Is SUP Good Exercise?

You have probably been enjoying your experience but are questioning if SUP is good exercise.  We answer that question here.


inflatable paddle boards are sup boards with an adjustable paddle
Stand up paddle boarding, commonly known as SUP, is a popular water sport where participants stand on a large board and use a paddle to move to propel them through the water. It originated in Hawaii as a way for big wave surfers to stay in shape when the waves weren't breaking. Since then, the practice of paddling a stand up paddle board has evolved into a recreational activity enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. The purpose of this blog post is to explore the benefits of SUP as a form of exercise as more and more people pick up the sport every month. By understanding the advantages of SUP, individuals can determine if it is a good fit for their fitness goals and lifestyle. With its combination of physical and mental benefits, SUP has become a popular way to enjoy the outdoors, stay active, and improve overall health.

SUP boards provide a total body workout

inflatable paddle board and repair kit for top paddle boards

Stand up Paddle boarding (SUP) is a total body workout that engages multiple muscle groups. The act of paddling while standing requires the use of the upper body, specifically the shoulders, back, and arms, as well as the core for stability. The act of standing on the board and balancing also works the leg muscles, making SUP a great full body workout. Additionally, the gentle rocking motion of the board provides a low-impact workout for the joints, making it a good choice for those with joint issues or an injury. Whether you're paddling on calm waters or catching waves, SUP provides an effective workout that challenges both the body and mind.

Paddle boards improve balance and stability

stand up paddle board with electric pump

One of the major benefits of stand up paddle boarding is the improvement in balance and stability the sport confers on the paddler. The act of standing on a moving board and paddling requires constant adjustments to maintain balance which engages the small stabilizer muscles in the legs and core.

These little adjustments improve one's overall balance and stability, not only while on the board, but also in one's daily life. SUP is also a great way to challenge the vestibular system, which is responsible for our sense of balance and spatial orientation. The gentle movement of the board helps to improve coordination and stability, making it a great workout for people of all ages and abilities.

Additionally, the scenic environment of being on the water can be a peaceful and calming experience, which in turn can help improve mental clarity and stability. Being out on the water and in nature has been proven to lower cortisol levels in the body.

Rigid SUPs and inflatable paddle boards are low impact and joint friendly

flat water inflatable paddle boards are entry level sups

SUP is a low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints, making it a great choice for those who are looking for a workout that won't put too much strain on their joints. Unlike high-impact activities such as running or jumping, the movements involved in paddling a SUP board are smooth and controlled, reducing the risk of injury.

Additionally, the buoyancy of the paddle board on the water helps to reduce the impact of each paddle stroke on the body by providing a more cushioned surface than land-based exercises. This makes SUP a great option for individuals who may have joint pain, arthritis, or are recovering from injury.

The low-impact nature of the sport also means that it is well-suited for older adults and those who are just starting an exercise program. With its focus on balance, stability, and core strength, SUP offers a full body workout that is gentle on the joints, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking for an enjoyable and low-impact form of exercise.

SUP boards engage the core and upper body

sup boards with hand pump take up little storage space

SUP provides an effective workout for the core and upper body. The act of paddling requires the use of the upper body, specifically the shoulders, back, and arms, as well as the core for stability. The muscles in the core, including the abs, obliques, and lower back, are constantly engaged as the paddler strives to maintain balance on the board.

These minor adjustments help to strengthen and tone these muscle groups which improves posture and overall fitness. The need for balance and stability on the board also provides a workout for the smaller stabilizer muscles in the legs and feet, which makes the sport of SUP a full body workout that is both fun and effective.

The natural resistance provided by the water also adds an additional challenge to the upper body workout, helping to build both strength and endurance. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddler, SUP offers a challenging and fun workout that improves your core and upper body strength.

Paddle boards improve cardiovascular health

deck pad is double layer and has additional features like great stability

Paddling a stand up paddle board is a outstanding way to improve cardiovascular fitness. As a low-impact exercise, it provides a great cardiovascular workout without putting too much strain on the joints.

The act of paddling while maintaining the balance required to stay standing engages multiple muscle groups, including the upper body, core, and legs, and helps to increase heart rate and oxygen flow throughout the body. The resistance provided by the water and the need for balance and stability also provide an excellent workout for the cardiovascular system which helps to improve both endurance and cardiovascular health.

Whether are cruising long distances on calm waters or frantically paddling to catch a wave, SUP provides an efficient cardiovascular workout that improves overall fitness and wellness. We often refer to paddling paddle boards as a "sneaky workout" because you are having such a good time on the board that you aren't aware of the fantastic workout you are getting.


stand up paddle board in solo backcountry

In conclusion, stand up paddle boarding is an excellent form of exercise that provides a full-body workout that is low-impact, challenging, and enjoyable. It provides numerous benefits to the paddler, including improvement in balance and stability, strength and toning of multiple muscle groups, and a relaxing outdoor experience. SUP is an extremely versatile activity that can be adapted to different skill levels and goals of the paddler, making it an accessible activity for people of all ages and abilities.

Whether you're a seasoned paddler or a beginner, SUP provides a unique way to stay active and improve overall fitness. With its focus on full body workout, balance, and mental wellness, SUP is a great way to achieve a healthy and active lifestyle.