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Paddle for Your Lives: The Health Benefits of Stand-up Paddle Boarding

The popularity of stand-up paddle boarding has exploded over the last two decades. It’s an escape, an adventure, and a low-impact form of exercise with a raft (pardon the pun) of health benefits:

Cardiovascular fitness – If you can cut across the water like a fleeing pirate, you’ll hoist your blood flow, jettison your cholesterol and sink those scurvy triglyceride levels. Paddle boarding steals many such heart-healthy treasures from cross-training, running, aerobics, and cycling without shivering your timbers (rattling your joints). Meanwhile, infection, stroke and heart disease risks fall farther back in your wake.

Balance – Staying upright atop your wobbly stand-up paddle board (or SUP) does more than keep you dry. A recent study indicates you’ll also develop greater proprioceptive and kinesthetic awareness. If those terms mean nothing to you, stability, coordination, and “hubba hubba” legs and ankles likely will.

Posture – Did you know just reading this at your computer misaligns your spine? Our bad. Let us atone by pointing out that SUP-top balancing also builds the habits and muscles needed to straighten you out again.

Whole body workout – Did you know that every single paddle stroke builds muscle in your arms, shoulders, back, legs and core while burning calories, increasing your heartrate and filling your organs with revitalizing nitric oxide? Just imagine what multiple paddle strokes will do!

Stress Reduction – One of those revitalized organs is your brain, which will find many sources of contentment as you glide along solitude, fresh air, self-improvement and occasional rushes of adrenaline. It also soaks in Vitamin D and other therapeutic benefits of a meditative, soothing day on the shimmering open water.

Finally, a 2016 study indicated you don’t have to be an athlete to start standing up for your health. There are several SUP courses available across Canada, and your nearest Flaman Fitness location has the inflatable or hardboard option for you. So if you’d like to try skimming your way to mental and physical reinvigoration, get on board!