Summer is in full swing. Vernon is a prime location for watersports — gorgeous lakes on the edge of town and awesome weather!
Over the last couple of years, you have most likely seen an increasing number of people paddling on a board, either standing or kneeling. Paddle boarding (or SUP for Stand Up Paddle boarding) has been popular in Hawaii for many decades. The sport is experiencing a rapidly growing interest across Canada. An easily accessible sport for a wide range of ages and abilities, paddle boarding is also great for your health! Let’s have a look at why paddle boarding is so good for you.
1) It is relatively easy to learn. You do not need to be a pro kayaker or a dedicated triathlete to enjoy paddle boarding — no matter your age or level of fitness, it is an accessible sport and everybody can be challenged. Did you know that it is even possible to practise yoga on a SUP?
2) It is a great way to improve your balance. Since you need to maintain your balance while you are paddling, it stimulates your physical awareness and the muscles responsible for your stability. These muscles include stabilizers from your ankles to your back and abdominals! The waves created by the motorboats you share the lake with are an extra-challenge, and an even better stimulation for your balance!
3) It is a serious core workout. Your core muscles, which include your abdominals but also very important torso muscles (from your shoulders to your pelvis), are actively used when paddling. Strong core muscles are a key for spinal health. They are also very important in preventing and treating low back pain.
4) It is easy on the joints. As there is very little to no impact during the practice of paddle boarding, it makes it an easy activity on your joints. Therefore, it decreases the chance of having joint pain during or after your outing!
5) It is a symmetrical sport. As you have to paddle on the left and on the right, it ensures a more even muscle development while decreasing the risk of overuse injuries that would be associated with an asymmetrical activity. As you are using your arms to propel yourself, it makes for a great upper body workout.
6) Not only can it improve your balance, but it is a well-balanced sport. As steady paddling increases your heart rate and your oxygen consumption, it is a great aerobic activity to improve your cardio-vascular capacities, health and burn calories.
So, on top of improving your balance, your strength and your endurance, SUP simply is a fun activity and a great healthy way to enjoy the Okanagan! See you on the lake!
Virginie Pichard-Jolicoeur is a physiotherapist at North End Spine & Sports in Vernon.