole family. Besides the fun and the thrill of “walking” in water, it has quite some benefits as well. No wonder why it was one of the growing sporting activities nowadays, with more and more first-timers trying out. Take a look at some of the great benefits of SUP:
1. It’s a sport for everyone
One great thing about SUP is that it’s relatively easy to get started. It doesn’t take much practice to master balancing and paddling since after you’ve learned to stand up and turn your board around, there’s nothing much more to learn. You can easily control your speed, making it less intimidating for beginners, compared to other water sports like windsurfing.
Another good thing about SUP is that it offers different levels of intensity, as you can go on a gentle drift across a calm lake, paddle out to the sea to catch waves or experience a heart-pounding paddle against a river current. Because it’s easy to learn and can be done on any body of water, SUP is equally suitable for people of all ages, and it is perhaps the only sport that is enjoyable for both the elderly and extreme sports enthusiasts.
2. It improves your balance
The unstable board against the water is what makes it a great workout. SUP will definitely help improve your sense of balance as you try to stay standing upright while the board is wobbling. At first, you may fall a lot, but with regular practice, you can find that your sense of balance is improved.
With a better balance, you can also have improved performance when it comes to other sports. It’s even great for senior citizens, to help offset the loss of balance that often comes with aging.
3. It exercises your whole body
SUP is a full-body workout, as almost every muscle of the body is used during paddleboarding to keep your body in an upright position. Because you need to balance yourself, the leg and the core muscles will be working to stabilize your center of gravity. Your arms, shoulders, and back will be used to paddle and propel the board and yourself in the water. Your core, abdominal and back muscles will work together to maintain balance. Your heart will beat faster, and your blood vessels will open, increasing the oxygen that comes to your brain. With this, your organ functions will also improve.
4. It’s a low-impact workout
Another benefit of SUP is that it’s a low-impact exercise, meaning, it can’t do serious damage to the tendons and ligaments of your joints. Remember, even young kids and elderly can do SUP, so it’s not intense and extreme as compared to high-impact sports. It can even benefit athletes like runners who are experiencing knee or hip pain or shin splints, as it can help them increase strength and recover from injuries without doing intense workouts.
5. It boosts cardiovascular health
When you’re racing and chasing waves, SUP becomes a heart-pounding workout that builds stamina, heart and lung capacity. You can race with your friends while paddling if you want to make it challenging, which gets your heart rate up. Because of this, your risks of suffering from heart attacks and strokes are reduced. It is because paddleboarding is also a type of cardio exercise like aerobics, running, jogging or cross training – all of which improves cardiovascular health and prevents the risk for heart-related diseases.
6. It improves your strength and endurance
One major health benefit of SUP is that it can strengthen your core muscles, especially the obliques and inter-vertebral muscles. As mentioned earlier, it makes all the muscles work together, so it builds strength and stamina without overtraining.
On your first days of trying out SUP, you will feel a little sore all over your body, which means you’re building up your overall body strength. As you learn how to do standup paddleboard, you begin to master it with improving endurance, and you’d notice that your muscles aren’t getting as tired and sore as before, and you are able to paddle in increasing time and distances.
7. It helps you lose weight
If you’re looking for an effective and fun way to lose weight, try SUP. It’s a great way to stay lean as paddleboarding can help you burn 400 or more calories in an hour, building lean muscles that consume energy even when you’re out of the water. It helps lower your body fat more effectively than going on skimpy diets or weight loss pills.
8. It reduces stress and offers meditation.
SUP is a great stress-reliever, too. You know that bodies of water have that relaxing effect that calms you down and soothes you. As you glide, the sensation of walking on water and the rhythms of your paddle strokes will help melt stress away while you’re fully absorbed in the experience. As with any form of exercise, SUP makes your body release endorphins, which boosts happiness levels that lead to improved mood, better sleep, and less anxiety.
Paddleboarding also offers the optimal environment for meditation. While you’re in the calming aura of the water, your sense of awareness of every move you make heightens as you balance yourself and paddle away. Being in this state of mind improves your focus, cognitive functions, memory, as well as creative and empathetic abilities.
9. It allows you to do yoga while on the water
When you’ve finally mastered balancing on the paddleboard, you can push your training even further by practicing yoga while on it. Doing both mixes two low-impact activities that similarly focus on core strength and posture. Performing yoga on the paddleboard adds extra difficulty in balancing, and it can be a lot of fun and challenge for an experienced yogi.
10. It exposes you to the benefits of seawater, breeze and the sun
The ambiance of the waters, the sun and the scenery around it make SUP a more pleasant and relaxing workout than being in a cramped gym or fitness studio. Especially when you’re at the beach, the seawater has a purifying effect on the body. Research has proven that saltwater can ease dry skin conditions, and the salty sea breeze can help clear the airways as you breathe. The sunlight you receive while you’re on board can boost your vitamin D production and helps improve your overall mood.