Paddle Board Benefits

Paddle Board benefits

Quick Summary

Standup Paddle Board benefits are many and it is a super fun way to exercise. These benefits, including building core strength, burning lots of calories, and improving your balance while exercising on a SUP. In addition, it is an extremely fun way to get in shape. Just try it, and you'll be hooked! There are many other benefits as well, like reducing back pain.

Table of Contents


Standup paddle boarding has many health benefits. Paddle boarding is a low-impact activity on your body, building stamina and endurance, and has little environmental impact; it is an excellent form of exercise and a great way to get some fresh air. In addition, the benefits of paddle board include improving cardiovascular health, a factor that correlates with a lower risk of coronary heart disease. Some of the main paddle board benefits include: 

  1. Full body workout
  2. Increases core strength
  3. Improves your cardiovascular health
  4. Low impact activity 
  5. Burns calories
  6. Mental Benefits
  7. Lose weight

So many health benefits

Back in the summer of 2020, when we were still in lockdown, my wife and I were looking for activities to do outside that were safe, just like everyone else around here. I found a kayak, and my wife found a standup paddle board. We loved getting out onto the water and being active simultaneously. 

When this spring came around, I realized I wasn’t into the kayak as much as I used to. As I age, I’m looking for a full-body workout rather than mainly focusing on my upper half. So, on a whim, I decided to try my wife’s board, and within the first afternoon, I knew this would be my new thing. We decided to buy my wife a new paddle board, and I took hers. This year has been a year of learning techniques and skills and researching the many health benefits of paddle boards. I’m hooked already. 

Full body workout

Standup paddle board benefits your entire body and is a total body workout that works the arms, legs, shoulders, back, and core. The arms and shoulders propel you through the water while your core muscles keep you stable. At times it feels like every muscle is engaged. 

Paddling also works the hands and wrists while activating the muscles in the legs, arms, and torso that are critical for balance and joint support. So it’s a full-body workout that can improve your balance and focus. Another benefit of paddle boards is that you’ll lose fat, tone your muscles, and get a great workout each time you go out.

Paddle board benefits increases core strength

An American Council on Exercise study found that standup paddlers’ core muscles get a workout because they’re continuously twisting and turning as they paddle. As a result, the paddle board benefits from this activity as it helps develop core strength and stability while building lean muscle tone in the arms, shoulders, and back.

Paddle strokes activate the internal oblique and external abs, and the twisting action of the board activates the deepest stabilizing core muscles. The core also helps you maintain your balance and keep a course while paddling in upwind conditions. It also improves balance on downwind runs. In turn, this strengthens the lower back and shoulders. 

So when you are out on a board, your whole body is engaged. Your knees are slightly bent; your pelvic is tucked, and your core is tight as you rotate your body, left and right. Sometimes you might squat into the stroke as you place the paddle in the water. Then you have those waves, either from the sea or a passing boat, then everything is exciting as you learn to navigate this new situation. Or not! I had a lot of that when I first started. 

When paddling, remember to rotate your torso to engage your external obliques. Rotating your torso helps generate more power in your paddle stroke, enhancing the recruitment of your external obliques. Paddle at a quick pace to make the most of your core workout and maintain proper form. Afterward, try paddling at a lighter pace to tone your obliques. It may take a bit to get used to, but it will help your body tone.

Improves your cardiovascular health

Standup paddle board benefits because it’s an excellent cardiovascular activity. Standup paddle boarding improves cardiovascular health by using multiple muscle groups. Paddle boarding keeps your heart rate elevated, which improves cardiovascular health. 

Not only does it improve your cardiovascular health, but it also helps you get more exercise. Physical activity improves heart health, lowering heart disease and stroke risk. 

This combination of benefits makes paddle boarding a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get a cardiovascular workout. And, while you’re at it, you can enjoy the relaxing environment of the water, engage with nature and get plenty of vitamin D, which benefits your body.

Paddle board benefits are low impact

Standup paddle boarding is a low-impact activity that is fun and can help you achieve your fitness goals. The low-impact nature of the exercise doesn’t mean that you can’t burn calories or build muscle, far from it. But no running or jumping could cause injury, another paddle board benefits. Instead, it builds your stamina, builds your strength, develops a strong core and balance, and improves your mental health while giving you an excellent workout. 

For those recovering from injury, practicing this balance and joint stability is essential for preventing re-injuries and promoting long-term health. In addition, this low-impact activity provides an excellent break from the rigors of daily activities and helps you heal your joints and muscles. It also helps to increase your posture and improve your overall fitness. And as a bonus, you’ll enjoy the great outdoors while working out.

Burns calories

There are countless reasons to try standup paddle boarding. Not only is it an exciting activity to do on the water, but it’s also an efficient workout for your whole body. One of the surprise paddle board benefits for me was how many calories a session can burn. I was not expecting it to be so efficient. 

Paddle boarding involves a significant amount of resistance, albeit not nearly as intense as jogging or swimming. This resistance means initially; you are more likely to build muscle rather than burn calories. The key is to work your core and your oblique muscles. Your triceps and psoas muscles also get a workout. Standing paddle boarding is a great way to cross-train despite being a low-impact activity. However, you can expect to burn a significant amount of calories as you get more experience on the board, spending more time paddling and not falling in. 

Whether you choose to paddle in leisure mode or try racing mode, the number of calories you burn will depend on your technique, as with all exercises. With the proper technique, your body will engage all significant muscles, increasing metabolism.

I have seen reports that you can burn between 250 and 1000 calories an hour, depending on the intensity of your workout. That seems like a massive swing, but here is a typical exercise for me, burning 448 active calories in just over an hour—data taken from my Apple watch.

paddle board benefits

I don’t recall any other workout that burns so much for me in an hour. I’m sure running stairs or performing battle ropes for an hour would come close, but I don’t have the stamina to do either for a whole hour. 

Paddle board benefits include mental health

A somewhat overlooked paddle board benefits relates to our mental health. Paddle boarding is a relaxing exercise and a fantastic stress reliever. Being on the paddle board allows you to focus on nature and the sounds of the water and take you away from your everyday life. 

A growing number of standup boarders incorporate yoga into their fitness routines. Yoga helps reduce stress hormones, increases circulation, and is an excellent form of relaxation. While yoga is an excellent exercise, incorporating it on a standup paddle board adds a new level of difficulty. When practiced regularly, yoga can help relieve anxiety and depression by focusing on the present moment. As an added benefit, it can also improve the immune system and mood. I will fully admit that I have tried yoga a few times, but it’s not for me, at least now. But I know folks that love it, so I’m not pessimistic, just not for me. 

One thing I do know, Standup Paddle Boarding requires concentration. This concentration improves blood flow and oxygen levels in nearly every organ in your body. If you are not paying attention, you will soon find yourself going for a swim. Paddleboarding is also a great way to relieve stress which is a benefit. Paddling releases endorphins and serotonin, which are neurochemicals that help you feel relaxed and less stressed. This relaxation will boost your mood and improve your overall well-being.

Surprise health benefit – lose weight

Try standup paddle boarding if you’re looking for an exercise that burns calories and builds muscle. It’s not surprising that paddle board benefits increase your strength and muscle stamina, burn fat and help you lose weight. It also improves your cardiovascular fitness, so you’ll notice a noticeable difference in your heart rate. Plus, standup paddling uses virtually every muscle in your body.

Standup paddle boarding may be a perfect way to start if you’re serious about losing weight. This sport is fun and incredibly easy to learn. In addition, it is a great way to burn excess calories while boosting your physical fitness. Once you know how to paddleboard, you’ll lose weight quickly!

Standup paddle boarding uses multiple muscle groups, including your back, abdominals, and core. You’ll also tone your lower body and core muscles, vital for balancing yourself on the water. Regardless of your age, standup paddle boarding is an excellent way to lose weight.

Paddle board benefits include that the activity can burn as many as twice as many calories as a moderately-paced walk. And because it is low-intensity, you can do it daily. Paddleboarding should be done at least three times per week, integrated with other exercises. 


I think the summary is evident if you have gotten this far in this article. But if you need a quick summary this is a good overall of the health benefits of paddle boards from ClinMed. 

Long-term participation in SUP appears to be associated with improvements in overall mass, body composition, aerobic fitness, trunk muscle endurance and self-rated quality of life. Given the documented long-term physiological, musculoskeletal and psychological effects of SUP and its relative ease and accessibility, it appears to be a novel but beneficial exercise tool, which could be promoted for its wide range of positive health and fitness effects.

So, if you are close to the water and interested in a new hobby providing so many paddle board benefits, I recommend trying a SUP. Try and find a rental spot first to try it out. If you fall in a bunch the first time, don’t worry it gets better. As you get into it you are almost certain to want to find some paddle board accessories

If you like paddle boarding, consider finding a professional instructor to teach you the core techniques and safety measures. We live in Seattle and are lucky to have Rob Casey, owner of Salmon Bay Paddle. My wife and I have taken part in several lessons with Rob’s instructors, who are great teachers, and I would highly recommend them. If you live in the Pacific Northwest or plan to visit, I recommend booking some time with them.