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Health Benefits of Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Health Benefits of Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Besides being an incredibly fun sport, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is also rewarding to your body and mind. It's a great pastime with family and friends, but it also offers a great deal of health and mental wellness. Whether you're gliding through the open waves of the ocean or along a slowly flowing tree-lined river, SUP gives you a great chance to connect to nature while getting a low-impact entire-body workout.

Is Stand Up Paddleboarding Good For You?

Stand up paddle boarding is a safe sport for people of all skill levels and ages, and it's why it's gained much popularity over the last decade. Research shows that, from 2011 to 2021, the total number of SUP participants aged 6 and above amounted to 3.74 billion. The worldwide stand up paddle board market is forecast to exceed $3.8 Billion by 2032 from the 1.5 Billion estimated market for 2022.

Whether you’re looking for an unsophisticated and effective way to improve specific areas of your health or a complete lifestyle change, there’s a better chance that SUP is just what you need.


A woman stand up paddle boarding

Top Health Benefits of Stand Up Paddle Boarding

A relaxed outdoor adventure on your paddle board will improve your health in several ways:

  • Mental well-being benefits

  • Physical health benefits and exercise

Mental Health Benefits

Stand-up paddle boarding will not only burn some calories and fortify your muscles but also boost your emotional well-being. Let's dig into the mental health benefits of stand up paddling.

1. Reduces Stress

Outdoor activity is the utmost de-stressor. Studies show that immersing oneself in nature decreases your heart rate and lowers cortisol, the stress hormone.

A man paddle boarding in alake filled with nature and sunset

When your body is under movement, it produces endorphins, hormones released during pleasurable activities that make you feel good. So, hurry and get yourself a stress-relieving paddleboard.

2. Aids in Unwinding

Gliding across the water's surface is a great way to free your mind from the daily stresses of your life. The rhythm of the ocean waves, the sound of water, the breath of fresh air, and the hints of nature will help you decompress and unwind. Moreover, during the paddling activity, you'll have to focus, stopping the trails of work and other stressful thoughts from clouding your mind.

To top it off, you'll have to leave your electronic devices when you go out into the water. Disconnecting from technology for an hour or more can have a significant impact on your stress levels.

3. Helps to Connect with Nature

After a long day or week of glazing at a computer screen at work, engaging in a paddle-boarding session is the ultimate means to get back to nature. Stand up paddling allows you to interact with nature as you experience the scents, sounds, and sights of the waterfront surrounding.

still waters surrounded by nature

4. Reduces Depression

Any medical professional will inform you that exercise and emotional well-being go hand-in-hand. And what better way to reduce your sorrows than engaging in a low-impact, fun exercise? Coasting across still waters is an excellent opportunity to lift your spirits.

5. Provides Opportunities for Socializing and Networking


A group of people Paddle boarding

If isolation isn't what you're looking for in an outdoor therapeutic activity, SUP is an excellent choice. Paddle boarding is a very sociable sport. It's a great way to spend time with your loved ones and meet new people with a shared interest.

You can bring snacks and drinks to picnic with your family and friends or just enjoy the company of like-minded individuals in your paddle-boarding environment.

Fitness Benefits and Exercise

1. Better Your Posture and Balance

Even though SUP is a highly accessible activity, balancing is often a challenge for beginners. as a first-timer, you'll fall off severally. However, with regular practice, more so during the oar movement, the activity mobilizes the upper limbs, lower limbs, and abs to maintain balance on the board. Eventually, what seemed like "an effort" at the start will rapidly turn into reflex.

2. Reduce Joint Stress

when paddling in a standing position, you experience a full body exercise without impact on your joints. While many sporting and exercise activities are great for your health, most can damage your muscles and joints.

SUP mainly involves maintaining your balance while padding in a standing position. The chances of acquiring an injury while on your paddle board are low.

3. Low-Impact Exercise That Minimizes Wear and Tear of the Body


stand up paddling technique

Unlike other sporting activities, like running, stand up paddle boarding is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on your body while increasing your heart rate and breathing for fat burn. SUP can help you achieve your workout goals without aggravating a sports injury or causing a new one.

4. Provides a Full Body Workout

Spending hours at the gym can sometimes be exhausting and unexciting, especially if you're not passionate about fitness. Want something fun that will benefit your body? Stand up paddle Boarding is an excellent sport for general body fitness. SUP targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

During paddling, it targets your upper body, including your chest, arms, and shoulders. It also targets your core and leg muscles as you try to maintain balance against water and weather conditions.

5. Improves Cardiovascular Health

Generally, physically fit people have lower chances of developing coronary heart disease. SUP helps increase and maintain a high heart rate during the activity leading to weight loss and reduced risk of stroke and heart attack.

When you paddle intensely, you'll burn many calories, depending on your weight. The heavier you are, the more calories you burn.

How SUP is a total workout

6. Strengthens Core Muscles

A healthy and strong core helps to reduce back pain, improve body posture, and protect your delicate inner organs. In addition to improving body posture and maintaining body fitness, Stand up Paddle boarding engages the core muscles, strengthening them.

As you regularly indulge in the sport, you'll notice gradual improvements in your paddling technique.

While your balancing improves with time and practice, you give your core a workout, increasing your core strength. That's because you use your core muscles to stabilize your body on the paddle board.


How stand up paddle boarding works the core

7. Boosts Endurance

If endurance training interests you, SUP is a wonderful sport to consider. While your strength, balancing skills, and paddling technique improve, so will your ability to paddle with great intensity for longer distances.

Equivalent to running, you can develop a routine that works for you. You can also set goals and try to outrun your best time. Just make sure to use the right paddle board.

8. General Weight Loss

Are you tired of costly weight loss supplements and fad diets that simply aren't effective? Stand up paddle boarding is an excellent way to burn calories and lose weight. Most importantly, it doesn’t require expensive gym memberships and tiresome diet programs.

According to research by Arizona State University, a male weighing 140 lbs can burn approximately 385 calories after 60 minutes of SUP. A female of the same weight can lose 436 calories.

how different paddling styles burn calories

9. Great Way to Sun Exposure

Sunlight plays a significant role in boosting the body's vitamin D production. Unlike other crucial vitamins acquired from food, vitamin D can be produced in the skin by exposure to UVB radiation. Vitamin D is critical for bone formation. Its deficiency can cause rickets in kids and reduced bone mineral density in adults. Stand up paddle boarding offers a great chance outdoors in the sun.

10. Fewer Injuries

Because of the low-impact nature of stand up paddle boarding, it can be great for rehabilitation injuries. Injured sportspeople can increase strength and maintain their fitness without inflicting harm on their injury. SUP is gentle on joints and muscles.

stand up paddle boarding technique to prevent injuries

However, your body may feel sore after a day out paddle boarding. But the soreness is a great sign of building muscle power and overall body strength. In the long run, the exercise will boost your stamina and help you become fitter while experiencing fewer injuries.

Time TO SUPup!

Whether for fun, physical, or mental health, SUP boarding has something to offer everyone. If speed is your second name, stand up paddle boarding offers a platform to enjoy events where speed across the water surface is appreciated.

SUP fitness is ideal for everyone searching for an activity that doesn't only promote fitness and weight loss. It's a sport that empowers people to seek beyond physical fitness and look into other areas, such as mental wellness.


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