Why Stand-Up Paddleboarding Is A Killer Workout?

paddle board workout

Stand-up paddleboarding is easy, they said, but is it really? Have you ever tried going up on a paddleboard for a few minutes and maintain some balance? If you haven’t, then it’s worth a try. It might surprise you.

What is Stand-Up Paddleboarding?

What is Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding or simply SUP is a water activity where you stand on a paddleboard and paddle your way through the water. It’s a lot like surfing but with a paddle. Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not. 

A lot of people think that SUP is simple. How hard can it be to stand up on a board that’s wide enough for your whole body to fit? Besides, if you’re only cruising on calm water, then it’s hardly a challenge. However, this is hardly the case, and when you get on a paddleboard, you’ll understand.

There are other styles of paddleboard, too. The most common ones are SUP surfing, SUP yoga, and SUP racing. These styles range in difficulty. One thing’s for sure – they’re not as easy as standing on a paddleboard paddling about. 

9 Fitness Benefits of Stand-Up Paddleboarding

9 Fitness Benefits of Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Wondering why SUP is a great fitness activity? Here are 9 reasons why. 

It’s an intense core workout

Most people believe that SUP is all about the arms, how well you can paddle, how strong you are, and so on and so forth. However, this is not true.

When people try SUP, the first thing they have to learn is balance. This water activity is all about balance since you’ll be standing up on a board over water that keeps on moving and changing direction. And what part of the body is responsible for maintaining balance when standing up? It’s your core. 

Your abs are in for a lot of work when you step on that board. Your guide will also tell you to engage your core so that you can achieve balance throughout your body. Plus, your core will help you out when you turn from side to side. 

Keep in mind that one hour of paddleboarding doesn’t get you sculpted abs right away. For you to actually get that, you have to be consistent with paddleboarding. The same thing is true for any kind of exercise – consistency is key. 

It engages your whole body.

Even if your abs are the main body part that get worked out, your whole body is still engaged for the whole paddleboarding session. In other words, SUP is a great all-around workout. Here’s why. 

First of all, you have to use your arms and legs to get to where you want to go. Your arms do the paddling and steering while your legs help in turning the paddleboard to a certain direction. Even your knees, elbows, and shoulders all move so you can glide smoothly to either left or right. 

What’s makes SUP even better than your gym workout is that your muscles don’t ache the way they would when you exercise for a full hour in the gym. This is mainly because the water helps your movement to become fluid. You can say that the gliding motion is easier on your joints and muscles. 

It’s a cardio and strength training exercise in one. 

Do you want to lose weight? Try SUP! When it comes to weight loss, it’s always good to have the right mix of cardio and strength training. Gym trainers always stress that you have both but when you do hit the gym, doing both workouts seem hard to do.

With SUP, you get to do both without hating it. At first, SUP doesn’t feel like a cardio workout but when you increase the speed at which you paddle, then you’ll definitely get your heart rate up in no time. As for strength-training, the water will be your main source of resistance. 

SUP has the best of both worlds for all kinds of exercises. It’s a full-body workout with a focus on the core, and it’s also cardio plus strength training. Anyone looking for an hour of various kinds of exercise will get them on a paddleboard.

It’s low-impact but high in intensity. 

High-impact exercises are not everyone’s cup of tea. If you can relate, then you’ll love stand-up paddleboarding. Nothing about this water sport is high-impact so your joints are safe. 

But are low-impact exercises effective? Yes, they are. SUP sounds like a very chill activity but it’s pretty intense. Not only are you constantly maintaining your balance; you’re also resisting the water that pushes you to the shore. Don’t forget that you’re also constantly paddling so you go from one point to another. 

You’ll notice that when there are more waves, it gets so much harder to go where you want to, let alone maintain your balance. So if you think that SUP is still a chill sport, you haven’t tried it on waves. 

You’re immersed in nature. 

While nature doesn’t exactly increase your heart rate, it has other fitness benefits that make enthusiasts want to keep paddling. 

If you haven’t noticed it yet, you can’t do stand-up paddleboarding in the city. For SUP to be the real deal, you have to be in the sea or ocean. That way, you enjoy the full essence of stand-up paddleboarding. 

The benefit here is that you get to immerse yourself in nature. Being in nature even once a week has a lot of advantages. It takes you away from the busyness of the city. And even if you can’t take your mind off work, you’re forced to. With nothing but sun and water around you, you’ll feel a lot more relaxed.

You get to relax away from the busyness of the world. 

Speaking of feeling relaxed, SUP reinforces calmness. Since you won’t be holding your phone during the whole paddling session (unless you want it to get wet), you will be able to focus on your surroundings. There won’t be other stimuli to distract you but the water and the heat. 

Moreover, SUP can be demanding. Not demanding in a stressful way. Rather, it requires you to always watch your paddles, balance, and form. This way, you won’t be able to think of anything else but your movements and how you can stay standing on the paddleboard. 

It challenges your strength and endurance. 

You already know that you’re going to be working on your balance but did you know that SUP is a challenge for strength and endurance? In other words, SUP improves all aspects of your body. Even if you’re a newbie to fitness, you’ll love that SUP challenges your body without it feeling like a chore. 

In fact, you might not even feel that SUP is a challenge. By the time you step on that paddleboard, all you’ll probably think about is how to stand up straight while you deal with the waves. 

You burn a lot of calories.

Of course, a workout needs to do one thing – burn a lot of calories. SUP does that. If you’re looking to lose weight, this is the sign that you should try SUP to achieve it.

Based on SUP World Magazine, you can burn at least 300 calories in one hour of paddling. That’s relatively more than the calories you will burn when you just walk for an hour. And it gets even better – if there are more waves, you can increase the calories your burn up to 1000. 

Of course, there are other factors. The waves, the direction you take, and your style of paddleboarding will determine how many calories you will burn in an hour. Nonetheless, even if you just paddle over calm waters, you can still burn a minimum of 300 calories. 

You can challenge yourself based on your pace. 

Finally, SUP lets you challenge yourself based on your pace. As a beginner, you might not be in for a long paddling session and that’s okay. There’s no trainer that will tell you to keep on going for minutes without rest. So if you feel that you want to rest a bit or just want to enjoy the scenery, you’re free to do so. 

What stand-up paddleboarding allows you to do that is different from your regular gym workouts is pacing. It’s up to you to go hard on paddling for an hour or go easy. You can choose to be relaxed when you paddle. Besides, you’re already surrounded by nature, so why not enjoy it?


paddle board fitness benefits

If you’re still not convinced by how paddleboarding can benefit your body, then it might be time that you try it out to see how fun and beneficial it is. Anyone who has tried paddleboarding knows that it will tire you out but it’s super fun to do. 

Overall, SUP is great for your body – your abs, arms, legs, and even joints. To make it even better, you’ll be around nature. Not only does SUP improve your physical health, it also does the same for your mental and emotional health.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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