Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stand Up Paddleboarding as Cross Training

If you ever get the chance to go Stand Up Paddleboarding, drop what you're doing and GO.  This activity is by far one of the most fun, adventurous, peaceful things I have ever done.  I'm lucky enough to be able to go paddleboarding with a group that meets regularly, but going solo is a very zen way to tune in with yourself and nature.

Even though it's easier than it looks, paddleboarding is quite a workout.  In order to propel yourself through the water you have to fully engage your core and pull the paddle alongside the board.  How fast and hard you paddle affects the intensity of the workout, as does environmental factors such as tide/current and wind.

I use paddleboarding as a form of cross training between running and biking sessions.  I love the impact-free workout that works arms, shoulders, obliques, abs, and back muscles much like a weight training session.  Quads are engaged, as are ankles, knees, and inner thighs while balancing on the board.  Combine a Bosu ball, free weight session, and an intense full ab workout and you start to get close to the benefits of paddleboarding.  Get out of the loud stinky gym and out in the fresh air on the quiet water with a paddleboard!

Side benefits of paddleboarding include:  up close and amazing wildlife sightings, views of shore that cannot be seen or appreciated by large boats, the "cool factor" of driving around with a board on top of your vehicle, the cute outfits (think Athleta catalog) and being part of a relatively new sport.  And my kids think I'm a pretty cool mom for doing it too.  Score.

Many outdoor outfitters are now carrying paddleboards both for purchase and as rentals.  I prefer flat water paddleboarding, but some boards are made for breaking waves and for paddling beyond the breakers.  Next time you're tempted to rent a kayak to explore the waters, try paddleboarding!  You'll love it, and you'll get an outstanding workout.

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