Surfing has long been synonymous with cool. But if paddling out face-first into pounding waves doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there’s another way to take a board out into the ocean you might want to check out. Stand-up paddle boarding, or SUPing, is skyrocketing in popularity.
SUPing’s popularity is thanks, at least in part, to the fact that you don’t have to live by the coast to enjoy it. Sure, some serious SUPers ride waves on their boards. But plenty of people just paddle around — and are still getting a workout in. Yep, you can SUP ideal on lakes and rivers, too.
Basically, a stand-up paddle board looks like a surfboard, only it’s a lot bigger. So big, in fact, that it has a handle in the middle so you can carry it. Other than the board itself, the only equipment you need to SUP is — you guessed it — a paddle. Find a body of water, head out (it’s easier on your knees if you’re a beginner), and get paddling.
Why all the fuss about just paddling around some water? For starters, if you’re in a calm body of water, it’s super soothing. Or if you choose an active river or the ocean, there’s the thrill and challenge of keeping yourself upright.
Either way, if you paddle at a rate fast enough to get your heart rate up, you’re getting a dual-benefit workout: cardio and strength training bundled into one. Plus, it’s a no-impact type of exercise, which means it’s great if you’ve got a bum knee or a weak ankle.
And while just paddling around might not seem that challenging, we dare you to step onto a board. Balance comes into play immediately. Your legs work to stabilize you, your core tightens to keep you upright, and your arms get a workout paddling you around. It’s a full-body workout that improves your balance while you’re at it.
Sound like something you’d want to check out? Good news. Lots of kayak and surfboard rental places are now offering paddle boards. Our recommendation is to start in calm water like a lake or a harbor before you contend with currents. But if you’re feeling adventurous, you do you.
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