The New Year is a magical time when we get to reevaluate our approach to life and set a goals to improve ourselves in the coming year. If you’ve fallen out of shape over the last year, consider paddling your way to fitness on a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP). All you need is water — a river, lake, beach or canal. SUP can be enjoyed alone or with the entire family; and along with getting fit, “supping” brings paddlers close to nature — which provides a great way to de-stress from the demands of our busy lives.
SUP can give you a full-body workout through long-distance, endurance training and through shorter, more intense paddle sessions and SUP surfing. It works your core, your arms, your back, and your legs. It’s also a competitive sport for you athletes out there with events and races taking place all over the world.
So here are a few of the ways that you can paddle your way to fitness on a SUP.
Yoga and Pilates
The combination of SUP and Yoga is one of the fastest growing fitness trends today, with SUP Pilates not far behind. Practicing Pilates on your paddleboard is an excellent way to fire-up your core and improve balance and strength.
Explore the river where large craft never go.
Anglers can combine fitness and fishing on a paddleboard to reach those hard-to-get-to places and no-motor zones. A wide and stable SUP provides the perfect platform for your backcountry fishing days.
For the nature enthusiasts, paddling a SUP is like taking a hike on the water. Supping is a 100% eco-friendly way to destress and enjoy our natural world.
Boards come in all shapes and sizes so there is sure to be one for every member of the family. Small children can sit comfortably on the front of the board and dogs love it too! Combine family time with fitness and the outdoors as often as possible for the perfect New Year’s solution.
Supping is a great way to make new friends. In most places, it is not hard to find a group of paddlers who share a love for SUP. Find a group of paddlers that meets up near you. Join an email list or a Facebook that regularly gets together for the type of paddling you prefer. Paddling with a group is a great way to benefit from their encouragement as you strive to meet your goals.
Working out on my board
No matter how busy you may be, you can always find time for the things that you prioritise. So take a look at the priorities in your life, schedule them and do your best to stick to that schedule. Even if it’s only once a week, every Saturday morning or Tuesday after work, carve out the time for paddling and don’t let anything else take that time slot.
Set reminders on your phone and let the people around you know this is something important to you and that you are definitely going to stick with. Having the support and knowing that there are others keeping an eye on you, yes even on your phone, will help hold you accountable for your goals.
SUP has become a competitive sport with a large number of events held around the world. Training to race is a great way to keep motivated as you improve your endurance and strength. Even if your goal is not to compete, just having a set distance and time in mind, much like training for a running race, will help keep you motivated to get out there and paddle.
Who says you can only SUP during the day? If the only free time you have is after dark, get yourself a set of waterproof LED lights for your board. Underwater lights and a headlamp are great additions to your SUP kit.
Paddling in a group
Make it easy to get out on the water. If it’s a hassle, you won’t stick with it. If you can’t drive around with a board on your car all the time, then perhaps choose an inflatable SUP. If you find manually inflating your board to be a hassle, invest in a battery-powered pump to do the work for you. Avoid pre-paddle stress by keeping gear organised, clean, and ready-to-go.
Just can’t get enough? Plan your next vacation to a standup paddle destination. You can explore some of the most beautiful places in the world from aboard your SUP.
Make safety on the water a priority by investing in a quality paddlesports life jacket that won’t inhibit your paddling range of motion. Many paddlers prefer a waist-worn inflatable life jacket, which maximises their freedom of movement. Wear your life jacket at all times.
Always tell someone where you plan to paddle and when you expect to be back — or paddle with a group. Do your research on areas where you haven’t paddled before to know local rules and regulations — and remember to check the weather, wind direction, tides and currents before you launch.
For help in selecting a stand-up paddleboard and paddle that’s right for you, see New Forest Surf Centre’s Stand-Up “Best Board For You” Paddleboard Finder.
Best of luck in the New Year and see you on the water!