It’s a brand new year everybody! It’s 2019.
Time to stop putting off your workout goals and take up a sport that will help your body and mind attain spiritual balance.
We’re talking, of course, about paddle boarding.
Paddle boarding is a sport that actively engages your entire body by hitting each muscle group all while keeping you grounded with nature.
No gym membership required.
Just a board and a paddle will gain you all the benefits of carving that healthy beach body with a fun exercise that will get you out in the sun.
With so many health benefits of paddle boarding we felt obliged to compile a list for you. Let’s go through them!
1) Full body exercise
Paddle boarding can offer a wide range of exercise opportunities. From a relaxing day in the sun to an intense workout, paddle boarding engages your muscles from toes to shoulders.
For the shoulders, triceps, and arms, the constant paddling back forth between sides will activate all parts of your upper body. Not to mention just carrying the board to and from the beach is a workout on its own. Your core muscles, you’ll notice rather quickly, will be constantly engaged in order to balance and maintain your overall technique. The lower body will also be activated from standing and counterbalancing against the paddling. You’ll feel it in your quads and calves as well as the stabilizer muscles throughout your ankles, knees, and hips.
2) Cardio boost
Most water sports, due to the demand of the ocean are great cardio workouts. This is only more so when you’re standing the entire time. The amount of calories that can be burned with just one hour of cardio on the paddle board is incredible. At a high intensity workout combined with catching waves every few minutes, paddle boarding can burn between 600 to 700 calories per hour. Consider that the next time someone is throwing stats about the benefits of walking or running!
3) Improves balance
As we all know, surfing requires a tremendous amount of balance. In fact, with any board sport, balance becomes a key ingredient to the success or failure of your performance. With paddle boarding, it begins and ends with balance. Forget being able to ride waves without falling off, the first part about paddle boarding is just standing without falling off. Add the gentle rocking of the sea below you and you have a grade-A balance machine beneath your feet.
Balance is improved through a combination of core muscle strengthening, stabilizer muscle training, and practice. With paddle boarding, you’re not only getting the fantastic workout outlined above, but you’re also able to target small stabilizer muscles in the ankle, knee, and hip area. With this comes a greater feeling of stability in your everyday life.
If you’re struggling to balance on your board try simple exercises at home to improve.
4) Low impact sport
With all the above mentioned benefits, it’s incredible that we can pile on an additional one. Not only is this sport an incredible source of physical health improvement, it’s also done with no cost to the body. The combination of the water below the board and the board’s squish allows for a low-impact sport that exercises the body in a controlled manner. This is especially true for those of you with joint issues.
With low impact exercise, the body is allowed to gradually put on muscles and to strengthen without risking injury and putting stress on joints. So often when people think of low impact sports they think of repetitive activities, usually ones that aren’t particularly stimulating. With age comes a need for this style of exercise and paddle boarding can be just that. It’s an enjoyable experience which if you fall, you’re falling into water. So there’s no harm (except for the occasional belly flop).
It’s also great for if you are rehabilitating an injury as the low impact will allow a gradual regaining of strength which will then hopefully last a lifetime.
5) Meditative / Stress Reduction
The gentle rocking of an ocean beneath your feet helps to create a natural meditative state. And while this is an activity that can be done on still waters or the ocean, most paddle boarders prefer exercising in the ocean as the constant ripple beneath the boards keeps their mind focused on the activity. It’s harder to not be in the present moment when you’re paddle boarding. (If you’re ever not in the moment, falling into the cold ocean water will be a quick reminder to be back in the moment!)
Enjoy paddling out solo and really diving into yourself. It’s a great way to clear your thoughts, think through any problems you have, and just be in a mindful state. It’s been reported that the ocean waves and beach atmosphere create a calming effect in our brains. This is probably why so many people vacation to beach resorts. As soon as they arrive they’re naturally calmed by the atmosphere.
6) Reconnect with nature
In an age where people are constantly on their phone and in a state of hustle and bustle, it’s important to find time to disconnect and spiritually cleanse the palate. And what better way than out in nature! It’s like enjoying all the benefits of camping but out in the ocean.
Being able to feel mother nature’s energy is an incredible source to tap into. It’s no wonder that the surf culture is stereotypically laid back. The “anything goes” mindset is due to the fact that everyone is out connecting with nature in a very intense way. Understanding a force that is more powerful than any other in the world and being able to ride alongside it is both a humbling experience and a teaching one.
Whether you’re looking for a mental benefit, a physical benefit, or anything in between, paddle boarding is the sport for you. Enjoy the naturally meditative ocean with a sport that allows for anything from rigorous cardio and muscle building exercises to calm days out at sea. Great to do solo or in tandem with a friend or partner. Whichever way you prefer, you’ll feel the spiritual cleanse that comes from paddling out to sea.
Interested in picking up a paddle board of your own? Make sure to check out our best paddle boards list! Click to view guide.