Heading on vacation this summer? Going away shouldn’t mean you drop your fitness plan. In fact, it’s a perfect time to try a new activity—like paddleboarding.
Hands up if a vacation means that you let yourself go! The normal rules don’t apply, right? I’m about to pack my bags to take a family vacation, and I’m looking forward to relaxing by the pool and enjoying a good book. BUT I’ll also remain active with some fun family-fitness activities. All year long I follow a consistent exercise routine in the gym, so on vacation I’ll take a break from my normal routine while still enjoying at least 30 minutes of activity a day.
I personally think that all fitness is fun, but I understand that many people don’t approach exercise with my kind of enthusiasm. That means I’m always trying to find ways to entice “non-exercise fans” to fall in love with the joy of being active. Today I think I have the perfect activity for you to try!
Paddleboarding is a new fitness trend that’s sweeping across the world. I promise, it’s a lot of fun, it’s challenging and paddleboarding burns a ton of calories, too. It’s one of my favorite vacation activities that helps me stay fit and enjoy my time off.
Paddleboarding is like canoeing, only instead of sitting you have to stand up. And instead of a canoe, you use an oversized surf board with a long paddle. It’s also known as stand-up boarding, or—for those dare devils who actually attempt to catch waves—it’s known as paddle surfing.
To try paddleboarding you need to be able to swim, and you’ll need a sense of humor to go with a board and paddle. Most resorts have equipment for hire, or you could treat yourself to a lesson to make sure you stay on the board instead of toppling off!
I tried paddleboarding for the first time two years ago and have never looked back. Nowadays, I’ll even brave the ocean in the winter to get my fun fitness fix. My husband is an avid surfer and suggested I give it a try while we were at the beach. It turns out that paddleboarding is a perfect core workout, and he knows that I love a good core challenge.
I quickly discovered that paddleboarding is not just good for your core—it’s actually a total body-fat burning, cardio-strengthening activity. On my first day I could have easily re-named this activity ‘board climbing,’ as all I did was get on and fall off!
You have to find your balance on a floating board, and it’s not as easy as it looks. After many dives into the ocean, I finally found my balance and was proud to start using my paddle to propel myself, instead of as an extra float! My frequent splashes made me soon realize that paddleboarding is a perfect activity for stress relief, too.
You have no choice but to engage your core and maintain good posture when you’re trying to paddleboard. Basically, you have to balance with good posture throughout this entire workout or you’ll fall off. The threat of the cold water and a struggle to get back on a moving board after each dunking will make you very aware of your body positioning in a short amount of time.
Your core will be working overtime to help stabilize your body position. Then you add in the paddle motion and you get a perfect shoulder and oblique challenge, too. Plus, the resistance of the water will help you gain strength.
Each time you fall into the water, I bet you’ll laugh like a little kid.
When you start to get the knack of paddleboarding, you’ll have a feeling of pride because mastering this fun but tough activity will give you an incredible confidence boost.
Gliding though the water can also create a calm and peaceful state of mind, making paddleboarding a true mind and body workout.
Paddleboarding, even at a leisurely pace, burns calories. If you want to speed up that calorie burn, you can add in intervals of fast and slow movements to increase the intensity, too. That chocolate cake you ate at dinner? Burned!
Paddleboarding is a sport that has been around for years, but recently famous surfer Laird Hamilton has helped increase awareness and boost the profile of this fun water activity. I’m privileged to have spent time with Laird, and I admire his passion for the sport. He really wants people to get active with this incredible mind, body and spirit workout.
My son got the hang of it on our last vacation and my daughter was also up for some fun, but she excelled at relaxing, too! It’s the perfect vacation mix—time to chill out and time to stay fit. I hope you give paddle boarding a go and love it as much as I do on your next vacation. You’ll have fun, challenge yourself and it’s a fat-burning, strength-building workout in one.
Whatever activity you decide to do on your next vacation, be safe and have fun.