Wednesday, December 6, 2023

What’s (S)UP! The Health & Fitness Benefits of Stand-Up Paddleboarding + Essentials to Bring On the Water

by Janice Chan

Do you want a chill and fun workout that will immerse you in nature? Try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP)! It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy nature while also getting in a full-body workout that you can pace on your own. 

Here are some other very good reasons why you should get on a SUP and start paddling this summer! 

Stand-Up Paddleboarding


Six Key Benefits of Stand-Up Paddleboarding


Anyone can paddleboard!

If you’re a beginner to working out or water sports, SUP can be the perfect entry level sport! There’s no pressure like in the gym when you’re surrounded by people and there’s no reps, just steady paddling. It’s suitable for any level since you can start out kneeling/sitting on the board and stand up whenever you feel comfortable. You get to choose your pace and stop whenever you’d like! 

It’s a low-impact sport that helps take stress off your joints.

SUP is a great alternative sport for athletes who engage in high-impact sports. (i.e., running or weight lifting). The core strength you gain from paddleboarding is invaluable for other sports, and it can be an excellent recovery option for athletes who want to improve their general fitness and cardiovascular + upper body endurance over time!

It’s a fun way to get in shape and a full body workout.

This was one of my main motivators for paddleboarding. You’re working your core, arms and legs to stay balanced on the board, and time flies when you’re paddling outside. If you despise spending hours at the gym under fluorescent lighting or find repetitive workouts tedious, then try paddleboarding. You’ll always be a little sore afterward, but that’s a good thing; fff means you’re improving your stamina and strength in your muscles every paddle. You’ll continue to find your strength and endurance growing the more you paddleboard! 

You can improve your balance and posture in your daily life, too!

The first time I went out on a paddleboard, I didn’t even stand up because I was trying so hard to stay balanced. That’s part of the journey! Those same muscles keeping you upright and stable on the board are responsible for maintaining your good posture and balance. There are few recreational activities as beneficial as paddleboarding for building muscles critical for balance and joint support.

My favourite paddleboard benefit…

Use SUP for unwinding and stress relief.

The best part of paddleboarding for me is being completely immersed in the sport. You can’t check your phone, so while paddling, you get the opportunity to unplug and unwind. The natural pressures you’re feeling on the daily can melt away on the water. If you’re currently feeling overwhelmed or need a mood lift, get out there and paddle.

You can connect with different parts of nature while stand-up paddleboarding.

You could hike to connect with nature, but there’s something special about being out on the water. More than half the Earth is covered in water and 80% of our oceans still remain unexplored. By being out on the water, you’ll feel like you’re a part of that exploration and the things around you. It’s a great way to see nature in a way that you haven’t witnessed before. 


Bonus Benefit: You can go paddling with friends and family while still staying six feet apart.

Back at the start of the pandemic, I went paddleboarding with many of my friends and colleagues because you can get a good workout in, be outdoors, AND stay six feet away. During that time when we all felt isolated, it was nice to have an hour or two on the water to soak up each others’ company outside of Zoom or FaceTime.

exercise benefits of paddleboarding

My Paddleboarding Must-Haves

A solid inflatable standup paddle-board for beginners that’s easy to use and balance on!


I recommend the Body Glove Cruiser Inflatable Paddle Board because it’s affordable, sturdy, and packs down easily! I’ve had mine for 3 years now. Note that non-inflatable SUPs are actually pretty huge, bigger than surfboards. They stand at around 10-11ft tall, while inflatable paddleboards are the size of a small suitcase when deflated. There are many advantages and disadvantages to both but I would recommend an inflatable one for sure for just starting out.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding essenntials

A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) to make sure you’re safe out on the water.

This one is good for petite swimmers, you always want to make sure you have this especially if you’re going out on the water alone! You could also use a waist belt PFD if you’d like something more low profile and less movement-restricting while paddling.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding dri bag Stand-Up Paddleboarding life jacket

Gear to make your life easier

A life-changing SUP Air Pump that will make inflating and deflating your paddle-board a dream.

This is THE investment that will make your stand-up paddleboarding days so much easier. My PSI (pound per square inch aka air pressure in your SUP) for inflatable SUPs ranges from 10 – 20 PSI. The higher the PSI number, the harder the board is going to be. Making sure your SUP is inflated to the proper air pressure is important for good performance and balance! Usually, your workout doesn’t start on the water, it starts when you’re manually inflating your board to a suitable PSI.


I used to take around 10 minutes pumping air until i got lightheaded!

I used to take around 10 continuous minutes pumping air into my board and felt lightheaded from the exercise by the time I got out on the water! You’ll save 30+ minutes between inflating and deflating manually with this pump. It automatically shuts off when your board is pumped up to the pre-set PSI and when you use the deflation setting, your board basically returns to its factory-flatness. You know when you’re trying to stuff something back into a bag after you’ve taken it out and it just seems like it’s grown bigger magically behind your back? And it’s almost impossible to shove back in?! This gets rid of that problem – and that alone makes it worth the investment!

Pump for SUP
PFD Belt
Dry Bag
SPF Sunscreen
SPF 30 Lipbalm

Clothing you need for paddleboarding

Paddleboarding Suit that makes you look cute and feel supported

This Zip-Back Paddle Suit comes in a long sleeve and short sleeve version & they’re both so practical and cute for paddling. For paddleboarding, you’ll want a swimsuit that has good support and coverage for sunny days! Speaking of sunny days…


A lightweight UPF 40+ Rashguard should keep you from any chances of sunburn

The worst, absolute worst sunburns I get are from being out on the water. I almost always forget to reapply at the right times because I’m having too much fun out there. This UPF 40+ rashguard provides great UV protection and covers all the places that get burned easily! (aka shoulders and arms!)


Don’t forget to accessorize!

A pair of cute Sandals for lounging and foot support while walking from the beach to the water

I typically wear a pair of Tevas Hurricane XLT2s when I stand up paddle-board. They won’t come off and they’ll protect your feet from rocky stones and sharp objects in and around the water!

A wide-brimmed Sun-Shielding Hat to keep the sun out of your eyes while you paddle

I just bought this Lululemon Wide Brim Hat recently and I’ve taken it out a few times – I love it! It ticks all the boxes: it’s wide and covers your neck, is UPF 40+ rated and cinches around the head so that you know it’ll stay with you on the windiest of days!

Stay waterproofed and hydrated!

A waterproof Dry Bag for stashing your phone, keys and snacks on the water

I’ve gifted this Earth Pak to several friends already – I love that it has a zippered pocket in the front so you can easily access your phone if you’d like to snap any photos! It’s made of a very thick, waterproof PVC Fabric and is leak-proof for peace of mind while you’re paddling away. A Water Bottle so you stay hydrated while you workout

Nalgene is my favorite tried and true bottle brand, their bottles are affordable and sturdy! I usually grab a carabiner and strap my water bottle to the front of my board.

Sun Protection is a must!

An SPF 70+ sunscreen and SPF 30 lip balm to protect your precious skin and keep you sunburn-free!

Get lip sunscreen this summer, you’ll be amazed you didn’t get it sooner. My favorite is the Eucerin Aquaphor Lip Balm (SPF 30). It’s moisturizing and light and doesn’t leave the dreaded white film on your lips upon application. I use the OG Neutrogena Sport Face SPF 70+ sunscreen – for all my sweaty gals – this stuff stays ON and out of your eyes. I would recommend reapplying every three hours you’re out there to be on the safe side!

[show_shopthepost_widget id="4802435"]

Get ready to enjoy the sunshine and water out there!
Feel free to connect with me on Instagram, TikTok & YouTube @janiceachan!



exercise benefits of paddleboarding

Meta Tag Details

Page Title: The Health & Fitness Benefits of Stand-Up Paddleboarding + Essentials to Bring On the Water

Meta Description: Are you bored with the latest fitness trends? Try going stand-up paddleboarding! Here are six benefits of stand-up paddleboarding.

Fitness Trends, Standup Paddle Board, is Standup Paddle Board a good workout, benefits of standup paddle board workouts. what muscles are used in SUP. SUP for beginners.

stand-up paddleboard exercise

Read More: why you should go hiking solo at least once in your lifeWhy You Should Solo Hike At Least Once In Your Life

You may also like

Leave a Comment