In addition to being an incredibly fun outdoor activity, stand up paddleboarding (SUP) also offers a wide array of impressive health benefits. A safe, low-impact sport, paddleboarding is something that people of all ages and skill levels can participate in and this is a big reason why it’s become so popular over the last several years. Whether you’re looking to make a complete lifestyle change or simply need an effective way to improve your health in a specific area, there’s a good chance that stand up paddleboarding is just what the doctor ordered.


In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the major health benefits that people all around the world are experiencing as a result of paddleboarding. A natural approach to improving overall health and well-being, SUP doesn’t require costly fitness club memberships, grueling workouts, or questionable dietary supplements. And of course, paddling is a lot of fun!

man and women enjoying the health benefits of stand up paddleboarding together

BENEFIT #1: SUP is a low-impact activity that reduces wear and tear on your body.

Unlike other sports which can have an adverse impact on your body over time, stand up paddleboarding is a low-impact workout that remains incredibly effective. With SUP, you can take the stress off of your body and get into the best shape of your life at the same time.
While some forms of cardio, such as running, can be stressful on your joints and lead to injury over time, SUP is a great way to burn a comparable amount of calories without the stress.

BENEFIT #2: Paddling provides an intense, full body workout.

Tired of spending hours upon hours at the gym? Want something that’s much more enjoyable and will benefit your entire body? SUP is one of the best activities around if you’re looking for an ultra-effective activity that simultaneously targets multiple muscle groups.
Standup paddleboarding targets your upper body with the paddling itself. You will feel it in your arms, shoulders, and chest. It also targets your leg muscles and core stabilizers, because you need to absorb the water conditions as they come. This constant balancing is great for building strength and endurance.

BENEFIT #3: Stand up paddleboarding is excellent for cardiovascular health.

There’s a direct correlation between physical exercise and cardiovascular health — individuals who are physically fit develop fewer cases of coronary heart disease (CHD). Stand up paddle boarding helps you to elevate your heart rate and keep it there. You will definitely be feeling the effects after a long paddle. So if you want to improve your overall cardio health, get active and start paddling!

man exercizing to increase his health benefits of stand up paddleboarding

BENEFIT #4: Paddling is an outstanding way to strengthen your core muscles.

In addition to reducing back pain, a strong and healthy core prevents injuries, protects your body’s inner organs, improves body posture, and more. SUP is a fun and effective way to increase core strength, and you’ll begin to notice dramatic improvements as your paddling technique continues to develop.
Your core muscles essentially act as stabilizers for much of your body. By learning to balance properly on your standup paddleboard, you are strengthening your core without even knowing it. It is a great way to give these muscles a great workout by using them for their intended purpose.

BENEFIT #5: SUP is great for improving balance.

If you’re looking for a fun way to improve your balance, paddleboarding is a great option. While the first time out might be a little rocky if the conditions are choppy, your balance will quickly improve and you will get better at controlling your board in a variety of water conditions. Your balance improves because you are actually strengthening your muscles that stabilize your body.

BENEFIT #6: Paddleboarding is a good way to boost endurance.

For those who are interested in endurance training, SUP is a wonderful activity to get involved with. As your strength, conditioning, and paddling technique improve, you’ll be able to paddle longer distances with great intensity.
Of course, the great thing about this is that you control the intensity. You can set goals, and try to best your times. Similar to running, you can make a routine that works for you.
man paddles hard for the health benefits of stand up paddleboarding

BENEFIT #7: SUP for stress relief.

In a day and age where stress levels are at an all-time high, it’s important to find ways to unplug, unwind, and naturally manage the pressures of daily life. Stand up paddleboarding allows you to get away from it all and take in the sights, smells, and sounds of nature in a way that few are able to experience. Not only is it great for stress levels to be outside in nature, but you are taking advantage of the proven effects that exercise has on mental health.
If you’re currently feeling overwhelmed with the stresses of a busy life, go paddle — we just know you’ll love it.

BENEFIT #8: Combat depression.

Many who suffer from depression have turned to drugs as an answer to their problems. Prescription drug use has become an unhealthy epidemic, yet there are much safer, natural alternatives available. Paddleboarding is a safe, effective, and more affordable alternative when it comes to fighting depression, and it’s an activity that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

BENEFIT #9: Stand up paddleboarding is an effective way to lose weight.

Tired of fad diets and expensive “weight loss supplements” that simply don’t work? SUP is a great way to burn calories and melt off those excess pounds, and best of all, it doesn’t require any expensive supplements, diet programs, or gym memberships.

RELATED: Calories Burned Stand Up Paddleboarding – What They Don’t Tell You

man relaxes on Thurso Surf Waterwalker all-around SUP after enjoying the health benefits of stand up paddleboarding

BENEFIT #10: Get some sun.

Moderate sun exposure has many positive health benefits such as boosting the body’s production of Vitamin D, helping to reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and improving mood. Paddleboarding is a great way to get out of the house and get some sunshine.
Of course, be sure not to overdo it with the sun. You are still very much exposed on your paddle board. So while there are some benefits to soaking up the rays, it is very much a balancing act. Be sure to still wear proper sunscreen and cover up vulnerable areas.

BENEFIT #11: Vary Your Workout

Finally, SUP is a great way to keep your workouts fresh and exciting. There are many ways to use your paddleboard, which means many ways to vary your routine. Perhaps the hardest part of keeping a workout routine is the monotony, but you don’t have to worry about that on a standup paddle board.
You can vary the intensity and length of your paddles, pushing yourself exactly as hard as you want to go. You can brave rougher conditions, which put more effort on your stabilizer muscles as you balance. You can even switch it up and try new workouts entirely.
SUP yoga is incredibly popular. It is yoga on your paddle board, which adds an extra element of balance through the variable water conditions.
You can even try to catch a wave with SUP surfing. While definitely an activity for more advanced paddlers, SUP surfing is similar to normal surfing, except you can remain standing while you catch that wave. While you can’t ride the big waves you might imagine, it’s still a really fun, high intensity activity.
The more types of activities you do, the more muscles you work, and the more well-rounded your exercise routine becomes. Not to mention, it is great for motivation to switch things up. SUP is a great water sport for this very reason, and is a great way to keep things fresh and exciting!

Final Thoughts

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this article about the various health benefits of SUP. Stand up paddleboarding is a super fun activity that can dramatically improve your overall health, and the fact that it’s safe, low-impact, and something that people of all ages can enjoy is why it continues to grow in popularity year over year.
With all of that said, it’s important to note that any health benefits you get from paddleboarding are directly related to the amount of effort you exert while on the water. A leisurely paddle that doesn’t require you to work or break a sweat will not provide the same benefits that can be achieved while paddling with great intent. In order to maximize the positive impact that paddling can have on your overall health, effort is definitely required!
If you haven’t paddled before and are considering it, we highly encourage you to go rent a board and try it out. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be hooked from the first paddle! For those who have paddled before and are learning more about the wonderful health benefits of our sport, we hope this article has been informative and ulimately motivates you to go paddling more often.
Happy (and healthy) paddling!

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About the Author: Matt G.

Matt Gelgota is a traveler and all around digital marketing guy. His greatest adventure to date was the Mongol Rally, a 10,000 mile unsupported on and off-road saga from Sweden to Mongolia. He has visited more than 50 countries and has been paddling a Thurso Surf Expedition since 2018. Since then he’s had a chance to paddle board in Nepal, Thailand, Japan, and the US. When he’s not on the road he divides his time between Tokyo and Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. Thomson Smith July 26, 2021 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    It’s awesome that you mention that using a stand-up paddleboard can help relieve stress. I’ve been having a very stressful month, so I’m thinking about renting a stand-up paddleboard to use at the beach this weekend. I’m going to search for a good business in my area that offers stand-up paddleboards for rent.

    • Jordan-na July 26, 2021 at 3:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Thomas,

      Yes, stand-up paddleboarding helps many people destress and unwind! It’s a great way to get out on the water and clear your mind. Renting is a great way to try it out and see if you like it. I hope it helps with your stress; I know a lot of people are feeling anxious right now due to a variety of factors.

      Kind regards,

  2. Scott December 6, 2021 at 12:58 am - Reply

    Thank you for this really inspiring post. It’s a good encouragement for everyone to try it out. Exploring what our nature has to offer and getting to do our outdoor exercises are always good for the body, mind and soul. Really happy to see its increasing popularity these days and here are the reasons why :

    • Matt G. December 6, 2021 at 11:57 pm - Reply

      Having the chance to get out in nature is definitely one of the best parts of paddleboarding. I don’t always realize how great it is to get exercise outside until winter when I’ve been indoors and in the gym for too long. It might be time to splurge on a new drysuit during the holidays!

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