Perfect your balance, work on your flexibility and even reduce stress with this family-friendly watersport
Looking for a new hobby that will get you out of the house? Enter, paddleboarding. Not only is this watersport great to do under social distancing regulations, but it can also set you on the path to better physical and mental health. Stand-up paddleboarding is the fastest growing watersport in the UK (bbc.co.uk) and, with sales of SUP boards peaking in lockdown, it’s set to be one of the top activities of 2020. Not sure if it’s quite right for you? Here are five reasons that might change your mind.
Easy on the knees
Don’t be fooled into thinking that paddleboarding requires you to have the prowess of a surfer or even great hand-eye coordination – it’s accessible whatever your level of fitness. It’s especially good for people looking for a low-impact workout, as it doesn’t require too much movement compared to other highintensity sports, such as tennis or running.
Arms of steel
If there’s anywhere that you’re sure to feel the burn when paddleboarding, it’s your arms. SBS, a surfboard design company based on the south coast of the UK, credit SUP boards for multi-functional fitness: “SUP is a great way to improve general fitness as well as upper body strength endurance – it simultaneously works your aerobic system as well as building strength; so through paddling and twisting, your body is moving through functional movement patterns, allowing it to work a greater number of muscles at once.”
While you’re paddling along, it’s easy to slip into a slower state of mind as you feel the water rippling against your board and you take in your surroundings. You can’t paddleboard without fully immersing yourself in nature, which means as well as a workout, you get the mental benefits from being outdoors. In a study published in the Frontiers in Psychology Journal, it was recommended that people should take ‘nature-pills’ (where you spend time in nature for 20-30 minutes at least three times a week) after it was proven that you can reduce the stress hormone cortisol by as much as 28 percent by doing so. Combine that with the therapeutic nature of water, and paddleboarding is a great all-round health-booster.
Straight as an arrow
Paddleboarding can not only help alleviate the strain that sitting all day places on your spine, but the movement of your arms also helps to strengthen the muscle groups that are responsible for maintaining a good posture, such as your glutes, biceps and your back muscles.
You might have a wobble when you first get on, but do it regularly and paddleboarding can help improve your balance. As we get older, our sense of balance dulls, making us gradually less stable on our feet. In research commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better, it was shown that 30 percent of people aged 65 and over will have a fall. On a SUP board, your legs are forced to work hard and maintain your centre of gravity, so you should see a marked improvement in your balance. That being said, expect to get wet a few times before your body and mind learn to work together!