#1 Great Cardio
SUPing can be a great calorie torcher, with the average person burning between 305 and 450 calories per hour, according to SUP World Mag, and that is just paddling at a walking pace in light wind. Anyone who has ever been stuck paddling in a headwind knows how great of a cardio workout SUPing can be. SUP surfers and racers can even burn up to 750 calories. While beginners who are struggling with their balance won't burn as many calories, once you have got your technique down you will be in for a great workout. The other beauty of SUPing as an exercise program is that it is extremely fun and social and studies show that participating in enjoyable physical activities can greatly support healthy aging.
#2 Works Entire Body
Unlike many other low impact sports Stand up Paddling Boarding works almost every muscle in the body, especially the core. It’s an exercise in strength and endurance that requires almost every part of the body to cooperate and pull its weight. While your arms, shoulders and upper back are helping to pull yourself through the water your core and low back are actively engaged to keep you balanced, particularly with the more side to side movements you make. Your legs are also getting a great workout as they are being used to stabilize your entire body on the board. Not many activities require you to keep yourself balanced for quite as long so, after paddling for the first time, don’t be surprised to feel muscles you never knew you had.
#3 Low Impact
Due to your position while paddling as well as the relatively little movement required, SUPing makes for an activity that is quite easy on the joints. Not only do you have little risk of injuring yourself while paddling but it also makes for an excellent recovery tool being recommended by physiotherapists for years particularly for those with back, shoulder and knee pain. Low impact sports also allow you to last longer while exercising which can improve your endurance as well as requiring fewer rest days than their high impact counterparts. This being said, good technique is important in order to make SUPing as low impact as possible.
#4 Improves Balance
There are few activities that can improve your balance as well as Standup paddling. You are literally forcing yourself to stand on a platform in the middle of the water. Now in yoga class there are no real repercussions if you start feeling lazy while in tree pose but if you don’t keep your balance while SUPing you may end up swimming more than you would like. SUPing will gradually build up ankle and joint strength making it a fantastic addition to athletic training. Now, If you are nervous about paddling for the first time because you don’t feel your balance is up to scratch you can always start out on a bigger sized board and work your way down as your balance improves. (If renting from Ottawa SUP simply express your concerns to one of our friendly staff and we will be more than happy to accommodate you)
#5 Reduces Stress
In my completely biased opinion there is no better stress reducer than Standup Paddleboarding. First of all, we know that exercise lowers levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol while increasing endorphins leaving us feeling happier. Now, couple that with the all mind consuming act of balancing on a board in the middle of the water which offers you no choice but to focus on the task at hand, leaving all of your worries on the shore. Plus being in nature, especially on the water, has been shown to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones. All of this results in the perfect stress reducing activity. This isn’t even mentioning what a great platform SUPing is for medititation which leads me to......
#6 Perfect environment for meditation and yoga
We all know by now that both Meditation and Yoga offer tremendous benefits to physical and mental health but these benefits can be enhanced by performing these activities in nature. One reason for this is that it improves your concentration. Meditating or doing yoga at home can be very distracting with your phone going off, kids yelling or even the next episode of The Crown calling to you. By being in nature you eliminate these distractions while adding the grounding sounds of nature to help strengthen your mind body connection. Also, the traction pad on the boards is more or less a large yoga mat giving you comfortable platform to perform these tasks. SUP yoga offers an additional benefit of upping your balance practice on even the simplest poses, making your sun salutation a legit core workout.
#7 Get Back to Nature
Lets face it, we all spend too much time on our phones and not enough time outdoors. A study from the University of Exeter showed that those who spent a minimum of two hours a week in a nature setting reported substantially higher levels of good health and mental well being. Plus we have a deep biological connection to water that can trigger an immediate response in our brains when we are near water that increases blood flow to our brain and heart that induces relaxation. If you live in the city you might find it time consuming or inaccessible to get out to nature but if your city has a river you might be surprised at quickly you can forget the crowds and the traffic when you are in the middle of the water and amongst the trees.
#8 Improves Posture
Speaking of spending too much time on our phones, our posture is worse than ever. Standup paddling is a very effective way of reversing the slouching that our screens are causing us. SUPing is the perfect combination of strengthening all those back and core muscles that are so important while engaging and lengthening our hip flexor muscles which tends to shorten and tighten when sitting all day. Also, simply with the act of standing we help keep the spine from being decompressed which will in turn improve circulation. Throw in some SUP Yoga and you will have great posture in no time.
One of my favourite benefits of Standup Paddling in comparison to other water sports is the variety and flexibility it provides as a platform. While it is obviously made for standing, the board can be used in many different positions such as on your knees, sitting down, your feet dangling in the water or even laying down when you are trying to get your daily dose of vitamin d. The beauty of this is you never get too sore or tired from being stuck in one position for too long. The other benefit is that SUPs are quite easy to get on and off from so, with your leash attached, dive off the board and go for a swim whenever you like.
The other benefit I find for SUPing when compared to other water crafts is the accessibility. SUPs are quite easy to handle and can be put on top of a car by one person alone. They are also very easy to strap on your vehicle and can even be put on a vehicle without racks with the use of a soft rack system. They are also light, usually weighing less than 30 lbs so they can be more easily carried from a parking lot to the water. Or, even easier, just get an inflatable paddleboard so you can toss it in your car, strap it to your back and away you go. You will have to pump it up but lets just add that to the improved cardio benefit.
So there you go, 10 reasons to try paddleboarding or to simply get out more. If you want to take advantage of these benefits then you can find us, Ottawa SUP, waterfront on the Rideau River at 1314 Bank st, right next to CA Paradis, Ottawa’s favourite kitchen store. See you on the water soon.