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15 Benefits of Stand Up Paddle Boarding

One of the most freeing feelings in the world is to get on a paddle board and glide out into the open water. But freedom isn’t the only benefit to paddle boarding. There are a number of benefits of paddle boarding ranging from health to social and more.

Let’s dive into the full list of benefits along with some additional information about the benefits that come along with the sport.

Why is paddle boarding good for you?

Paddle boarding is good for you because it promotes a healthy and active lifestyle that gets you outside in the great outdoors. It builds muscular strength and endurance, can help you lose weight, calms your nerves, puts you in a good mood, and so much more.

What muscles does paddle boarding work? 

Paddle boarding uses all of your major muscle groups including your chest, back, arms, abs, legs, and shoulders. Paddling requires both the larger and small muscles in these groups. For example, the larger muscles in your arms will be used to paddle while the smaller stabilizer muscles in your core and legs will be used to help you balance.

Can paddle boarding help lose weight? 

Paddle boarding can help you lose weight because it’s considered both a cardiovascular workout and a strength training workout (which are both required for weight loss). When you paddle, you build muscular strength and endurance. Muscle burns calories at rest so this will help with weight loss. The cardiovascular side of paddling will also help you lose weight because cardio fitness is a key component of any weight loss program.

The nice thing about paddling is that you can choose the level of exertion you want. You can paddle hard and fast or you can go at a slower pace. The best way to paddle for weight loss is to paddle by doing interval training.  For example, start by paddling at a slow to moderate pace as a warm-up, then increase your speed and intensity for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, then drop back down to your slow to moderate pace. Repeat this cycle as many times as possible. 

With any weight loss plan, it’s important to include different types of exercise to your routine and maintain a healthy diet. You’ll want to perform other types of workouts such as walking, jogging, running, cycling, lifting weights, and more.

A weight loss plan that includes paddle boarding could look something like this:

  • Monday: 30-minute walk

  • Tuesday: 30 minutes of weight lifting

  • Wednesday: Rest day

  • Thursday: 30-minute run

  • Friday: 30 minutes of weight lifting

  • Saturday: 30 minutes of paddle boarding 

  • Sunday: Yoga or stretching 

Combine your workouts and paddle boarding with our paddle board workout. It’s a program that challenges your balance and muscular strength and has workout variations for all fitness levels.

Does paddle boarding burn belly fat? 

Paddle boarding does burn belly fat. This is because you’re recruiting large muscles such as your back and arms to paddle. The larger the muscle group you recruit, the more muscular strength you build and the more calories you burn, which can help burn body fat (including belly fat).

Is paddle boarding good cardio? 

Paddle boarding is good cardio and it’s great for your overall cardiovascular health. The repetitive movement in your upper body to paddle increases your heart rate and blood flow and elevates your breathing. Paddling hard and fast will even cause you to break a sweat. You can expect to burn anywhere between 150 to 400 calories during a 30-minute paddle, depending on your weight and fitness level. The nice thing about paddling is that you can choose how hard you want to paddle. You can get a full-on cardio workout while you’re paddling, or you can enjoy a mild to moderate cardio workout by paddling less intensely. It’s up to you. 

What are the benefits of paddle boarding?

Paddle boarding has numerous health benefits and physical benefits as well as social benefits, lifestyle benefits, and many more.

  1. Great workout

  2. Builds core strength

  3. Improves balance

  4. Improves mood

  5. Relieves stress

  6. Surfing alternative

  7. Great for cross-training

  8. Access remote locations

  9. Getting bronzed

  10.  Access new fishing spots

  11.  Enjoy nature

  12.  Meet new people

  13. No additional costs 

  14. Level up your yoga practice

  15.  Easy on the joints

1. Great workout

If you want a great workout, go paddling! Paddle boarding uses all your major muscle groups and is the perfect total body workout to get your blood pumping. Paddling builds muscle while also improving your cardiovascular health. It can help you lose weight as part of your fitness regimen combined with eating well. (Plus, pumping up your inflatable SUP board is a great workout in itself!)

2. Builds strong core muscles

In addition to getting a great whole body workout, one of the most appreciated benefits of paddle boarding is that it builds core strength. Paddling recruits the rotational muscles in your core and promotes a strong midsection.  Forget about doing crunches, get a great core workout while you enjoy the beautiful scenery.

3. Improves balance

Standing up on a paddle board on water requires a level of balance and stability to stay upright. As you paddle through the water, look around, move from your knees to your feet and vice versa, every movement you perform while on a paddle board challenges your balance. The more time you spend on the board, the better your balance will become.

Girl standing and paddling on SUP board on a body of water

4. Improves mood

It’s been proven that exercise and nature improve your mood and elevate your mental health. With paddle boarding, you get the best of both worlds. It’s hard not to have a smile on your face when you’re paddling. And this feeling lasts well after you get off the water. 

5. Relieves stress

Paddle boarding is almost like a meditative practice. It’s calming, quiet, and forces you to be present. Paddle boarding is a healthy and productive way to relieve stress. You can paddle away from your problems, get some space, and give yourself time to work through things. Take some deep breaths next time you’re on your paddle board and feel your stress melt away.

6. Surfing alternative

When the water is flat and the waves are nowhere in sight, SUP boarding is a great alternative. If surfing isn’t in the cards for you but you still want to get out on the water and enjoy the day, it’s best to have a solid backup plan like paddle boarding.

Girl standing and paddling on SUP board on a body of water

7. Great for cross-training

Do you remember in the movies when football players would go to ballet classes to cross-train? Well, ballet could very easily be replaced with paddle boarding, but for every sport or recreational activity (not just football). Paddle boarding is a great option for cross-training and adding as part of your fitness routine. Because it incorporates strength, endurance, and balance, it’s perfect for anyone who runs, bikes, lifts weights, or participates in other recreational sports for fitness purposes.

8. Access remote locations

Unless you own a boat or you’re an incredibly strong swimmer, there are certain locations you could never reach without a paddle board. Paddle boarding allows you to explore new territory easily. Pack a lunch, some drinks, your sunscreen, and go check out that cool island or floating dock in the middle of the water. You could even access some unique trailheads and hike to amazing viewpoints that would otherwise be inaccessible. 

9. Getting bronzed

Paddle boarding allows you to paddle out to prime locations to get the perfect sun. You can float and relax as you work on your tan and soak up some vitamin D. If you find a remote enough location, you can even work on your tan lines. When you need a break from the heat, dunk yourself into the water for a cool down. Just remember to hydrate and reapply sunscreen as needed.

Girl standing and paddling on SUP board on a body of water

10. Access new fishing spots

If you’re an adamant fisher, you can access some of the best fishing spots by paddling to them. Paddle out to untouched waters, drop a line, and enjoy the peace and quiet while you wait for a bite. You can even drop a crab trap behind your board as you paddle around. Pull it up at the end of your paddle to see if you’ve caught yourself a tasty dinner.

11. Enjoying nature 

Since paddle boarding is done in the great outdoors, it’s the perfect way to take in all that Mother Nature has to offer. You’ll gain new vantage points and take in the beauty from different perspectives than you’d get from land. Plus, you might even come across some aquatic life such as fish, seals, dolphins, whales, and more (depending on where you’re paddling).

12. Meet new people

The paddling community is large and it’s full of friendly nature lovers. Whether you meet people in the parking lot, on the beach,  at the dock, or on the water, having a paddle board is a great way to strike up a conversation. Even if you’re meeting people through friends in a non-paddling environment and find out they have a paddle board, this can spark a new friendship. You can even join paddle board meetup groups and meet a group of paddlers for a rip on the water.

13. No additional costs 

One of the best parts about paddle boarding is that once you have the board, you don’t need to purchase anything else to enjoy it. Other activities require additional spending to enjoy them. Take skiing for example: once you have the gear, you then have to pay for a lift pass to enjoy the gear. Or, with sport leagues like soccer, there are annual fees. With paddle boarding, you just have to get to the water and you’re off. It’s continuous fun without additional costs.

14. Levels up your yoga practice

SUP yoga takes your yoga practice to a new level. It’s a fun and interesting way to shake up your usual practice and challenge yourself in a unique way. Try these SUP yoga moves  to level up your practice.

15. Easy on the joints

Whether you have joint problems or not, paddle boarding is one of the gentlest sports on your joints. You can be on the water for hours and not feel any pain in your joints. This makes paddle boarding the perfect low impact workout for people of all ages and fitness levels. Even if your legs get tired of standing, you can sit and paddle. Or if your arms get tired, you can take a break and enjoy the calming sensation of floating.

Enjoy all the benefits of paddle boarding with Maddle

Reap all the benefits listed above with a Maddle paddle boards. Our boards are perfect for people of all fitness levels and come complete with a carrying backpack, pump, collapsible paddle, and leash—everything you need to enjoy the benefits of paddling! Shop our collection of beautiful inflatable paddle boards. 

Camille Brodeur

Driven by the intersection of lifestyle and fitness, Camille's mission is to inspire others to integrate elements of beauty and aesthetic into their outdoor activities. Her depth of experience in the paddle boarding world allows her to inform and motivate others to get out on the water in the safest and most fun ways possible. Whether it be through her work at Maddle or elsewhere, Camille continuously strives to expand the public consciousness surrounding SUPs.


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