Getting the Seniors in your Life into Paddle Boarding
Growing older has it's pros and cons, but we're here to inform you that paddleboarding is still a pro for you!
In this article we'll explain the benefits of Standup Paddle Boarding no matter what age you're at!
As we age, inactivity can create both mental and physical hurdles for all of us. Our balance becomes more challenging and our muscles and bones start receding and we become frustrated at not being able to do many of the things that we could in our youth. Many of our friends and family that are 55 and older tend to look at stand up paddle boarding and think: “Well that’s great for the kids but those days have passed me by.” We’re here to tell you, that you are never too old to try SUP!
Physical Benefits for Older Folks
As we age, our muscles tend to atrophy, and our bones lose their density so regular exercise is important to help stave off these trends. Seniors can enjoy all of the physical gains that SUP confers which we outlined here: The Health Benefits of SUP They also have the added benefit of allowing our elders to feel more independent and letting them feel “cool” in the eyes of their grand kids.
One of the biggest threats to older folks is falling and breaking a bone. We’ve all heard that one out of three persons over 50 who breaks a hip will die within 12 months of the fracture. Hence the importance of maintaining balance as we age.
SUP provides an exceptional opportunity to improve balance as anyone who has tried to stand up on a board in the water can attest. The good news is that when they fall from their paddle board, the water will cushion the fall.
SUP maintains and builds muscle mass as well which we outlined here: What Muscles does Stand Up Paddling Work? Because paddle boarding is a weightbearing activity, it also helps with bone density without jarring the joints like an activity like running does.
So, SUP is really a double threat to the dreaded disintegrator of bones known as osteoporosis by improving balance and strengthening bones.
And Let’s Not Forget about Mental Health
It’s easy for the elderly to get stuck in a rut, watching endless episodes of “The Price is Right” at home. Stand up paddling gets the paddler in touch with the soothing rhythms of nature as they can view living creatures above, below and on the water.
The experience of paddling on a beautiful body of water has potent meditative effects that have been proven out in many studies.
Because balance is somewhat compromised as we age, it is suggested that the older paddler have a friend or family member come out with them the first few times to hold the board steady as they attempt to stand.
Make sure that the water is 4-5 feet deep as the odds are good that they will fall. Before they attempt to stand, have them get comfortable paddling on their knees for a while.
They should start on a calm waterway that doesn’t have swells or boat wakes. It’s also important that older paddlers don’t overdo it as they are starting out so they should make sure that they start slowly and progressively add time as they become more comfortable.
Hydration is also important for this age group so make certain that they have plenty of water on hand.
Practice the “Buddy System”
Paddling with friends is a great idea for our elder paddlers. Not only is it important to stay social as we age to stave off loneliness, but it’s also always a good plan to have others that are looking out for us on the water as conditions can sometimes be unpredictable or an unforeseen health predicament could arise.
What are you waiting for?
For those of you that are in your “Golden Years”, SUP is the perfect activity for mental, physical, and spiritual health. And it’s so much less frustrating than golf!