Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or SUPing has grown in popularity over the last 10 years or so to become one of the number one watersports in the world. People of all ages and fitness levels love the sport because it has so much to offer. You can enjoy a quiet outing on calm waters or get the adrenalin pumping as you hit the waves or white waters.

In Dayton, Ohio, there are numerous beautiful places that you can get out on the water, including Riverscape River Run, Englewood, Twin Creek, Huffman, and Eastwood MetroParks. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, you should definitely think about hitting up one of these bodies of water with your SUP. Beyond the obvious – it’s an incredible way to enjoy the outdoors for everyone, young and old – there are a number of surprising benefits that you can expect to see when you go SUPing regularly.


1.  A Full Body Workout

The nature of the sport means that you get a full-body workout whenever you go SUPing, even if you’re out for a gentle paddle on still waters. This is because you are standing on a slightly unstable surface and moving continuously. Just the act of standing on the board works your legs, your core, and your balance. Add in the arms and whole upper body to get you paddling, and you get some cardio thrown in too.

For the entire time that you’re out on your SUP board, there are very few muscles in your body that will get a rest. Your legs and core are working constantly to keep you upright. Your arms, neck, and back will be engaged as long as you are paddling.

2.  A Chance To Meditate

Many avid SUPers have told stories of how they become one with the motion of paddling and are completely focused on the activity when out on the water. They’re able to let go of the thoughts in their minds and give in to the rhythm of their actions and the movement of the water. For the busy mind that doesn’t like to sit and meditate, this is a great sport for letting go of mental stressors.

This is true for all kinds of SUPing, from battling the extreme rapids to having some family fun on a calm lake. Because you are using your entire body on the task at hand, your brain needs to stop all the thoughts that are running through it and allow you to focus on staying upright and moving safely forward.

Some people even go so far as to practice yoga on their SUP boards. That’s right, they head out onto a lake or calm body of water – using a wide, stable board – and go through their poses. It’s an incredible exercise for the entire self, mental, emotional, and physical. You also get to connect with nature while you’re at it.

3.  Gets You Standing Up Right

In the modern world, we spend far too long sitting. We work all day at a desk and come home to sit in front of the television. When you take up Stand Up Paddle Boarding, you know that you are going to be standing for the entire time that you’re exercising – the clue is in the name.

The action on a SUP board also makes you incredibly aware of your posture and the way you stand. It’s essential to stand upright and to keep your back straight and your chest open while SUPing. If you don’t, it’ll be very easy to topple over and end up in the water.

You’ll also find that you get a lot of blood flowing through your legs – more so than most other activities. You aren’t just standing up; you’re actively staying upright, and your legs need to continuously adjust to accommodate for the ever-shifting surface they’re on. This is a great counterbalance to the sedentary lifestyle of an office.

4.  Gets You Plenty of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is also known as the Sunshine Vitamin. It’s a vital part of your chemical makeup and can impact your energy levels and overall mood if you don’t have enough in your system. It also impacts your body’s ability to produce phosphorus and calcium for strong bones. The absolute best source of Vitamin D is from the sun, meaning you need to be outside when the sun is shining to get some.

There’s no hiding from the sun when out on a SUP board. You can’t go stand in the shade for a bit or do your exercise indoors. Of course, it’s important to be careful and not get too much sun. Proper sunscreen and protective clothing is a must. But, don’t be afraid of the life-giving and mood-altering properties of the sun’s rays hitting your skin.

5.  Burns Calories With No Impact

The cardiovascular benefits of SUPing are incredible. Even a gentle SUP session is bound to get your heart rate up and ensure you burn off those pesky calories. This is because you’re constantly in motion when you are SUPing. The water is moving beneath you, so even when your board is still, you are adjusting for the water’s movements. Add in a friendly race, tackling some rapids, or even some HITT exercises, and you are sure to get the heart pounding.

Studies have shown that even a short SUP session will burn twice as many calories as a similarly casual walk. One hour of constant, regular, easy paddling will see you burn up to 430 calories. If you are doing anything more intense, even yoga on your SUP board, you’re going to see a significant increase in the calories you burn in a single session. For the ultimate calorie-burning session, you should try racing. That will get the blood pumping, the muscles singing, and the calories dropping quickly.

The benefits of SUPing are clear, and this is one sport that just about everyone can get into thanks to the amazing waterways of Dayton.