Health Benefits of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Health Benefits of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Almost every sport offers some health benefits - some more than others.  So how does stand-up paddle boarding rate?

In my quest for alternatives to the gym, I came across many articles touting the health benefits of stand-up paddle boarding.  But how healthy can it really be?  In many pictures, I see individuals almost casually coasting across clear, smooth water.  Not exactly what I envision when I think of exercise.

Woman on SUP

So what's the answer?  How does it rate against other forms of exercise?  Well ... like most things in life, the answer is complicated.

Myth One: It's a great way to exercise your core

Well, that is true, but it isn't necessarily true in all cases.  Using an SUP can be a great way to exercise your core, but only if you do it right.  And by right, I mean you have to push yourself.  If you can easily cruise around the lake for hours without feeling much in the way of muscle aches, you probably aren't getting much of a workout.

yoga on SUP

So how do you maximize your core routine on an SUP?  Dig deep.  Dig hard.  Fully rotate your torso with each stroke. 

Try going out on windy days when the rougher water presents more of a challenge.  If that feels a bit daunting, go out on calm water but set goals for yourself.  See how fast you can go, have a race with a fellow paddle boarder, or try adding a new component - like yoga - to your routine.

Myth Two: It's great for your cardiovascular system

Good?  Okay, yes, just about every form of exercise is good for your heart.  But does stand-up paddle boarding really improve your heart health enough to be considered great?  Again, yes and no.  According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), most who paddle board don't hit the target zone for heart rate during exercise.  The harder you work on the water, the more your heart will work, so pushing yourself is obviously better than cruising along at a leisurely pace.

SUP race

Are all the benefits myths?

Not at all.  In fact, even the first two "myths" are only so in certain situations.  And there are a surprising number of other benefits to be gained from a few peaceful hours out on an SUP.  Here are a few of our favorites:

1: It's low-impact

This is great for those with joint pain or those who are recovering from an injury.  You can work your muscles, stretch them, and not have to worry about repeated stress on your ankles, knees, and hips.


2: It's a great way to relieve stress

All exercise releases endorphins, which helps to boost your mood.  Stand-up paddle boarding adds another, often overlooked, benefit - "blue space".  Research has shown that just looking at a picture of nature, specifically one with water, can help create a better sense of well-being.  Feeling good about yourself can go a long way toward living a healthier lifestyle.  

3: Social Health

We've talked about physical health and we've talked about mental health ... but what about social health?  Is that a real term?  I don't know, but if not, it should be.  Humans are social creatures and our general satisfaction with life, happiness, and well-being is closely related to the quality of our relationships.

Three people on SUPs

Stand-up paddle boarding is a wonderful way to spend time with friends or get to know someone new.  It's quiet enough to allow conversations, is easy enough for anyone to learn, and is a great activity to do as a group.

Final Thoughts

Should you invest in an SUP?  Yes.  Not because it's going to make you dominate in the next triathlon or because it will knock three inches off your waist, but because any step you take to get out and do more is a step in the right direction.  The more opportunities you give yourself to exercise and release stress, the better off you will be.

So the next time your best friend asks if you want to take a spin class at the local gym, suggest paddle boarding instead.  As far as well-rounded, integrated exercises go, stand-up paddle boarding stands alone.

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Destination Spotlight: Clear Lake

Destination Spotlight: Clear Lake

In honor of our military families, today we would like to showcase the Clear Lake Recreation Area.  It is designed to provide family fun for all active duty, retired military, active members of the Reserves, National Guard, DoD civilian employees, and their families.  The 34 acre recreation area is along the shore of Clear Lake, which spans nearly 337 acres and is over 100 feet deep.  The Recreation Area is located at South 14824 Clear Lake Road, Cheney, WA.

If you're not associated with any military branch, don't fret.  Clear Lake is easily accessible thanks to the public boat launch (on the same road) near the south end of the lake.

Map view of Clear Lake Recreation Area and Clear Lake Public Boat Launch

I am always impressed by how much they have to offer.  Besides an extensive list of rental items (ski boats, paddle boats, SUPs and kayaks, fishing gear, and far more), there is also a large playground, several picnic acres with grills for cooking, a swimming area, docks for securing your boat, and camping spaces whether you bring a tent, RV, or stay in one of their cabins or yurt.

There are three reasons why my family and I keep returning to this particular spot again and again ...

1.  It's rarely busy.

This is, of course, rather subjective.  Although many of the camping areas fill up quickly, the beach, grassy areas, and the lake itself aren't usually crowded.  We last went to Clear Lake on Memorial Day weekend and expected it to be chaotic, especially since we got there later than expected.  We were pleasantly surprised to find no competition for a nice grassy area down near the water, had plenty of time to set up our stuff for the day, and got our boat launched and docked all with minimal frustration.  And when we got out onto the water?  There were a few fishing boats scattered around, but even so there was ample room to cruise the water at speed without bothering anyone.

Clear Lake Recreation Area, Playground Equipment

2. There is something for everyone.

My daughter loves the playground and beach and will gladly spend all day digging in the sand if we let her.  My husband likes to cruise around on the boat or PWC and recently learned how to wakeboard while on Clear Lake.  I prefer the challenge of man-powered vessels and spend most of my time on an SUP or kayak.  Whatever your preference, Clear Lake Recreation Area has something for you.  And if you don't own it, don't worry.  They have a surprising number of watercraft available for rent and include boater safety training with each motorized rental. 

Clear Lake, Stand-up Paddleboard, SUP

On most lakes, I am often forced to deal with speeding boats and thoughtless drivers who rarely consider how their wake or proximity might bother a nearby SUP.  Clear Lake offers a very large no-wake zone, well beyond what would be necessary for safety alone.  Because of this, Clear Lake is an ideal spot for anyone wishing to learn how to SUP, kayak, or canoe.  There's little chance for tipping when the boats putt along from the launch toward the north end of the lake.  This area is also a haven for many water birds, so keep watch as you coast along the shore.

No wake zone, Clear Lake

3. They offer more than just water fun.

During the first Saturday of May, they offer a Kid's Fishing Derby which allows kids between 5 and 14 the chance to fish on the lake.  For $10, the kids get a t-shirt, a fishing rod, and can keep up to three trout that they catch.

Those looking to challenge themselves on another level should consider registering for the Clear Lake Triathlon.  Registration is from June 6th to July 18th with the big event happening on July 21st.  Complete a 500 M swim, 15 M bike, and 5 K run as an individual competitor or build a team of three and have a different person complete each part.

Does anyone out there not like a good movie?  Well, probably some one, but for those of you who are looking for something to do on a warm summer night, check out their free movie nights.  The gate will remain open late, allowing you to settle in with free s'mores and hot dogs (while supplies last) while watching a family-friendly movie. 

For those of you who may be interested in visiting, check out Fairchild's website for more information.

Public Boat Launch

Clear Lake Public Boat Launch

Keep in mind, the Clear Lake Recreation Area is for our military families only, but that doesn't mean that non-military families can't enjoy the lake itself.  Clear Lake offers a public boat launch (use requires a Discover Pass) on the south end.  From here, you can access the extensive no-wake zone for those with man-powered vessels or take your motorized boat beyond it if you want to pull skiers, wakeboarders, or just cruise the lake.

Note: Stillwater Outdoors received nothing for posting this and is not affiliated with the Clear Lake Recreation Area or the Fairchild Airforce Base in any way.  Our only purpose was to offer our readers a short review of a local lake and recreational area.

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