Have you been wanting to find a new way to look after your health? With the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns all over the world limiting what you can do, it’s more important than ever to find something that is safe but will still keep your mental and physical health in shape. Stand up paddle boarding allows the isolation (should you want it), while it’s also a great workout and stress reliever.
In this post, we’ll take a look at seven of the most important health benefits that you’ll gain with stand up paddle boarding. You’ll see that it’s not only fun but also a great boost to your health!
An awesome core workout
Stand up paddle boarding is, first and foremost, a superb workout for the entire body. Everything from your neck to your toes will be engaged to keep you upright and balanced on the board as you move across the water. However, there’s one part of the body that get just that little bit more attention than everywhere else – and that is the core.
The twisting and turning of SUP, combined with your abdominal and back muscles helping you to maintain balance mean that the core is strengthened pretty quickly. If you want a toned stomach, there’s no better way to get it than this.
Improves balance and stability
Not only does working on your core give your abs definition, but it also helps with your balance and stability. You’ll rely on more than just your core for that though. Because you’re upright on an unstable surface (even on the calmest waters, the board is likely to rock a little), your legs are working overtime to keep you upright too.
With this awesome combination of core strength and balance training, your body will move as one – including your arms and feet too. Therefore, the paddle strokes will be in sync with the rest of your movements and allow you to remain on your board with confidence.
Helps with weight loss
While muscle definition and an improvement in balance and stability are nice things to have, sometimes people just want to lose weight when they do exercise. Fortunately, SUP takes care of that too. There are many different variations of SUP, each with slightly different calorie counts per hour or session. A rough guide is as follows:
Regular SUP: 300 – 450 calories
SUP Yoga: 400 – 500 calories
SUP Surfing: 700 – 1,000 calories
SUP Touring: 1,000 calories +
Even the most gentle stand up paddle boarding workout is twice as good for losing weight than going for a walk at an average pace. While you may be excited by the potential weight loss benefits (and how much fun) surf SUP and touring are, it’s a good idea to learn the basics of SUP first and use these as a future target.
Keeps your heart healthy
Losing weight and muscle tone are visible benefits to SUP, but there are some advantages that are a little more well-hidden. One of these is your heart. Because muscles are engaged all over your body, it is pumping harder to get oxygen to all of them, meaning that your body’s circulation is sped up. This boosts cardiovascular endurance.
Increased circulation in SUP yoga combines with yoga breathing techniques which not only increases your cardiovascular health, but also reduces stress and improves mental health (more on that later).
Long term benefits of cardio work mean that you will be at a lower risk of health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, while you’re also less likely to suffer from strokes.
It’s easy to think that with such a great all-over workout, you’ll be aching for days after a SUP session. However, that’s not always the case. Sure, when you first start off, or when you do a really intense session, you’ll be feeling it afterwards. But that’s not always a bad thing. Soreness through your body is proof that your muscles are building – and after a while you won’t notice it at all.
SUP is similar to swimming as it is a low impact sport – engaging muscles, joints, and ligaments without putting extra stress on them. It’s also a fantastic way to rehabilitate when coming back from an injury.
Boosts Vitamin D Levels
Though you can paddle board in any weather, it’s always nice when you get a sunny day. And for those who have desk jobs and use SUP as a weekend escape, that chance to top up your levels of Vitamin D is key.
It is important to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays, which can be harmful if you get too much exposure. A wetsuit is a good way to do it if there’s lots of sun but the weather isn’t too warm, while reef safe sun cream protects both your skin and the environment.
Reduces Stress and improves mental health
One of the key reasons that stand up paddle boarding stands out as such a great sport is that it has quite obvious mental health benefits as well as physical. The gentle nature of this sport can slow your brain right down, making it easier to escape from any stress that may be present from your job or home life.
Focus on the present moment and allow your brain to release serotonin and endorphins – seeing your mood improve in no time at all.
Want a paddle board? Check this guide on how much SUPs cost for more information.