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Paddle boarding is a great way to be active outdoors, burn calories and stay healthy, all while being relatively risk and injury-free. In this article, we’re going to cover some of the options and opportunities for exercise that SUPs provide.
1. Just Plain Riding
Recreational riding (cruising on the water) is one of the lower intensity workouts offered by paddle boarding, making it great for beginners or those who are recovering from injuries. But make no mistake, any form of exercise on the SUP will work most of the major muscle groups: legs, arms, shoulders, neck, back and core, as well as improve balance, endurance, strength, and flexibility.
2. SUP Yoga
Looking to put a little extra spice into your sun salutations? SUP yoga is perfect for experienced yoga enthusiasts, adding a bit more of a challenge to your routine with the water, waves and wind, and greatly improving balance, not to mention the meditative bliss of being in nature.
Touring consists of riding at a constant moderate pace, taking larger strokes and going farther distances, and focuses on building endurance. If you’re looking for a slightly more intense stand up paddle board workout than recreational riding, but don’t want to come out of it completely exhausted, touring might be the choice for you!
4. SUP Surfing
The second-most vigorous paddle board workout is SUP surfing. While the difficulty and calorie burn count varies, depending upon the sizes of the waves, strength of the wind and other factors, SUP surfing great for beginners and experts alike, though some paddling experience is recommended.
At the highest intensity level lies racing. Most commonly done on flatwater, racing is a real calorie burner, focusing on reaching your target heart rate and top speeds for a shorter burst of time than touring. If you’re looking for an extra challenge, try racing on the waves!
6-7. Balance Pushups and SUP Squats
Many exercises that are done on land can be done on a paddle board for the next level of difficulty, so long as they fit on the board. Two of the more common types are balance pushups and SUP squats, and doing these exercises on the paddle board yields an experience similar to using a bosu ball.
For balance push ups, slowly get into the push up position, with legs shoulder width apart. Lower yourself until your arms bend into a 90 degree angle, and push up. Do this for about 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions, adding 1 or 2 pushups each week. This will primarily strengthen and tone your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
This exercise will really test how well you have mastered maintaining balance. Position your feet parallel to one another, a little wider than shoulder width apart. Extend your arms out in front of you, keep your chin up, back straight, and squat down. And, as with the push ups, do this for about 2-3 sets of 5-8 repetitions, adding 1 or 2 squats each week. This exercise will work your thighs, hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteus maximus.
When it comes to getting a workout on your paddle board, the possibilities are virtually endless, and each option can target a particular area of focus. But no matter which choice you make, the beauty of exercising on a paddle board is that it works every major muscle group in the body simultaneously while remaining low impact, which means you can get more gain with a lot less pain. However, every sport has its risks, so attention to safety is always crucial. With that, I wish you all happy paddling!