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Stand Up Paddleboarding: Healthy Fun in the Sun

I remember first seeing Stand Up Paddleboards at the ocean in 2013. Our family wanted to try it out so we rented a board for an hour at St. Simons Island. There was a nice protected area during low tide where we played around without battling for our balance amid wave action. We were hooked!

Paddle boarding is a terrific workout, especially for core and balance. Here are a few of its health benefits1:

  • Improves balance: requires a lot of core stability and leg strength to maintain balance, which also helps increase focus and balance in everyday activities
  • Full body workout: Almost every muscle in the body is used at some point during paddle boarding. Because of the balance required, leg muscles will be hard at work attempting to stabilize your center of gravity, while the arms, back and shoulders are used to propel the board in the water. The core, back and abs are constantly at work to maintain balance.
  • Low impact: SUP-ing is a very low impact exercise, so the risk for injury to joints is reduced. It is also useful for runners who are suffering from shin splints or knee or hip pain, but still a good option for staying active while recovering from other mobility-limiting injuries.
  • Reduces stress: Water naturally soothes the body and research has proven exercise reduces stress.
  • Overall increased strength: After spending an extended period of time on a paddleboard, it’s natural to feel sore. But this is a good thing because it shows you are building overall body strength.
  • Cardio workout:If you spend enough time out on the water paddle boarding, you can get a good cardio workout. Race others while paddling to make it a bit more motivating and challenging, which is a good way to get the heart rate up.
  • Useful in rehabilitation injuries:Because of its low impact nature, paddle boarding can be a useful tool for people in rehab to gently increase strength without doing harm. It is very gentle on your muscles and joints.
  • Improves endurance:Once you learn how to standup paddleboard, you begin to master it with increasing endurance of paddling.
  • Better cardiovascular health: Because engaging in paddle boarding is similar to running, aerobics, or even cross-training, you’ll have improved cardiovascular health and less risk for related diseases.
  • Allows you to connect with nature: Being out on the water is calming, and engaging with nature can have a positive effect on your mental health and attitude. In addition, getting some extra vitamin D from the sun is good for you. Be sure to wear sunscreen and a properly fitting life jacket (PFD) as safety is always a priority for a fun and safe day on the water.

Try it out! Many Georgia state parks have paddleboards available for rent by the hour, including Gordonia-Alatamaha, George L. Smith, A.H. Stephens, Panola Mountain, Fort Mountain, Fort Yargo, Vogel, High Falls, Georgia Veterans, Indian Springs and Sweetwater Creek state parks. Some may be seasonal, so call ahead to confirm availability.

For more information about SUP-ing, visit


  1. Health Fitness Revolution (2015). “Top 10 Health Benefits of Standup Paddleboarding.” Retrieved Sep 1, 2016, from