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7 Stand Up Paddle Boarding Fitness Benefits You May Not Know

Posted by Luke Green

We already know that SUPing is a great workout, however the endless paddle boarding fitness benefits that there are might just surprise you. Paddle boarding is an incredibly enjoyable way to exercise, however one that’s full of hidden health and fitness benefits. These are just a few of the top paddle boarding fitness benefits that you may not have considered before:


Working your whole body


One of the main paddle boarding fitness benefits that is often overlooked is its ability to work your entire body. Unlike other sports which tend to focus on working only certain muscle groups, paddle boarding combines muscle building with cardiovascular fitness. Standing up on a paddle board, propelling yourself through the water (and staying on the board!) engages your whole body. The muscles in your legs are working hard to keep your feet firmly on the ground, your core is engaged to keep you centred and balanced, whilst your upper body is put to work when you paddle, in order to propel you through the water. Even your fingers, toes and neck are working hard to keep you balanced and centred on that board!


Improving balance


Standing up on a paddle board (and staying on it!) requires a great amount of balance and so it’s no surprise that paddle boarding regularly will help to improve your overall balance and coordination. When you’re out on your SUP you’re constantly using your legs, back, core and arms to keep yourself stable.You can practice your balancing skills off the water or try out SUP yoga in order to enhance these paddle boarding fitness benefits by furthering improving your balance, as well as your muscle strength.

3 women paddle boarding off the coast of Devon
Woman Paddle Boarding On A Choppy Sea

Building core strength


When you’re out on your SUP you’re constantly using your arms to propel yourself forward. This means you may not be aware that one of the main paddle boarding fitness benefits is in improving core strength. This is because your core plays a key role in keeping you balanced and helping you to power through the water. Every time you take a stroke your abs are engaged, building up your core strength as you move through the water. If you’re up for a challenge you can also boost your core strength by practicing paddle board core workouts, either on or off the water.


Enhancing joint stability


Another key paddle boarding fitness benefit involves SUPing being a low impact exercise. This means it doesn’t put excessive strain on your muscles and joints, like many land activities such as running. This is why paddle boarding is commonly used as a form of physical therapy for athletes who are in rehabilitation. SUP fitness activates small muscles in the foot and lower leg, meaning it is particularly good for helping rebuild the muscles in the foot caused by ailments or conditions such as plantar fasciitis. 


Providing a cardio workout


As paddle boarding uses your entire body, it also provides a great cardio workout. This is one of the main paddle boarding fitness benefits that is often overlooked. As you advance your paddling skills, you can increase the intensity of your workout by paddling faster or doing challenging SUP exercises whilst you’re out on the water. The cardiovascular benefits of SUPing will help to lower the chance of developing diseases such heart disease and diabetes.

woman on her paddleboard on a lake doing a yoga pose
Paddleboarder on a flowing river

Burning fat


Another paddle boarding fitness benefit that is often overlooked is its ability to help you burn calories. SUPing looks like a very tranquil sport, however it’s an intense workout that is great for burning calories. In fact, by doing an hour of leisurely paddling you could burn between 300-400 calories. If you’re an advanced paddler, then by paddling in the surf or competing in races you could be burning as many as 1000 calories per hour. 


Building stamina


We couldn’t complete a list of paddle boarding fitness benefits without mentioning its role in building stamina and endurance. When you’re out on the water, it’s such an enjoyable and relaxing experience that you can end up paddling for hours without realising how much exercise you’re doing, and the many paddle boarding fitness benefits that you’re experiencing. Starting off with short paddle expeditions and working your way up to longer SUPing adventures is an enjoyable way to build your physical stamina.