Fitness That’s Fun: Stand-Up Paddle boarding

For a cool summer workout in the Great Outdoors, try the hot new sport of Stand-Up Paddleboarding.

Summer is the best time of year for spending time outdoors and being active. Stand-up paddle boarding has become so popular in recent years because it is fun, surprisingly easy and helps keep you fit.

Canoeing or kayaking on peaceful waters can be a soothing way to spend a warm afternoon. They allow you to explore nature and wildlife, and soak in the fresh air and sunshine. Paddle boarding can be equally pleasant or you can turn up the fun by using the board to surf, fish, race or do yoga.

Like a stability ball, a stand-up paddle board challenges your core, legs, hips and other muscles to work to keep you stable.

Stand-up paddle boarding can be an effective, total body workout. Like a stability ball, a paddle board challenges your legs, hips and muscles to keep you stable. Add paddling into the equation and you’ve got the entire body working to strengthen muscles and joints as well as burn a significant amount of calories. And, for those that really want a challenge, squats, push-ups, core exercises, or even yoga can be added for a little extra fitness fun. You may even see SUP exercise classes offered at community pools and the like.

If you can comfortably float, swim, or tread water, you can confidently get on a paddle board. I hear “I have no balance” or “I am not coordinated” very often with first-time paddlers. But I have managed to get even the most timid individual up, standing and paddling. And, if standing isn’t an option or just a little too much for you, you can kneel or sit! So, in all honesty, as long as you can swim, you can have a fun SUP experience.


That said, a lesson with a certified instructor is highly recommended. You will learn the necessary rules of being on the water as well as the skills to take with you as you continue to paddle throughout the summer. These lessons should cover water safety, water and wind conditions, paddle technique, board maneuvering, falling off and getting back on, and of course, how to get the most out of your time on the water.

For your first time, try a paddle board on flat water (bay, lake, quiet river) before heading out into the ocean. Wherever you paddle, know the conditions. This sport is based primarily on wind, water, and weather conditions.

There are several different shapes, materials, sizes, and price ranges for paddle boards. Being fit for a board for your desired use (yoga, excursions, racing, fishing, surfing, etc.) is important. Many shops can help you choose the proper board for you. And, many rental companies will fit you to a board and paddle for your size. My advice: just remember that quality is important. If you are committing to purchasing a board, buy one that you will get good use out for a couple of seasons. This might mean paying a little extra but it will last longer and glide better.

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