The summer months can be the best times — kids are home, days are longer, and outdoor activities are at an all time high. Our schedules get shifted from time to time during the long summer days but that doesn’t mean our fitness has to take a backseat. Many of our outdoor activities can be a combination of fun and fitness. One of the most ideal ways to do so is stand-up paddleboarding. You will need a paddle to row with and either an inflatable or hard paddleboard. You want to wear something that can get wet and a life jacket. It is easier to start in shallow water; that way you are able to climb on the board more easily. Begin by positioning on your knees in the middle part of the board. Grasp your paddle with both hands, and situate on your hands and knees. Having your feet at least hip width apart, proceed to stand up slowly using your core for strength and balance. Keeping your knees soft and holding your chest tall, continue to tighten your core, and engage your legs for stability. Once you feel secure, you are ready to start moving! With your paddle in hand, simply dip it in the water and start pushing yourself forward. Depending on the flow of water, you may keep your paddle on one side for a few strokes, then switch to the other side for a few more strokes. Or you can paddle side to side as well. Balance is key in not only paddleboarding, but nearly every water sport. So if standing is too difficult in the beginning, stay on your knees. You will still be getting an excellent workout without the fear of tumbling over. Paddleboarding is not only enjoyable, but you are working nearly every muscle from top to bottom by paddling with your arms, keeping yourself stable with your core, and balancing with your legs. Paddling is not only fun and great exercise but a great way to enjoy nature from a different perspective. Marlo Alleva, an instructor at Gold’s Gym and group fitness coordinator at Fontaine- Gills YMCA, in Lakeland, Florida, can be reached at email@example.com.
Listen to the Life in the 614 podcast: