Paddleboarding, which involves participants standing on a paddleboard or surfboard and using their arms to paddle through the water, is an increasingly popular recreational activity.
Often seen as a relaxing way to spend a peaceful day on the water, paddleboarding might provide some hidden health benefits. The following are just a few potential health benefits of paddleboarding.
Stress reduction: According to the American Psychological Association, in 2015 a greater percentage of adults reported feeling extreme levels of stress than in 2014. Many paddleboarding enthusiasts acknowledge the soothing qualities of paddleboarding, and a 2016 study published in the academic journal Health & Place found that increased views of blue space, including oceans, can be linked to lower levels of psychological distress.
Exercise: While it might not be high-intensity exercise, paddleboarding is exercise and can provide an avenue for otherwise sedentary men, women and children to begin increasing their levels of physical activity. Muscles in legs get a workout when paddleboarding, as these muscles are tasked with holding the body steady. In the meantime, core abdominal muscles also get a workout as they work to maintain the body’s balance. And of course, muscles in the arms, back and shoulders are needed for paddling. While paddleboarding may not qualify as vigorous a cardiovascular or strength-training exercise, it does provide a low-impact way for participants to engage muscles throughout their bodies.
Balance: Paddleboarding can be a relaxing activity, but those paddleboarders who are most relaxed are the ones with great balance. Fortunately, paddleboarding can help men, women and children improve their balance because it requires a stable core and strong legs. While novice paddleboarders might struggle to stay upright at first, in time they’re likely to notice their balance is improving.
Vitamin D: Human skin produces vitamin D in response to sunlight, which paddle boarders get plenty of. Vitamin D serves a host of functions in the body that can promote short- and long-term health. Vitamin D facilitates normal immune system function, which can help paddleboarders fight off disease and infection. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a host ailments, including diabetes, as inadequate amounts of vitamin D can cause insulin resistance. In addition, in 2014, researchers at the University of Georgia, the University of Pittsburgh and the Queensland University of Technology in Australia uncovered a link between vitamin D deficiency, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and a lack of sunlight. A type of depression related to changes in season, SAD affects millions of people across the globe.
Paddleboarding enthusiasts may not know, but this increasingly popular activity may be greatly benefitting their overall health.