1. It's east to pick up, and can be done just about anywhere there is water!
Contrary to popular belief, learning how to SUP is not that hard. It involves a) learning how to stand, and b) learning how to turn. Simple right? The ocean will take a little more practice, but what's the worst that could happen? You fall off? When learning to SUP, it's all you - you go at your own pace and only push yourself as far as you are comfortable to.
2. It's an outgoing activity
It's easy to chat, and with these nice big boards, you can easily throw your kids or pets on with you. Fun for the whole family!
3. It's an excellent workout - arms, legs and CORE
Get those abs you've always dreamed of! 😉 Almost every muscle in the body is used at some point. The biggest thing about SUPping is BALANCE. You will notice your core, your legs and your toes working hard just to keep you standing. Add to that the paddle motion and you have an intense all round workout. So if you suffer from back pain, have you considered strengthening your core? Try SUPping!
4. It's low impact exercise
An additional benefit that SUP provides is that it is a very low impact exercise. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will do damage to the tendons and ligaments of your joints. If you lift weights in the gym or you engage in high impact sports, then your likelihood of injury is far higher than with stand-up paddling.
SUP is particularly useful for runners that are experiencing shin splints or knee and hip pain. With this type of sport it is possible to use up a lot of calories without damaging your joints.
5. It's an incredibly effective way to stay lean
It can burn 400 or more calories an hour, building lean muscle which will eat up energy even when you’re out of the water. Burning off excess weight in this way will help to reduce strain on problem areas like lower backs and knees.
On flat water, SUP provides gentle strength training, which is effective without being strenuous. If you’re racing or chasing waves, it’s a heart-pounding cardiovascular workout which builds lung capacity and stamina. SUP is a low-impact exercise, building fitness with a low risk of injury and no excessive strain on the muscles.
6. It improves your balance
The unstable board is what makes it such an effective workout. Although it might feel like you’re standing still, the wobbling of the board means that all your muscles are constantly working to keep your body upright.
With regular practice, you will find that your balance is better even when you’re off the water. This can improve your performance in other sports, and can even help if you do a physical job like decorating. It’s also fantastic for seniors, to offset the loss of balance which often comes with age.
7. SUP Yoga
To push your training even further, you can combine yoga and SUP – though it might sound like an unexpected combination, it makes sense to mix two low-impact activities with a similar focus on core strength and posture.
Beginners can try simple balances like the downward dog and mountain pose, whereas expert yogis might attempt headstands and inversions.
Doing yoga poses on a SUP board is more challenging and, because out in the open, more calming. You’ll refine your technique and the ‘ocean sound’ will let you focus more on your breath. It teaches you to get back up, may be a touch scary but a whole lot of fun!
8. You get to exercise outside, on the water, in the SUNSHINE
SUP can improve your health in ways beyond just cardiovascular fitness, especially if you paddle at the beach. Since the time of Hippocrates, sea water has been considered to have a purifying effect on the body; recent research has proven that exposure to salt water can ease dermatitis and dry skin conditions.
Salty sea air has also been shown to help clear the airways as you breathe, and an energetic workout like SUP will leave you breathing deeply and clearing your lungs right down to the bottom.
Exposing your skin to sunlight while you board means a boost to your body’s vitamin D production, and UV radiation is recommended by doctors as a treatment for psoriasis and acne. Sunlight improves your mood and helps you sleep better at night because it improves the secretion of serotonin and melatonin.
9. Stand-up paddleboarding is a powerful stress buster
Some of the benefits of SUP are psychological rather than physical. Any form of exercise will make your body release endorphins, providing a short-term burst of happiness and eventually leading to better sleep, improved mood, and less anxiety.
So, why paddleboard when you could walk around the block instead? Simply being around large bodies of water has been shown to have a relaxing effect – even recorded wave noises or a photograph of a lake have been scientifically proven to reduce stress.
Combine the relaxing effect of water with the healing effect of exercise, and you have a powerful natural stress buster.
10. It has a zen-like feel to it
During a good session on your board, outside worries fade away until it’s just you and the water. You’re fully absorbed in the experience, totally aware of every muscle in your body as you propel yourself forward.
Psychologists have referred to this state as ‘flow’, where you’re perfectly absorbed in something which is just difficult enough to require your full attention.
It’s the same feeling of mindfulness which is the goal of Zen meditation; and mindfulness has been linked to a whole host of health benefits, from improved memory to greater creativity and increased empathy.
Some even say that since the ocean was the place where life began on earth, riding on a wave allows the surfer to momentarily connect with this living memory. In Jungian terms, surfing gives you access to the collective Gaian mind of the planet. Fuzzy or not, if you tried it you’ll know it’s a spiritual activity.