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I love being on my paddleboard

(Submitted by Gwen Spencer of Flaman Fitness, Vernon, BC)

I love summer, I love the beach, I love working out and most of all, I LOVE being on my paddleboard! It is the best possible way to work my body hard, clear my mind, and nourish my soul.

I have been an avid paddle boarder for at least 7 years, and I was asked to write a blog about it.

For a few hours, I was racking my brain trying to write about all the physical benefits of paddleboarding. I could have gone on and on about the plethora of fitness benefits including improved core strength, better balance, the great full body workout and the six pack you can get with all that paddling, but honestly, they have little to do with why I love the sport.

Don't get me wrong, I love an intense workout, probably more than most. But when its 30 degrees, and the sun is beckoning me, the last place I want to be is inside a gym trying to get my workout in as fast as possible so I can get outside to enjoy the weather. So to find a great workout that I can enjoy on the lake, in my bikini, getting my tan on is pretty darn amazing in itself.

Over the years, I have learned that paddleboarding has many other positive side effects. It helps clear my mind, improving my mental, emotional and spiritual states as well.

It helps me get out of my head and into the present moment. The minute I stand up and start paddling, I let go of any unnecessary stress or expectations I put on myself. I love the simplicity of it, no shoes, no socks, no iphone, no distractions. Just me and my paddleboard, and a paddle of course!

It is just being on my own little vessel in the water surrounded by nature, breathing it all in. It's a moving meditation, a fun way to practice the art of mindfulness. Every moment brings a new experience, a new challenge, and new growth. When I am on the water, trying to catch boat waves, or laying down listening to the sound of the water under the board, my excitement for life returns in full force, I feel rejuvenated and anything seems possible.