Paddle boarding, or stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is fast becoming the rising star of mainstream fitness, its popularity soaring through increased accessibility and affordability, led in no small part by innovations in design and technology…and those awe-inspiring insta posts of those lucky enough to be locked-down near water over the past few months.
Where once pricey hard boards dominated, luckily for us, a market for quality inflatable boards with durability has emerged. These highly transportable, lightweight alternatives are transforming the sport, making it more approachable by giving an easy ride to newcomers wishing to itch their curiosity before investing in pro equipment.
The sports impressive growth can also be attributed to the lack 0f barriers to entry. Never taken up a paddle sport? No problem! Try your skills before you buy into the gear with rentals readily available in most water resorts or waterways at around the same price as a boutique fitness class.
What about the workout benefits?
Well, despite the serene images of paddle boarders gliding on lakes and tranquil seas, as an activity it nevertheless increases heart and breath rate enough to qualify as moderate to high intensity cardiovascular activity – all depending on how hard you take your session. As a low impact workout, it’s also a great cross training option for those with lower body injuries.
For the upper body, paddle boarding is going offer strength and conditioning which you may be missing in over cardio workouts which rely heavily on your lower body to power you through, such as running or cycling.
What about the all-important core? Well, whilst its not as engaged as your upper body at powering you through the water, your core muscles of the abdomen, lower back and hips will be called up for active duty in maintaining a strong torso position, contributing to greater postural control, balance and isometric trunk endurance.
Think it’s one dimensional as a work out? Think again. For those looking to push their paddle boarding beyond the social paddle to the next level, there is always the fantastically fun SUP Yoga or SUP Racing. A change of scene to more challenging waters or exploring during winter months can also throw up new elements and skills to master to spice up your workout.
Sold? As one the fastest growing sports take advantage of the plethora of certified instructors and classes on offer in your area, check out the British Stand Up Paddle Association for more information and inspiration!