Stand-up paddleboarding is more than a trendy way to paddle local lakes
As soon as local lakes and rivers thaw, the stand-up paddleboards come out of storage and SUP enthusiasts will come out to play on Colorado’s beautiful lakes and rivers. SUP is one of the fastest-growing watersports across the world and it’s not hard to see why. It’s very accessible to all ages and abilities: All you need is a board, a paddle and an adventurous spirit that calls you to get out on the water, breathe in the beauty around you and have a great workout in the meantime. SUP is more than simply a fun way to spend the afternoon — when you venture out on the water you will be reaping many health and wellness benefits, too.
“SUP gets more muscles firing than just about any other activity,” Breckenridge paddler and SUP yoga teacher Leslie Ross said. “It’s deceptively fit-producing, even if you’re just a casual paddler. SUP yoga is a full-body workout.”
Here are a few ways SUP can bring new energy to your everyday wellness regimen.
The power of a SUP paddle-stroke comes from core strength and stability, which means your six-pack abs might only be a summer of SUP away.
While standing on the board, the body is constantly working to stabilize and balance by engaging deep core muscles, obliques, back muscles, legs and the stabilizing muscles around knee and hip joints. It’s a full-body workout. At the same time, the water is moving and your body is required to make micro-adjustments, ebbing and flowing with the subtle changes. These micro-adjustments build stability and strength around your joints, and also help to improve overall balance.
Don’t want to leave the lake after SUP yoga? Don’t. Increasing your time on the water will improve your endurance, cardiovascular health and overall fitness. The slow-and-steady pace of SUP makes a great cross-training option to complement a mountain lifestyle, filled with mountain biking and other high-octane sports.
While on the water, try challenging yourself by varying your travel speeds and distances from day to day. This will also safely up your heart rate and hone your technique.
SUP provides amazing benefits, but it’s also a great cardio alternative for building endurance without greatly impacting your joints. Use SUP to balance out high-impact activities such as running, biking and hiking, and also to optimize your recovery time. Gentle exercise is one of the best ways to relieve soreness in muscles and joints, and SUP can be useful to help recovering athletes gain strength and mobility when rehabilitating injuries or overused muscles.
Stress relief and relaxation
Standing and paddling on a SUP board requires both presence and focus, especially if you don’t want to get wet. In my experience, it becomes a moving meditation — a unique opportunity to clear the mind, relieve stress and to be fully present as you paddle. Time spent in nature has a soothing effect on the mind and is proven to have an uplifting effect on mental health, too.
SUP yoga is a great way to relax (or get a workout) while challenging your balance and presence on a board. Ross created a SUP yoga program through Meta Yoga Studios in Breckenridge to combine her love of yoga and paddling.
“Being landlocked in Breckenridge, SUP yoga provides yogis and paddlers a fresh perspective on recreating in the mountains,” Ross said. “Being on the water, you not only tap into the calming effects water can have on us, but (it) is fun and a great workout.”
Leslie Glenn is a Breckenridge local, mountain girl, snowboarder, nature nerd, yoga teacher, travel junkie, health coach and soul seeker. She followed her heart to the mountains of Colorado in 2002, making Breck her official home while traveling the world as a competitive snowboarder for the following decade. She is inspired to share her reflections on mountain life, snowboarding, yoga, health, wellness and travel in her column, Mountain Soul.