How Many Calories Does SUP Burn?

SUP is still one of the best forms of exercise and it's only getting better Before the pandemic, gym burnout was real, and people often got into paddle boarding for a new way to work out as much for the fun of playing on the water in a new way. Now that we're living in a world learning to cope with the virus and loosening/tightening restrictions, a lot of people are giving up on gyms for good, or at least reducing their dependence on them.

Feeling safer outdoors and hating being cooped up were the main reasons that shortly after the big shutdown, cycling, SUP and anything involving outdoor recreation blew up. What's great to see is that people are mostly sticking with it and not going back indoors. Yes your favorite paddle spot may be more crowded now, but see it as an opportunity to make new friends and celebrate that we're all trying to get healthier, rather than being grouchy about it.
Whether you're an experienced paddler or a beginner, you're probably wondering just how valuable this is as an exercise- but how many calories does paddle boarding burn? Sure you get to be outdoors, soaking up sun and escaping the grind, but how does it compare to a session on the treadmill? Can you really lose weight paddle boarding? The good news is that it's likely better than you think.
Not all SUP is created equal; there is no one-size-fits-all workout when it comes to stand up paddle boarding. We can break it down into different categories, but everyone approaches SUP in their own way so your results may vary. Whether you're a fitness-focused paddling machine or prefer your SUP to be more leisurely, we'll look at a good range of fitness levels and intensities for these caloric burn estimates.
 SUP Fishing

Angling to Lose Weight- SUP Fishing

There are exceptions, but fishing from a SUP is usually the lowest impact workout you'll get on your paddleboard unless your favorite spot is far from shore or unusually difficult to paddle to. Expect to burn about 100-380 calories per hour depending on how much time is actually spent stand up paddle boarding.


SUP Casual

Casual or recreational paddle boarding is the most common type of paddle boarding but you'll burn more calories on a paddle board than you might think. Recreational paddling for an hour on calm water at a relaxed pace and slight breeze at a moderate pace is a good workout and will burn twice as many calories as a similar walk outside. Casual paddling will burn more calories than you think- about 300-450 calories per hour. Plus you'll get more vitamin D and fresh air while paddling than you'll ever see on that dull treadmill.

 SUP Yoga

Namasté, Paddlers- SUP Yoga

The reason SUP yoga has become so popular is because on land, while being grounded is essential, it also ensures that no matter how good your poses are, they always engage the same muscle groups. The minor instability you achieve by taking your practice to a paddle board doing SUP yoga engages your entire core for a full body workout as you add constant adjustments to your balance to maintain a pose. It really opens up new challenges in stale routines, but you'll want to keep it simple at first. Besides getting to practice while standup paddle boarding in a beautiful setting, SUP yoga will burn about 400-550 calories per hour. This is another good workout, and really fun to learn.

 Surf SUP

Surf SUP!

The Granddaddy of all paddle boarding, surfing is one of the best workouts you can get and one of the most fun ways to burn calories known to man. While many surfers are snobs about stand up paddle boarding, most recognize it for what it is, another way to surf that has pros and cons like anything else. The con is that you're less agile on a paddle board which is roughly four times larger than a typical surfboard, but the pro is that once you're skilled at surfing on a paddle board, being able to quickly scoot back out after each ride means you're also catching up to four times as many waves as a surfer who has to hand paddle back into the lineup. The more waves you ride, the more calories burned standup paddle boarding.

Conditions can vary wildly, but SUP surfing on typical chest high waves, you're going to burn anywhere from 575-750 calories. SUP surfing is also a great way to get a session in when the waves are kind of meh- small waves just mean honing your skills at reading the water and developing your wave paddling technique- having a paddle makes you more adept at getting rides off waves that are barely rideable on a small surfboard and you get that critical full body workout no matter how big or small the surf is. Another nice thing about taking it to the waves is that pretty much every type of paddle board is suitable for surfing.

 SUP Touring

See the World on a SUP- Paddle Board Touring

Touring is to recreational standup paddle boarding as running is to walking. A sustained, moderate pace of about 2.5 to 3 mph is another excellent cross training-like, full body workout that will help melt that Winter weight. You should always paddle with good form, but it's essential that you maintain it while SUP touring in order to maximize your gains (or losses).

Keeping correct paddling technique while SUP touring should be your primary focus early on. SUP touring is a great way to explore on the water as well, so building endurance will really pay off when you get opportunities to go paddle boarding on a new body of water, whether it's a city waterfront or a remote lake. An hour of touring will burn about 600-720 calories, about twice the calories of a leisurely walk.

 SUP Racing

Competitive Paddling- SUP Racing

Whether you're just trying to beat your own personal best or competing against others, paddle board racing is THE ultimate SUP workout. SUP racing is for anyone that likes to continually push themselves to improve and hone their form and technique and the pinnacle of fitness paddle boarding.

Different conditions make this the most variable workout, but fully engaging your core and pushing your cardiovascular system as hard as you can without rests will generally burn more than stop and go paddling- about 715 to 1130 calories burned paddle boarding in a race; about twice the calories burned as casual paddling. Even if you never enter a race, keeping track of your time/distance and paddling rate and always trying to improve on it, will make you a better all-around paddler.

 SUP Working Out

Paddle Boarding as a Workout

Whether you're focused on being the best paddler you can be or just enjoy casual paddle boarding, you will see some benefit. The most important thing about paddle boarding is that it is fun. Keep it that way, and you'll be more likely to keep doing it, regardless of your fitness goals. The second most important thing is to maintain good form at all times. That will stop you from developing any bad paddling habits and maximize the benefits you get whether you're taking it easy or trying to cover as much distance as quickly as possible.

Are there “better” workouts out there? Of course. But few are as enjoyable as paddle boarding compared to stale gym workouts. Practicing SUP safely and mindfully will positively impact your mood and mental health as much as your physical condition


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