Stand Up Paddle Boarding has soared in popularity over the last year with the lockdowns meaning we’ve had to find fun on our doorsteps. I joined the many people trying out SUP having my first lesson last September and then purchasing my own board in November.
Paddle boarding has given me a new outlet for my mental health, discovering blue spaces has given me a new love of the outdoors. I’ve discovered and explored places I would never have reached or had access to on foot without a boat and loved every minute of it.
We are all aware of the physical benefits of SUP including:
Weight loss – paddling can burn up to 400-500 calories, helping boost overall fitness and aid weight loss, it’s not just the paddling itself that is the work out but pumping up the boards to start with is a workout in its own right!
Low impact sport – for anyone who struggles with sports such as running that puts strain on your joints, SUP is a great low impact alternative sport which means you can still burn calories and tone up as the same time as reinforcing and stabilising weak joints.
Improving your stamina – not only do you burn calories paddling but you also build up stamina and endurance. This means that you’ll be able to do other sports such as running and cycling for longer too.
Scientific studies have shown that simply being near bodies of water can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This partnered with the above physical benefits makes paddle boarding a great all round sport for your mental and physical wellbeing. A recent study about The physiological, musculoskeletal and psychological effects of stand up paddle boarding has shown that there is a positive correlation between the sport and self-rated quality of life.
I have found the mental health benefits of SUP the greatest for me, giving me a new place to process my thoughts and a new way to decompress from a busy day at work. The physical demands of paddle boarding demand you are in the moment meaning you are more mindful not only of your self but also the natural environment around you increasing your mindfulness.
When you exercise your heart rate increases and your body pumps more oxygen to your brain. A well-oxygenated brain is very important. In fact multiple studies have shown that a well oxygenated brain helps to manage stress and anxiety as well as help ease depression. I’ve found that I feel much more positive about life in general after a paddle boarding session and I am able to cope with more stress factors in my life the more I paddle.
The biggest perk of paddle boarding for me is the amazing people I’ve met through it, from all walks of life and with so many different interests it’s been wonderful meeting so many new amazing people.