10 Reasons to Learn to Stand Up Paddle Board
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is fast becoming one of Scotland’s most popular water sports and whilst it may feel like a relatively new sport, it has actually been around for centuries. It was first introduced by ancient communities in Hawaii using a form of stand up paddling to travel and fish. More recently, in 2004, the sport made headlines when renowned Hawaiian waterman Laird Hamilton started using SUP as a way of cross training for surfing and has been gaining traction ever since.
It’s easy to see why Scotland is one of the most popular destinations for paddle boarding, the sport itself is great fun, allows you to connect with like-minded people and has so many wonderful health benefits, not to mention the scenery – with our beautiful wild coastlines and world-famous lochs, what’s not to love?
The benefits are endless, so we’ve put together our top 10 reasons to learn to stand up paddle board.
Probably the most important reason. The great thing about stand up paddle boarding is that unlike most sports, anyone can do it. It’s easy to pick up and doesn’t require an immense amount of training or skill. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get your friends together outdoors and try something new.
Stand up paddling can be pretty intense, especially for beginners – your muscles and agility are put to the ultimate test (especially in Scotland, with the aim being not to fall into sub-zero temperature water). The sport thoroughly works your upper body with shoulders, back and arms all engaged to help propel the board, whilst your legs and core muscles also work to attain stability and balance.
You can be sure to feel the impact the next day… abs of steel you say?
Low Impact Sport
Experienced paddle boarders will tell you that this is a great sport that helps you burn calories whilst minimising the risk to joints and muscles as it only requires small, gentle movements. Paddle boarding is a low impact sport that takes out the risk of injury that you can come across in most sports, it’s one of the few sports that’s ideal for rehabilitation injuries. It helps to increase strength and mobility without causing further harm as the movements are kind on joints and muscles.
Today, cardiovascular diseases are considered one of the major health issues for people around the world, paddle boarding can help you lower the odds of some heart-related diseases such as a heart attack or stroke.
Paddle boarding is a great way to keep in shape, have fun whilst you burn calories and build muscle. It’s worth noting that to make the most of your workout, you should be aiming to paddle as fast as you can. Race anyone?
Mental Health Benefits
Now, more than ever we’re realising the importance of taking care of our mental health as well as our physical health. Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to disconnect from our hectic schedules and be entirely present in the moment or are you forgetting how cold that water is? Paddle boarding requires a great amount of focus and concentration, so it helps us to refocus our energy and thoughts, leaving your mind feeling totally refreshed by the time you get back home.
Life is stressful and can really take its toll so it’s important to indulge in some down time every now and then and chill out when you can.
To some, that involves an adrenaline adventure like going bungee jumping or sky diving, others might opt for a relaxing spa day, paddle boarding gives you the best of both. Being in or around large bodies of water has been proven to have a calming, meditative effect on the mind. So why not immerse yourself in Scotland’s natural beauty as you ‘walk on water’ and feel the stress melt away.
Practice makes perfect so you can expect to do a bit more swimming than paddling the first few times. The good news is that the more your balance improves on the board, the more it will in daily life as well as other sports that require balance such as yoga, surfing or SUP yoga – yup, that’s a thing as well.
As you paddle board more often and become more stable, you’ll be able to use your paddle board to surf waves or paddle long distances.
Connect with Others
Stand up paddle boarding is one the fastest growing sports in the world, with thousands of people heading out to the water, boards in tow. It’s so accessible with a real sense of community surrounding it, a quick Google or Facebook search can hook you up with a local club or water sports centre near you that facilitates tours and rentals. It’s such a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and get out and enjoy nature.
Perfect for All Ages
This is a sport that’s suitable for all ages*, it’s one of the best things about it. Paddle boarding accommodates different injuries and interests better than any other activity and whilst you may require a few lessons from a more experienced paddle boarder, it’s an easy sport to quickly pick up.
From toddlers to grandparents, everyone will quickly see the benefit of this sport. It’s a great way to get outside and keep the whole family entertained and will definitely ensure a few laughs along the way.
*Young children should always be accompanied by an adult.
This point is definitely worth mentioning twice. Scotland has some of the most iconic and evocative landscapes in the world and what better way to enjoy them than on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond or on the vibrant turquoise sea of the Hebrides. Venture and explore unspoilt islands from a different perspective whilst enjoying the tranquillity and calmness with no pesky tourists.
MY Adventure and Intrepidus Outdoors are adventure tours and outdoor experience providers, both based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in private and open canyoning, coasteering, mountain biking and hill walking tours, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland. We are also a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions where we run bronze, silver and gold level awards for young people.
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- SUP, A Buying Guide: here
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