Is Paddle Boarding Good Exercise?

Calories Burned + Exercise Benefits of Paddle Boarding! -


Stand up paddle boarding, or SUP, is gaining popularity with each season because of its bounty of benefits. One major reason for that growth is because it’s a great way to exercise in the open air for everyone, from novice to expert.

Burning Calories:

Belly Measurement - Burning Calories Stand Up Paddle Boarding

The amount of calories burned during exercise on an SUP depends on a lot of factors: height, weight, time spent, and even the type of paddle boarding you do. Here are the estimated calories burned for each kind of SUP:


The most calm form of paddle boarding, recreational SUP is said to burn about twice as many calories as walking. In an hour, you can typically burn around 305-430 calories going at a relaxed pace.


SUP yoga allows you to escape the crowded studio, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the Zen-like peace of the outdoors. It also burns more calories than yoga on land from the added challenges, like wind, waves, and maintaining balance, averaging around 416-540 calories an hour.


Touring is an ideal endurance workout. While not as fast or difficult as racing, it’s a good medium between that and recreational: not too exhausting, but nonetheless an effective calorie burner. If you go at a constant moderate pace, you can burn anywhere between 615-708 calories in an hour.


Surfing is one of the more strenuous types of SUP exercise because the waves add an extra challenge, requiring more effort to paddle through. While the amount of calories burned depends on the height of the waves and how often you catch them, you can burn around 623-735 calories in an hour of SUP surfing in medium-sized waves.  


If you’re looking to put a dent in that calorie count, SUP racing will take care of it. The most intense of the SUP workouts, racing builds endurance, strength, balance, and speed. Depending on how fast you paddle and the conditions (waves burn more calories than flatwater), you can burn 713-1,125 calories in an hour!

Health Benefits:

Health Benefits of Paddle Boarding

Low Risk, Low Impact

Paddle boarding is a low impact form of exercise, which means that you can work out and reap all of the rewards without having to worry about the risks of injury. You have a much smaller chance of getting exercise-related injuries with paddle boarding than you do with lifting weights, running, and other activities. This low impact characteristic to the sport makes it ideal for people in rehab for injuries, allowing them to work out with less worries.

I Heart Paddle Boarding

SUP exercise builds cardiovascular endurance, raising your heart rate as you paddle. Strengthening the heart leads to lower chances of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. And, as mentioned above, it’s a great way to burn calories, which can aid in losing weight, putting you at a lower risk of developing diabetes, joint problems, etc.

Out in the Open Air

Exercising on the water has perks that can’t be met in a gym. According an article published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website, being out in the sunlight helps the body produce Vitamin D, an essential component to maintaining healthy bones. Being in sunlight also helps improve sleep at night, since it helps with releasing serotonin and melatonin.

If you go paddle boarding in a saltwater location, such as the sea or ocean, it’s been proven that salty air helps clear the airways and is beneficial for the lungs. Research has also shown that saltwater can help ease dry skin and dermatitis.

Eases Stress

While all forms of exercise are known to relieve anxiety and stress, paddle boarding is particularly effective because it is on the water. Studies have shown that bodies of water have a soothing effect on the body. The sound of waves or trickling rivers further helps relaxation. Less stress can lead to lower blood pressure, minimizing risks of heart disease.

Fitness Benefits:

Family Fitness Benefits of Paddle Boarding

Using the Whole Body:

Paddle boarding requires use of a wide range of muscles, working the legs, arms, shoulders, neck, back, core, all at the same time. Your legs, back and abdominal muscles work to maintain balance while standing for extended periods of time. Paddling strengthens the arms and shoulders with each stroke. With the whole body being put to use, no particular muscle is being overworked. The result is your muscles strengthening without so much fatigue at the end of the workout.

A Multi-Functional Exercise

When paddle boarding, you aren’t just doing one particular type of training, you’re simultaneously working on a number of types of exercise. In fact, paddle boarding covers 3 out of 4 of the major types of exercise all at once: endurance, strength, and balance. The fourth component is flexibility, so if you’re doing SUP yoga, you have all of your bases covered!

When It Comes to Price…

Gold Coins

One factor in finding the best way to exercise is the value of the price tag. While there are ways to exercise for free, very few compare to the wide range of benefits that paddle boarding boasts. Because SUP exercise trains so many different parts of the body, the only fair comparison would be a gym membership. Gyms provide various machines and ways to exercise all the muscles in the body, but it usually comes at the cost of a monthly fee. Paddle boarding is a one-time payment sport: when you buy the SUP and paddle. And, if you make the right choice, it can last for ages, essentially paying for itself over time.

Distant Paddle Boarder -

In Conclusion:

Paddle boarding is one of the best forms of exercise out there. Its advantages include:

  • Burning calories, which helps with weight loss
  • Lowering the risk of heart disease
  • Being on the water, which has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Using a wide range of muscles: neck, shoulders, arms, back, abs, and legs
  • Improving strength, balance, and endurance

When it comes to choosing one particular way to work out, SUP is pretty hard to beat. So give it a try! See yourself become stronger, healthier, and enjoy the beauty of working out, outdoors.