Benefits of Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Are you looking for a fantastic full-body workout? Paddle boarding offers an exhilarating and challenging exercise regime for those who love the outdoors. Paddle boarding increases your endurance levels while targeting key muscle groups that you may miss in other workout routines.

When you jump onto a stand-up paddle board, your body is immediately engaged. Your abs, quadriceps, and shoulders work in tandem to pull yourself across the water’s surface. Your legs muscles work with your core muscles to stabilize you on your board. As you glide across the water on your paddle board, you focus on moving your body.

Stand up paddle boarding challenges both the mind and the body. Performing this fun water sport allows you to reconnect with nature while getting some exercise for your body.  People are drawn to stand up paddle boarding because of the many benefits gained from participating in the sport. Below are some of the many benefits that stand up paddle boarding can bring.

benefits of stand up paddle boarding

Who would benefit from paddle boarding?

Almost anyone would benefit from participating in paddle boarding. Those looking for a complete workout outside of the gym environment would enjoy communing with nature as they exercise.

Cross trainers will enjoy this low-impact aerobic exercise that provides strength training attributes. Also, adults looking to lose weight would benefit from this exercise.

Your Body and Mind Can Benefit From Paddle Boarding

Full Body Workout

If you want a full-body workout that will engage all muscle groups in your body you should try to stand up paddle board.

When you start paddling and begin to move forward on your board, your body relies on your legs, core, shoulders, and arms. All of these body parts help to keep balance and put enough energy into the paddle to move you forward.

To keep you upright on your board the body engages the core muscles. The stronger the water you paddle through the more of a workout you will get. The best part of this workout is that it is fun and easy on the joints. It leaves you in good overall physical condition and you will not feel the aches and pains you often do with higher impact sports.

Muscle worked


When participating in SUP, you work several different muscle groups. One group targeted is the abdominal muscles. To remain balanced, you need to engage your core. Also, your core contracts as you paddle from side to side.


Paddle boarding works the deltoid muscles. The deltoids are triangle-shaped muscles that give your shoulders a rounded appearance. You work your deltoids while you paddle as well as your rotator cuffs.


SUP engages your traps when paddling. You find the three-part trapezius muscle in your back. The trapezius muscle spans the base of the back down to the middle of the spine. This muscle enables the shoulders to move.


If you want to work on your pecs, paddle boarding will aid you in this endeavor. SUP works the pectoralis major muscle situated in the center of the body.


When you stand up on a paddle board, you work the muscles in your legs. The hamstring and quadriceps help you maintain your balance and improve your knee flexibility.


When you use your paddle, you are working your arm muscles. You engage your triceps when you straighten your arms. Your biceps allow you to relax your arms from the elbow to the shoulder.


Mindfulness is the process of focusing on what you are doing in the moment. Stand up paddle boarding is an excellent activity to practice mindfulness.

Focusing on things like your balance and paddling helps you take a break from your hectic lifestyle. It teaches you to live in the moment and helps reduce day to day stress. Practicing mindfulness through activities like stand up paddle boarding has been shown to benefit overall mental health.

People who practice mindfulness are said to focus less on past mistakes and regrets, self-esteem issues and are able to connect with other people better. Psychologists have used mindful techniques to treat people suffering from anxiety and depression.


Stand up paddle boarding can be good for teaching you balance both figuratively and literally. In order to operate your paddle board effectively, you are going to need to stand up on your board. This requires balance; especially, when you are a beginner.

When you start stand up paddle boarding, you will probably fall into the water multiple times. All part of the learning process. It takes time to find the balance you need for this activity. If you have trouble with your balance this may take you longer to master than others, but once you do, you will feel accomplished and your balance will be improved.

Burn Calories

Stand up paddle board can help improve your strength, flexibility, and help boost your heart rate. Depending on the water conditions, if you spend an hour out on the water stand up paddle boarding, on average you will burn between 330 – 460 calories. This number assumes that you are working at a recreational pace on calm waters. If you move faster than a walking pace or paddle in stronger waters you can burn even more calories.

Low-impact paddle boarding burns a lot of calories. In paddle board surfing, you can burn approximately 650 calories in an hour. Higher waves and rougher water increase the number of calories you can burn. If racing, you can incinerate anywhere from 700-1100 calories.

In comparison, you will burn twice as many calories stand up paddle boarding as you would walking around your neighborhood.

Boost Vitamin D Levels

An added benefit of stand up paddle boarding is that it is performed outdoors. When you are out on the water, you are gathering much-needed vitamin D from the sun. According to a 2011 study, 46% of adult Americans were deficient in this important vitamin. However, it is also important to protect your skin from sun damage and it is always recommended to wear proper sunscreen.

Warm-up and cool-down

A good workout has an adequate warm-up and cool-down time. In paddle boarding, it easy to get both. You can start warming up your body by paddling at a leisurely pace before moving on to a faster one.

Cooling down on a paddle board is enjoyable. You can slow down your paddling or stretch out onto your board to relax. Splashing cool water onto your body can help cool you off faster.

Paddle board Yoga

Did you know there are more ways to get a good workout on a paddle board besides propelling yourself forward in the water? You can participate in Yoga, as well as regular exercise movements, on a paddle board.

SUP yoga burns more calories than recreational SUP and provides an alternative workout plan for days when you do not feel like paddling.

To participate in SUP Yoga, you will want to acquire a wider board for stability. Engaging in many Yoga poses helps to improve your body’s overall balance.

There are many different exercises that you can try on your paddle board. Listed below are a few of these exercises.

  • plank: hands and toes on board with straight arms and raised body
  • squats: feet on board, knees bent like sitting, and arms straight out
  • chest stretches: lay on your stomach, reach back with your hands and grab your toes
  • child’s pose: place your hips on your heels, rest your head on your board, and stretch your arms forward or dangle them in the water
  • downward facing dog: hands and toes on the board with hips in the air
  • bridge pose: head, arms, and feet on board with hip pushed upwards


Stand up paddle boarding is a great activity to keep your mind and body healthy. It’s a great activity to get you into nature to enjoy the sights and sounds. It can be a great family or friend outing allowing social interaction, having fun, and getting exercise at the same time. It also provides an aerobic and strength training workout that allows you to burn a tremendous amount of calories.

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