Paddleboarding, which involves participants standing on a paddleboard or surfboard and using their arms to paddle through the ocean, 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 of 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.