Posted on December 30, 2022 by Reed Naliboff
We like to think that paddle boarding is for the young at heart—meaning no matter how old you are, you still strive to find life-filled moments and adventure as best as you can, and in your own way. As we get older, we come to find better ways to help us reach our health and wellness goals, and for seniors specifically, paddle boarding is a great way to do just that. Whether it’s increasing your heart health, working on mobility, or wanting a good self-care routine to maintain that youthful spirit, here are some benefits and tips to paddle boarding as a senior.
Finding ways to keep fit as you get older doesn’t have to feel intimidating—in fact, it can often be empowering to think of how much your body is capable of, even as a senior. When it comes to the benefits of physical activity, the CDC notes that physical activity can help reduce blood pressure, improves stamina, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and even alleviates the pain and swelling that comes with arthritis among other benefits.
So, if you’re looking for a way to increase your physical activity that's easy on your joints, and user-friendly for all, stand up paddle boarding is the way to go! Paddle boarding is a low impact workout that’s great for the mind and body, that also offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits to make it feel less like a workout, and more like relaxation time.
As you find your balance on your SUP, you strengthen your coordination skills, gain greater endurance, and are getting a good dose of vitamin D as you explore all that nature has to offer on the water. Experts at BioMed Research International note that “Participation in PA and exercise can contribute to maintaining quality of life, health, and physical function and reducing falls among older people in general,” which means paddle boarding not only doubles as a fun stress-reliever, but has great health benefits the more you do it.
For those looking to maintain or increase their strength, while also toning up, paddle boarding is a full-body workout that targets key muscle groups. As you propel yourself forward with your arms, you work your deltoids, triceps, and biceps, while your core abdominal muscles and quads work together to keep your balance.
Stand up paddle boarding continues to be a tried and true physical activity that’s great for senior fitness enthusiasts and for those looking for a highly engaging and stimulating workout. We can’t forget that mental health is a large part of overall health, which is why we also advocate that people of all ages take in paddle boarding for its many mental health benefits.
Another benefit to stand up paddle boarding is that it is highly customizable to your own preferred level of intensity. If you’d like a fast-paced vigorous workout, you can make it just that by paddling faster, or you can make it an easy-going paddle as you set your own pace. Due to the spacious deck of most paddle boards, you can also kneel or sit as you paddle, making it an accessible water sport for most people.
However, if you’re looking to make your paddle boarding experience even more user-friendly, you can look to get a hybrid kayak and paddle board like the Switch, which easily transitions between paddle board and kayak mode in a matter of minutes. Being that kayaking is less strenuous on the legs, this may be a better fit for you, while still providing the health benefits of a workout and time outdoors. If you have a Pioneer 2.0, Explorer 2.0, or Sportsman inflatable paddle board, you can also turn that into a kayak by using the Cloud Kayak Seat.
As you take your board out to paddle, it’s important to keep some key safety precautions in mind for a safe time out on the water. Primarily, one of our top recommendations is to wear a PFD (personal flotation device) while also adhering to all safety laws in the body of water you choose to paddle in. You should also bring along any other essential items like a bottle of water, sunscreen, and cell phone if you plan on paddling for a long period of time, or if you plan on paddling far out.
Just as important, is wearing your leash while you paddle board. The leash is what keeps you attached to your paddle board and is a safety precaution in case you get caught in an emergency situation where you need to swim back to your SUP. As you wear your PFD and leash, also remember to paddle in bodies of water appropriate to your skill level, and aware of your surroundings. We recommend you avoid places with heavy boat traffic or strong currents.
After learning about the many health benefits to paddle boarding, it can be tempting to go all out and start paddle boarding day in and day out to experience just how beneficial it is, but it’s important to go at a pace you’re comfortable with, while also building a habit out of paddle boarding that feels sustainable. If you’re new to the water sport, start with shorter paddles and gradually increase your endurance each time you paddle.
Equally important to the pace you go, is where you go paddle boarding. Pick a body of water that is appropriate to the level of intensity you want to paddle at. We suggest starting somewhere with less of a stronger current like a bay or a lake. This will also make your paddle all the more peaceful as you focus on your surroundings and finding balance on your board.
When it comes to approaching paddle boarding, you don’t have to approach it as a “workout” when it comes to reaching your senior fitness goals. Paddle boarding is first and foremost a fun and relaxing activity, but can also be a way for you to meditate, journal, clear your mind, and a way to spend time with friends and family. Whatever you choose to see it as, just know that you’ll be doing something that’s great for your body, mind, and soul, no matter how old you are. Paddle boarding for seniors is something we celebrate, and hope to equip people to do with the right gear, resources, and inspiration to keep moving forward.
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