Are you searching for a full body workout that lets you have fun and experience the great outdoors all at the same time? Now is the time to try stand up paddle boarding.
With a history going back thousands of years, this is one sport that has skyrocketed in terms of popularity over the last few years. Not to be confused with traditional surfing, stand up paddle boarding might look relaxing at the surface, but dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that it delivers a pretty intense workout.
In case you need any more convincing, here are five more reasons why stand up paddle boarding should be the next exercise class that you try.
1. It offers a whole body workout
The movement of the water means that you will need to take control of your core in order to balance without falling off the board. You will soon discover abs that you never knew you had, and you’ll quickly notice your legs becoming more toned as you aim to stay afloat.
However, stand up paddling isn’t just about balancing by using your core and lower body. It’s an effective way of training the upper body as well, as you’ll need arm power to paddle through the water. Your shoulders and back muscles will strengthen thanks to this paddling motion, working out your top half just as much as your bottom half.
This is an activity that requires a lot of coordination, so it’s a great workout for your brain as well. The mental stimulation will actually create new brain cells and develop the links between those that already exist, helping you to think more clearly and work more efficiently well after you step back onto dry land.
In addition, exercising in the fresh air will provide you with plenty of oxygen, which helps to boost circulation and cell regeneration.
Where else can you find an activity that works every muscle in your body – in a way that starts showing results quickly – as well as improving your overall mental and physical health at the same time?
2. Experience the great outdoors
As long as you have access to a body of water, you can have a go at stand up paddle boarding.
If you live inland, look for a lake or a gentle river. If you live near the coast, head for the ocean.
Regardless of where you try stand up paddling, the nature that will surround you will be spectacular. If you make this a regular hobby, you’ll notice the environment changing around you, which is eye-opening and rewarding in itself.
One of the greatest things about stand up paddle boarding is that you can take it with you, enjoying the activity and the exercise anywhere in the world. From the Great Lakes to the stunning Mediterranean Sea – or even your own little spot of nature – you can pack up your board and stand up paddle wherever you go. Nowadays, the best inflatable stand up paddle boards are just as good as traditional hard boards, but they fold down to the size of a duffel bag. You can throw it in the back of your car to make sure that you have your paddle board with you at all times – even on the unplanned adventures. For information on a great inflatable, check out: fringepursuits.com/best-inflatable-sup.
3. It can grow with you
Your first stand up paddle lesson will show you that stand up paddle boarding is more difficult than it looks. Your first challenge is to stay on the board while you paddle, but once you’ve mastered the art, where else can the sport take you?
Stand up paddle boarding will never stop presenting new challenges.
If you’re happy to stay at your current skill level, then you can do so with no problems. However, if you’re constantly looking to push yourself and enhance your skills, paddling is the perfect sport.
If you are ready to try a variation such as Sup Yoga , try introducing some more challenging poses which will push the limits of your strength and balance to new levels. If, on the other hand, you’re happy to stick with all-round stand up paddling (without any of the niche variations), take your board to new locations and in more challenging conditions.
Nature will never give you the same stand up paddle experience twice – even in the same location – but if you mix it up even more then the sport will keep growing with you as your strength and skills increase.
4. There are variations to suit different hobbies
We’ve already hinted at Sup Yoga. That’s just one possible variation which combines traditional stand up paddle boarding with another popular hobby.
Whether it’s Sup yoga, Sup surfing or even Sup fishing, there is a variation of stand up paddle boarding to suit you. Each comes with a different set of challenges, so master the art of one or try your hand at many.
Board manufacturers know that stand up paddling is made even more awesome by introducing another element, so they’ve started to develop boards specifically designed for the different variations. Naturally, Sup yoga boards require more stability, so they’re usually larger than many other boards. Paddleboards for Sup Surf need to cut through the waves, so you’ll see some slightly different profiles and longer lengths.
If you decide to take on one of these niche versions of stand up paddle boarding, do your research to find the board that’s best suited to your needs. Get the wrong board and your passion for stand up paddling will sink quickly, but get it right and you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner.
5. It’s awesome!
Putting everything else to one side, there’s no getting around the fact that stand up paddle boarding is just plain awesome.
It’s fun, exhilarating, and the sense of achievement that will come from a day on the water is unrivaled. There are plenty of guides to choosing the right board and getting started out there, so read up before heading out to your first class. If you’ve taken the advice on board, we guarantee you’ll fall in love with the sport, ready to return again and again.
If you’re still not convinced, you don’t have to take our word for it. Stand up paddle boarding almost tripled in terms of popularity between 2010 and 2015 – and 2.5 million people can’t be wrong!
Written by Adam Eyal
About Adam Eyal:
Adam Eyal is a content crafter at fringepursuits.com, where he covers a variety of extreme sports from paddleboarding to mountain climbing.
“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.”
Find Adam on Instagram: @adameyal, Facebook and Twitter
Find FringePursuits Instagram: @fringepursuits, Twitter,, Facebook accounts.