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Is Paddle Boarding a Good Workout? 7 Surprising Benefits Revealed
  • Date Posted:10 October 2023

From core strengthening to cardiovascular boosts, paddle boarding has a lot up its sleeve. Check out our latest blog, where we highlight the seven unexpected benefits of paddle boarding. You might just view this popular pastime from a fresh perspective!

You've probably felt it - that itch to try something new as the season changes. And while some of us might be swapping out wardrobe pieces or redecorating, how about shaking up our fitness routines in time for Spring?

Enter Paddle boarding. Ever considered it? It’s not just about gracefully gliding over water. Beyond the calming ripples and gentle sways, there are some intriguing health perks.

Curious? Well, we've got seven health benefits of paddle boarding that might just surprise you. Let’s go through each together.

7 Surprising benefits of paddle boarding as a workout

It's easy to see paddle boarding as just another way to spend a sunny afternoon. A gentle glide across the water, perhaps with the occasional splash. But beneath this tranquil activity lies a powerhouse of health benefits:

Two people joyfully engage in paddle boarding on a calm lake, both standing on blue paddleboards and wearing orange life jackets, showcasing an active and fun outdoor water activity.

1. It’s a full-body workout

Paddle boarding might appear calm from the shore, but believe us; it's giving the gym a run for its money. When you mount that board, something quite impressive happens – almost every muscle in your body clocks into work mode.

First up, those arms of yours. They aren’t just enjoying the water’s cool embrace; they're working against resistance with each paddle. Your legs? Far from a passive stance, they're continuously adapting, ensuring you don’t take an impromptu dip. Your back is also tasked to maintain posture and direction on the water, which can be challenging, so it becomes the backbone of the whole operation - literally.

It's a full workout but with a splash of fun. Pretty neat, huh?

2. It’s a cardiovascular boost

Think about the last time you went jogging or cycling. Remember that heart-pumping feeling? That sensation of your heartbeat syncing with every stride or pedal? Paddle boarding can bring on that same vibe.

When you’re out on the water, paddle in hand, your heart isn’t just along for the ride. With every push against the waves, your heart rate picks up, giving it a solid workout. 

And here's the kicker: just like jogging on a treadmill or going on an electric bicycle session, paddle boarding is an aerobic exercise. In fact, a medical journal from Bond University revealed that stand-up paddle boarding showed a significant improvement in maximal aerobic capacity as it challenges the heart, lungs, and circulatory system all at once. 

The beauty is, you're getting these cardiovascular benefits without even realising it, distracted by the breathtaking surroundings and the rhythmic motion of the water. Who knew staying heart-healthy could be this scenic?

3. It enhances your core strength

Ever tried standing on one foot for a bit too long and felt that subtle burn in your midsection? Now imagine that sensation, but amplified. That's paddle boarding for you. 

On water, nothing is stable. Every wave, every gentle ripple, demands a response from you. And where do you think that response comes from? You got it – your core.

Each time you paddle, you’re not just moving forward; you’re engaging your core muscles to maintain balance. The constant need to stabilise on the board means your midsection is always active. Supporting that is a medical journal published on NCBI, which highlights that stand-up paddleboarding notably improves multidirectional core strength.

4. It improves balance and stability

Balancing on a paddle board is a bit like trying to stand on a seesaw – the unpredictability is all part of the fun. 

With the water's ever-changing nature beneath you, maintaining an upright position on the board is a constant game of adjustment. And every slight tilt, every readjustment, is your body refining its sense of balance.

An active male surfer with a paddle balances on a blue paddleboard, skillfully navigating a wave, demonstrating a dynamic moment of water sports adventure.

Now, here's the cool part. This newfound balance isn’t just confined to the waters. Over time, the stability skills you hone on the paddle board begin to spill over into your day-to-day life on land. 

Remember those moments trying to stand on a moving bus or train without holding on? With your upgraded balance, they become less of a clumsy dance and more of a confident stance.

In essence, paddle boarding doesn't just prepare you for the waves but also for those little balancing acts life throws your way, both on and off the board.

5. It’s a good way to burn fat

When it comes to shedding those stubborn fat reserves, continuous movement is a key player, and paddle boarding is right up there in the league. Each paddle stroke and every balance adjustment require energy. And when you’re out there for a sustained period, your body starts to tap into its fat reserves to fuel the effort.

As evidenced by the Bond University’s Bond Institute of Health and Sport on The Long-Term Effects of Stand-up Paddle Boarding: A Case Study, both male and female participants experienced decreased body fat and reduced BMI over a 12-month period. 

Now, let's put this into perspective. Depending on intensity and individual factors, paddle boarding can burn a comparable amount of calories to activities like moderate hiking or casual cycling. It might not go toe-to-toe with a high-intensity gym session, but it comfortably competes with many staple outdoor exercises.

6. It helps build your stamina

Stamina is that crucial aspect of fitness that often determines how long we can sustain an activity. While strength gives us power, stamina ensures that power doesn’t fizzle out quickly. 

Paddle boarding, with its consistent and rhythmic nature, serves as an excellent tool to enhance this stamina.

Over time, with regular paddle boarding sessions, you'll notice improvements. The distances you can cover and the time you can stay on the board will increase, signaling a boost in your endurance levels. 

What's more, the stamina you develop from paddle boarding can spill over to other sports, enhancing your performance across the board.

And the benefits don't just end at recreational activities. Increased stamina translates to everyday life, too. Whether it's climbing a flight of stairs without losing your breath, chasing after a bus, or simply powering through a long day, building stamina on the board equips you for the marathon of daily tasks. It's a win-win, on and off the water.

7. It’s low-impact but highly effective

The beauty of paddle boarding lies in its paradox: it's gentle on the body but fierce in delivering results. While many workouts put a strain on the joints – think of the jarring impact from running or the stress heavy weights can put on the knees – paddle boarding offers a kinder approach. Gliding on water means less shock and wear on the joints, making it a great option for those looking to be active without the risk of joint pain.

However, don't mistake its gentleness for ineffectiveness. Even without the pounding and heavy lifting, paddle boarding manages to provide a comprehensive workout. It engages muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and enhances balance, all while being kind to your body's framework.

Bonus benefit — Scenic views like no other

Ever found yourself staring at a gym's white walls or the same old row of treadmills? While gyms certainly offer a controlled environment for workouts, they often lack in the "inspiring view" department. 

Referencing a research journal by Environment Science and Technology, those who exercise with a view of a river or lake experienced a significant mental boost.

Silhouette of a surfer with a paddle standing on a paddleboard, gliding over calm waters against a stunning sunset, reflecting the serene and beautiful ambiance of paddleboarding.

Imagine the horizon stretching out in front of you as you glide on the water. The sunrises and sunsets you can witness from a paddle board are unparalleled. 

It’s not just about the water; each paddleboarding session can offer a different view, from lakes surrounded by trees to oceans meeting the sky at the horizon.

This ever-changing scenic backdrop not only enriches your soul but can also be a motivating factor. Why stare at a static wall at your local or home gym when the world's natural beauty can be your panoramic view during a workout?

What’s a great paddle board for a beginner?

Starting with the right board is key. For many beginners, inflatable paddle boards (or iSUPs) are a top choice. Why? They're wide, providing that all-important stability. Made of tough PVC material, they can withstand those inevitable beginner bumps and scrapes. 

Plus, they're easy to transport and store – just deflate, roll up, and you're on your way. And if you do take a tumble, their softer surface is more forgiving than hardboards.

Of course, it's crucial to choose a quality iSUP. Not all are created equal. Look for boards from reputable brands like NORFLX, backed by positive reviews.

Feeling inspired to begin your paddleboarding journey? Dive in with confidence. Browse our handpicked selection of paddle boards, including top-rated iSUPs. Your water adventure awaits.

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