Body Buzz: Just Add Water
by Sasha Kanal
Aside from swimming, water sports in general have been overlooked somewhat here on Body Buzz. Sasha Kanal says, no more!
Here in our beautiful corner of the world, we have access to kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, waterskiing, jet skiing and kite surfing, whether on one of the many beautiful Sussex beaches or inland at a reservoir or river.
This month however, we look at the joys of Stand Up Paddle boarding or SUP as it’s known in water sports circles.
First practiced in Hawaii and now hugely popular across the globe, SUP is the world’s fastest growing water sport. Contrary to belief, a stand up paddle board varies from a surfboard in that you have a paddle (as the name suggests!) and its usually crafted differently from a surfboard. But more of that later!
GET UP, STAND UP – SUP FOR FITNESS
The beauty of SUP is that the activity isn’t confined to the beach and you don’t require waves to do it. In fact, many water sports centres around Sussex offer lessons and courses for adults and kids alike in reservoirs, lakes, rivers and coastal lagoons. It’s great for your overall fitness too. SUP is a brilliant all body workout as you tend to use your mid back, shoulders, arms (triceps and biceps) a lot. Plus, the art of keeping yourself balanced and centred while you glide is a wonderful way of working every muscle group, strengthening your legs and maintaining your core balance. A bonus is that it’s a low impact activity but you can burn up to 430 calories per hour leisurely paddling at a casual pace (about twice that of walking).
SUP FOR THE MIND
There are clear benefits to be had for your mind and general wellbeing too from SUP. The freedom and peace to be gained from gliding at your own pace through water cannot be understated. Being near water is naturally calming plus you’re fully immersing yourself in nature and all whilst exploring your surroundings.
ALL THE GEAR
Stand up paddle boards come as either rigid boards or an inflatable watercraft. So now all you need is the gear. Most water sports clubs where you choose to go will provide you with the kit when you take a lesson. If you plan to do the sport regularly what you choose will depend on your budget, storage space and how far you live from the water you’re choosing to paddle board on.
Any good water sports shop will help you find the right board for your size. Don’t forget to check what’s included – some come with paddles, straps and pumps as standard.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out of your comfort zone and try a watersport today.
CAUTION: If you have any long-standing health concerns, always consult your GP if you’re starting a new exercise.