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Is SUP really that good a workout?

You’ve probably read all the articles and heard those supposedly in the know suggesting how good stand up paddle boarding is as a workout. Improve core strength, stretch out those joints and muscles build stamina, reduce stress and increase your Vit D hit.

Whilst the above is true there are certain caveats to apply.

There’s no question in our minds that if you’re looking for a mental release and a way to ease stress and/or comabt mental health issues then going afloat is good practice. We’ve written a few articles about the subject of mental health and how SUP helps but there’s plenty more info online – particularly if you search for surfing and mental health. SUP isn’t quite the same as surfing but there’s synergy for sure.

Vitamin D top ups are also an easy one to achieve when you’re out paddling, even if it’s a little grey and overcast. Simply being outdoors, in the fresh air and doing something physical will have positive effects. If the sun shines then happy days.

Moving on to the hype surrounding core strength development, stamina and so on… Most people’s SUP revolves around being afloat not too far away from shore. Some may choose to cover a little distance but it’s usually done so in a mellow manner – putting the hammer down, so to speak, isn’t really on the agenda. Stand up paddle boarding with regard to 90% of those who do it is about fun rather than training.

In this guise SUP certainly does deliver on the exercise front but not necessarily to the extent a gym session would do. You may, over time, find a difference in terms of your stamina, core strength and even body shape. But if you really want to use stand up paddle boarding as an exercise medium, bluntly put, you need to put the effort in – just as with every other type of training.

For most though SUP is an activity that’s done a few times per week when schedules allow. If you really want to use stand up paddle boarding to make a difference then the amount you paddle needs to go up considerably. Again, to use the gym analogy, just like you would if visiting one of those establishments.

The media has a way of ‘bigging up’ things to ‘sell the dream’. Stand up certainly has its fair share of toned, bronzed body perfection but it’s got way more in terms of realistic, every day paddlers who do the thing for fun rather than all serious like. As we said above, you’ll almost certainly see the positive benefits of doing something physical but don’t believe all you see, hear and read in terms of SUP hype.

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