Health Benefits Of Stand Up Paddle Boarding


This is a guest post by Sam Barrows, an avid stand-up paddler and contributor to

Stand up paddle boarding is becoming more popular each year. Hawaiians have been using it for years as a means to keep fit when the waves are not adequate for surfing.

By using a paddle board surfers were able to enjoy the water and obtain some exercise simultaneously.

In the last several years millions of people have begun to enjoy paddle boarding, while standing (SUP). People now engage in stand-up paddling to enjoy the water, spend time with friends, and to improve their fitness level.

An Intense Workout

SUP can provide you with a very good overall workout. You will make use of balance and strength in order to remain upright and propel yourself in the water.

The level of intensity you will experience will be variable and be dependent on your venue.

If you are paddling in the ocean and there are a lot of waves and an ocean current, your workout will be intense. If you are simply drifting in relatively placid waters, it will not be so hard-core.

Core Benefits

Paddle boarding will provide you with a great core workout as well. Almost every muscle in the body is used at some point.

A large part of SUP is balance. Your leg muscles will be hard at work attempting to maintain your balance.

In addition, paddling utilizes the arms, back, and shoulders to propel the paddleboard in the water. The core back and abdominal muscles are constantly at work to maintain your balance.

Low Impact

An additional benefit that SUP provides is that it is a very low impact exercise. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will do damage to the tendons and ligaments of your joints.

If you lift weights in the gym or you engage in high impact sports, then your likelihood of injury is far higher than with stand-up paddling.

SUP is particularly useful for runners that are experiencing shin splints or knee and hip pain.

With this type of sport it is possible to use up a lot of calories without damaging your joints.

SUP Fitness Benefits

One of the clear benefits of SUP is the very fast and obvious improvement of the fitness level of its practitioners.

It is a very good sport to engage in if you are cross-training since it uses almost all the muscles in the body. SUP is a form of simultaneous aerobic and strength training.

Health Benefits

There are numerous health benefits to paddle surfing and the best part is it will not cause any damage to your body while you enjoy them.

The cardiovascular benefits are truly amazing. You will be able to substantially improve your level of cardio fitness.

Of course this translates into many benefits for your body, including a decreased incidence of heart attack and stroke.

In addition, you are going to consume a lot of calories. This will likely translate into a loss of weight.

Most of us are aware of all of the adverse conditions that are associated with being overweight.

You will reduce your chances of getting diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and joint problems by reducing your weight, and SUP can help you accomplish this.

There is one more great benefit to be aware of… it is very relaxing and a great way to relieve stress. Stress, has countless adverse health consequences and negative effects on the body.

I have personally found that stand-up paddling has always been an excellent stress coping method for me. Once I get out on the water and start paddling, I can literally feel my body and mind relaxing as I get into the paddling rhythm.

Improve Your Balance

Many activities and sports require good balance. SUP will definitely improve your sense of balance as you try to stay upright while paddling.

For instance, what football player could not improve his game with better balance? You may fall a lot when your first start out, but if you keep at it your overall core balance will great improve.

A Surfing Alternative

This sport is a very good alternative for people who have difficulty or fear of surfing.

You may have friends that surf, and you want to join the fun, but you are unable to. With SUP, you can still get out there and catch the waves and enjoy the surf with your friends.

Or you may have some health issues that make it difficult for you to surf. Once again SUP is a great alternative.


Recently there are numerous people that are experiencing a new fitness activity to do on their boards. They are practicing yoga while paddle boarding.

Performing yoga while on a paddleboard adds an extra dimension of balance to the activity. This can be a lot of fun as well as very challenging for someone who is already an experienced practitioner of yoga.

In addition the ambiance that is associated with paddle boarding is far more pleasant and relaxing than being in a cramped gym or fitness studio. The sun and water will enhance the experience greatly.

A lot of individuals are undecided about purchasing a stand-up paddleboard, however, once they become aware of all the benefits and joys that it has to offer, they may be prompted to give it a try.

What are you waiting for? Give it a try.

Find more informative SUP articles.


  1. Thanks for your great summ-up of paddleboarding. You are absolutely right SUP is a great sport, I am SUP ing since 3 years now. I just have to mention one thing>
    If you have knee problems paddle boarding is not always a relief.
    After I fell on my knee at a sailing regatta last year I had to stop cycling and running for a while. The only thing I could do for about two month was paddleboarding.
    When the injury got better, I had pain when mowing in both ! knee, I was surprised
    When the Sport – orthopedist analyzed a Video of me paddle boarding, he got the reasen for this.

    Since you do not move your legs when paddling, the join-liquids in the knee is not produced, but the pressure on the knee is produced in a forward backward direction, since you are moving yourself with the board which is under your feed, the power is transmitted over the knees.

    I do not recommend to do paddle-boarding as your only sport, when you suffering arthritis in any stage, you have to do some cycling to compensate and active liquid production in your knees.

  2. I’ve been SUPing for quite a while now and I would highly recommend perfecting your posture when paddling. It will help evenly distribute resistance to the different parts of your body and avoid injury.

  3. Wow this really helped me know more about the good benefits of paddle boarding. I am very pleased, thank you. I am excited to share this new concept of working out to our community.

  4. I find that concentrating on your posture while paddling makes you aware of which muscle groups you are using. Bending at the knees, turning the body, etc… will change what muscle groups you use. I personally like to paddle along with music. I synchronize the music to my paddling and it’s awesome. It’s a great workout, wonderful view and peaceful in the early morning. It’s usually just me and the birds out on the bay unless I paddle in San Diego Bay near Coronado, then it’s me, the birds and the Navy Seals training!

  5. Nice summary Sam. I recommend you check out the thesis study on SUP health benefits “Stand up Paddle Boarding: An Analysis of a New Sport and Recreational Activity.” We’ve produced a write up on what we thought were the most interesting findings. Cheers!

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