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For those who love to stand up paddleboard (SUP) or are looking to get into the sport, a great incentive is the dynamic workout you get from the sport. A stand up paddleboarder not only has fun, but also enjoys a great healthy physical activity that is easy to learn. It’s an awesome workout as even a relaxing recreational paddle ends up burning between 305 to 430 calories every hour a paddler is out on the water.

Burn Calories Stand Up Paddleboarding

Be mindful that these caloric numbers depend on different variables. Factors such as age, gender, workout intensity, experience, and paddling technique all play into the total calories burned stand up paddleboarding. Experience and technique affect the number of calories burned in paddleboarding the most. Here is what you need to understand to make paddleboarding effective.

Best Way to Burn Calories Stand Up Paddleboarding

Experienced paddlers burn a lot of calories; however, if you are a beginner the number of calories burned is not as high. While working to learn how to keep your balance is challenging, the number of calories burned is still not as high as someone who is already off and paddling.

Man walks toward surf with Thurso Surf Expedition Touring SUP

Ready to enjoy another fitness session on the water.

Being comfortable and stable on the paddleboard allows more effort spent on paddling and less on just trying to stay balanced. Getting your balance and technique in place maximizes calories burned stand up paddleboarding. Practice paddling with a strong full-body stroke that has the muscles in your legs, back, and core all working hard. This technique makes for the most effective calorie burn.

Looking up SUP calorie burn numbers on the internet shows those which are targeted at experienced paddleboarders. Here are some general numbers for people who weigh between 165 and 200 pounds:

  • Recreational 305-430
  • Yoga 416-540
  • Touring 615-708
  • Surfing 623-735
  • Racing 713-1125

Variables such as current weight, body fat percentage, age, gender, paddling intensity, fitness level, metabolism speed, experience, technique, and weather all play a role in the calories burned. That complexity shouldn’t deter you or make you feel overwhelmed about getting it right. Instead, use it as encouragement. Every little bit helps, simply focus on your paddle technique and you’ll see improvements across the board.

Closeup of Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-around SUP and ankle leash on shore

Leash on and ready to head out for a fitness session.

Good Technique Means Better Calorie Burn

The calories burned stand up paddleboarding are significant. It’s a great way to exercise outdoors and works every muscle group imaginable. Balancing and paddling work the muscles from your feet through your core all the way up to your shoulders and neck.

Studies show that paddleboarding is a great core workout. Even moderate paddleboarding works both the lower back and abdominal muscles to improve strength. The more intense in the workout, the greater the benefits that are achieved. Paddling intensity and the twist of your core means a better workout.

Man paddling Thurso Surf Waterwalker All-around SUP in bay

Focus on your technique to improve your overall SUP fitness.

Build Your Experience, Burn Calories Stand Up Paddleboarding

Novices who are just learning to paddleboard do not get the same calorie burn benefits of an experienced paddler. Learning to use all your muscles happens as you refine your skills. It is crucial to learn to paddle with the intent of maximum calorie burn. This takes practice. Learning the proper technique teaches you how to use the muscles in your core, legs, and back. Once you can balance, you feel more comfortable and can burn more calories by focusing on paddling hard instead of worrying about balancing.

Practicing and becoming proficient means you get a full body workout. You feel the burn in all your muscles instead of only relying on one muscle group. Once the paddle blade goes into the water, the tension of pulling through the water goes from the top paddle hand right down to your calves and toes that help balance the board. Every muscle group feels it. With practice comes confidence and the ability to put in a full effort, all of which adds up to the maximum calorie burn.

Here are some tips to help you hone good SUP skills and improve your technique while focusing on your fitness and calories burned stand up paddleboarding:

  • Your knees should be flexible and a little bit bent.
  • Keep your head up looking forward and your back straight.
  • Don’t look down, keep your eyes on the horizon.
  • Make sure to take deep strokes into the water.
  • The paddle shaft should be vertical when putting the blade in the water.
  • Line up your hands, one above the other.
  • Twist your shoulder and core.
  • Make sure your hands are wide on the paddle.
  • Your back and hips should be doing most of the work, not your arms.
  • Put your weight into each paddle stroke using legs, back, and core.
  • Envision pulling your feet to the paddle rather than pushing the water.
Woman stand up paddleboarding near rocks and sea grass on Thurso Surf SUP

Your time on the water is yours to enjoy.

Fun and Exercise All While You Burn Calories

You’ll always get some factor of calorie burn while stand up paddleboarding. So be sure to enjoy the time learning and practicing while you work on getting comfortable and finding balance. Think about technique and work towards good form. Having fun is easy and keeps the exercise engaging. You won’t even feel like you’re working out. The challenge is real, but it doesn’t feel like work at all. You get a fun exercise and the joy of being outside with nature, all wrapped up in one activity.
The calories you burn while paddleboarding increase as you get more comfortable with the sport and can build on the intensity of the workout. Spend some time learning how to be proficient and you’ll be burning those high numbers of calories in no time. You get to work on strength, balance, and agility as well as cardio and endurance. Paddleboarding is a full-body workout in an awesome setting!
Woman enjoys view of beach from Thurso Surf Expedition Touring SUP

The water is a beautiful ‘gym’ for a workout.

Calories Burnt – Final Say

Calories burned while paddleboarding vary but it is a good workout no matter what your level of expertise. Paddleboarding offers a great workout that not only tones muscles but is also fun a way to spend time in the great outdoors. Paddleboarding is exciting to learn and even more fun to perfect. There are lots of bodies of water to enjoy, so an endless number of ‘gyms’ to choose from. Paddleboarding has proven it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to exercise outside and beats the workout experience at any indoor gym. Burning calories this way is extremely unique and a whole lot of fun.
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