Is Stand-up Paddleboarding Good Exercise?

Is Stand-up Paddleboarding Good Exercise?

Since 2013, stand-up paddleboards (SUP) have been increasingly popular in the fitness community. This is in part because it opens up new marketing opportunities and in part because they are actually very interesting watercraft to have.

Oftentimes when you see people paddleboarding on their feet they seem quite fit. Sculpted abs, and toned musculature seem like trademarks of any SUP rider. So, is stand-up paddleboarding good exercise and is that why people riding them look so good?

Maybe they are not a byproduct of the board and instead you need to be an athlete to use one properly. Also, are there any benefits of using a paddleboard? Some claim that it’s just like surfing without the adrenaline or the workout.

These are the questions we will be answering for you in this article. We’ll offer you information regarding what you can accomplish by using an SUP as alternative workout equipment.

We will help you have a better understanding of the watercraft and if it suits your needs.

Minimal gear investment

One of the most overlooked benefits is the fact that you have few requirements when it comes to gear. Apart from the actual board, paddle and a personal flotation unit (PFU), as recommended by the Coast Gard, you don’t need anything else to get going. This means that once you get an SUP for leisure activities you are also set with your own floating workout space.

A change of scenery reduces stress

Not everyone likes going to the gym or spending money on memberships. There’s nothing wrong with working out at home of course, but wouldn’t it be great if you could do it outdoors? We bet it’s even more exciting when you can do it on the water.

Water has a calming effect on most people. As long as the body of water is large enough and you have some privacy, the full body workout from stand-up paddleboarding will also help you detach from your daily troubles.

Cardio health benefits

Is stand-up paddleboarding good exercise if you’re not fit? Yes, it is. The full body workout you get from paddling and maintaining balance is not too aggressive. Unlike swimming routines, your muscles don’t get fatigued as fast.

Because you can spend hours at a time on an SUP, you also get a cardio workout. It is a low-intensity routine that can benefit children just as much as adults. Its similarity to running or aerobics makes stand-up paddleboarding a fun alternative training routine.

Low risk of injuries

The low intensity of paddleboarding, even when standing on your feet, lets you put your body to work for a longer time. Because the position is quite comfortable, you can spend many hours on the water. Eventually, you will feel a bit sore but this only proves that it is working.

Some of you may wonder about falling off or suffering joint injuries. So, is stand-up paddleboarding good exercise when you consider all that? Of course it is because these are not issues you will encounter on an SUP.

Although it is similar to running or swimming in the sense that it puts your entire body to work, the impact is low and there is no strain or pressure on your joints. SUP is even recommended to the elderly as it can be an alternative to water aerobics.

You don’t need to catch your breath on an SUP which means you won’t lose focus. The even distribution of effort throughout your muscles will also prevent cramps. Still, it’s a good idea to have a PFU handy, just in case.

Is stand-up paddle boarding good exercise for kids?

As long as your kid knows how to swim and uses a PFU, they will do just fine. Kids rarely need to stay fit because their bodies are constantly going through changes. This doesn’t mean that an outdoor activity can’t benefit them.

Since it’s hard to get any child to work for something, what can be better than mixing pleasure with a bit of a workout? The low impact of stand-up paddleboarding is a good way of improving a child’s physical development.

Workout routines you can do

Perhaps one of the most convenient aspects of paddleboarding to keep in shape is that you don’t need an instructor by your side. You are only limited by your imagination when you’re out on the water.

The most obvious ways of how you can spice things up are to do balancing exercises. If you want to push your workout to the limit, then simple paddling won’t cut it. Balancing acts while on a floating surface is how you can get the most out of an SUP workout.

This is why yoga poses have been introduced to paddleboarding. There are still skeptics about yoga being a workout but it’s usually just the people that have yet to give it a try.

There are different workout methods practiced all over the world and while some seem just like warm-up stretches, others can really get your heart rate up.

Is stand-up paddleboarding good exercise for recovery patients?

Similar to how it works for kids and the elderly, the low impact SUP has on the body makes it a good choice for anyone recovering from injuries. It’s not a good fit for people who can’t stand on two feet, but for everyone else, it’s a good start.

Because it offers some cardio benefits too, patients recovering from cardiovascular-related illnesses can use paddleboarding as a way to get back to normal. It puts less strain on the heart than aerobics and running.

Conclusion: Is stand-up paddleboarding good exercise in general?

Stand-up paddleboarding offers a decent full-body workout for all ages. It is low intensity and doesn’t work the heart too hard. The minimal gear requirements make for a very cost effective watercraft.

You can detach and reconnect with nature in your free time and at the same time work every muscle in your body without feeling burned out.

As long as reaching a calm body of water isn’t too out of your way, owning an SUP can help you combine two activities in one: sightseeing and working to stay fit and healthy.


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