Part 2 of “Stand Up Paddleboarding: The Cure for What Ails You.”
You can find Part 1 Here
Need more proof that SUP can be therapy to an ailing body? In Part 2 of this article I’ll be listing some common sense approaches as to why you should rehab your body with by standing up…on a board.
Standing Up Improves Circulation, Detoxification, and Improves Moods and Awareness
We sit all day…in cars, in front of computers, at desks, at meetings, with children, and even at the gym we use bikes and recumbent bikes. Stand up paddling brings us back to using those standing muscles that we tend to neglect. It improves posture, by helping to lengthen the hip-flexor muscles – the front of the upper thigh which tends to shorten and get tight from sitting, and even causes us to hunch over.
I have experienced the benefits of SUP firsthand, and seen it make a difference people in a positive manner, inside and out.
Standing is a more appropriate position for our spine to keep it from being compressed as well. From a Yogi’s perspective, standing in good anatomical position invites what the yogi’s call the “energy channels” or “chakras” to allow energy to flow freely through the channels, improving circulation, detoxification, and overall better moods and awareness. While sitting on a bike, a kayak, a rowing machine has benefits as well, there is no better functional fitness than to stand.
Vitamin D: The Miracle Vitamin and Why You Need It
Vitamin D…lack of vitamin D causes muscle weakness, muscle spasms, muscle fatigue as well as depression, anxiety, and metabolic deficiencies. SUP requires being outside where we can absorb Vitamin D more readily than in any other form.
Most forms of therapy or fitness are done indoors and don’t offer the therapeutic benefits of fresh air, sunlight and nature. Just by stand up paddling regularly you can raise your Vitamin D levels to levels where your strength becomes greater, and can help issues like MS, hypothyroid disorder, depression, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), allergies, and even liver disease – all of which are ailments that are affected by low Vitamin D levels.
Standup Paddleboarding Eliminates Lower Back Pain
Strengthen your core like never before. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons estimate that 75-85% of people will deal with issues of low back pain at some point in their lives, and 50% of them have chronic issues that they deal with consistently. Most physicians and physios will agree that much of our low back issues today stem from lack of core strength.
Those beer bellies draping over our jeans, or constant sitting without engaging your core, or improper posture due to slouching are pulling on our low backs causing chronic issues with our low back. Stand up paddling requires you to engage your core, which is not only your abs, but essentially your abs, low back, hips, buns – basically the “cumber-bun” of your body, or center. Once your body learns how to rely on the core to stand tall, to move you, and to hold you up rather than your low back overcompensating, you can’t help but be finally free from back and hip issues.
Once your body learns how to rely on the core to stand tall, to move you, and to hold you up rather than your low back overcompensating, you can’t help but be finally free from back and hip issues.
Working From the Roots: Keeping the Body in Proper Physical Alignment
Working from the “roots” of the body, up improves overall alignment. Ask any chiropractor or physio and they will tell you the importance of good foot health and keeping the feet in proper balance and alignment translates to better knee alignment, better hip alignment, better shoulder alignment, neck and all the way. The feet are the foundation for a strong, correctly aligned body.
When we neglect the feet, such as relying on stabilizing shoes when we walk or run, or sitting and avoiding the use of the feet, other areas of our body tend to fall out of alignment. SUP requires great amounts of feet strength. Using all 10 toes, and all four corners of the feet, we “root’ down into the board with our feet hip-distance apart for stabilization, and this builds and creates good foot alignment and strength which then leads to helping realignment of the knees, hips, spine, shoulders and neck.
Vitamin P: The Lesser Known Nutrient
Vitamin “P”. Vitamin “P” is the lesser known of all the vitamins and not consumed properly. It actually stands for “Pleasure”. Often we relate pleasure activities to watching TV after work, having a glass of wine after a hard day, or playing video games to escape.
These are all just that: escapes and a way to “numb out” from life. But activities such as hobbies like stand up paddleboarding that create passion, purpose, and true pleasure through movement and being out in nature, which resonates wildly with our natural spirits provide us with ample Vitamin “P” and bring pleasure to our lives, so we need not seek “numbing out activities”.
It lowers stress levels, and ignites the “rest and digest” system of the body, producing more serotonin and dopamine, (your “I feel so good” neurotransmitters). With more serotonin production, depression fades away, anxiety is lessened and sense of calm resides with us.
Stand Up Paddling Gives Us a Deeper Connection
And speaking of nature resonating with our spirit…Stand up paddling gives us a deeper connection with the earth, and all of creation. If you’ve ever silently paddled along with a dolphin gracefully skimming the water next to you, or a blue heron flying above you, or a sea lion jumping in front of you, or a school of mackerel sparkling beneath you, you will understand what peace and calm transcends you as you connect to creation.
There is a healing that takes place not only from being in nature with the animals, but also, research as proven that bodies of water release “negative ions” that enhance a sense of well-being and promote healing in our bodies and our spirits. You can’t get that on a treadmill.
In my opinion and from my personal experience, SUP is healing and a cure for what ails you. I’m no doctor. I’m no physio. But I have experienced the benefits of SUP firsthand, and seen it make a difference people in a positive manner, inside and out, like no other sport or therapy has. And that makes me a believer and a Stand Up Paddler for life.