You can achieve fitness with many different sports. Sometimes it will be from a combination. Maybe one day you’ll take a run, another you’ll go to the gym. Variety is just important for keeping you interested and dedicated to your workouts as the workout itself. While runs and gym sessions may be good to fit around your work, taking up a new hobby to keep you fit for holidays and weekends can be a great way to improve your overall health and really enjoy your workouts. For a sport that delivers a great workout while keeping your stress levels at bay, there’s nothing that beats SUP yoga. A cross between the popular board sport stand up paddle boarding and the ancient breathing technique of yoga, it’s a workout that will have long-term benefits on both your physical and mental health.
A full body workout
While some sports only work on your upper body strength or building up muscles in your legs, that can’t be said for either stand up paddle boarding or yoga. From the beginning, you’ll be getting an all over workout.
The area that SUP yoga most heavily focuses on is your core. Strengthening your core is wonderful for upper body strength overall, and after sessions of SUP or SUP yoga, it’s likely that you’ll start to see more muscle tone around your abs especially.
Though paddle boarding in different conditions is the best way to challenge your core, it’s best to keep to flatwater when doing SUP yoga. It can be very difficult among waves!
As well as the core, leg and back muscles are engaged to keep you upright on the board (at least in some yoga poses) which, in turn, improves your balance. Upper body strength is developed as you use your shoulders and arms to paddle through their water too.
If you want to increase strength in a particular part of your body, there will be a yoga pose for you. For example, the downward dog is good for your arms, legs, and shoulders, while the cobra pose builds flexibility in your back. Looking specifically to balance? Turn to the boat pose.
All of the hard work that goes into SUP yoga doesn’t just make your muscles stronger and your joints more supple. It also is a great way to lose weight. SUP yoga can burn up to 600 calories per session, which is only 100 less than a CrossFit session! While there are more strenuous activities to keep the weight off, few are so tranquil and gentle as this one.
Regular practice of SUP yoga combined with a healthy diet and a good attitude is sure to keep your weight at a healthy and manageable level. So, if you’re looking for a workout routine to complement a diet that isn’t too intense, it’s time to get your paddleboard out!
Improve heart health
You would think that a full body workout, increased muscle tone, and weight loss were enough physical benefits to enjoy from SUP yoga. However, there’s another one that is less visible. And that is what SUP yoga does for your cardiovascular system.
Because more of your muscles are engaged when doing SUP and paddleboard yoga, your heart is pumping more oxygen to reach all of them, which speeds up your circulation. From the yoga aspect, yogic breathing opens up your circulation even more. All of this is great for your heart.
This cardio workout will make you feel great at the time, but it’s the long-term benefits that come from this that are really important to know about. A number of health conditions and illnesses are related to the heart, such as high blood pressure and strokes, but the risk of these is drastically reduced with regular cardio care.
Though not directly related to fitness, SUP yoga is a sure-fire way to reduce stress. The yogic breathing mentioned earlier does more than just speed up your circulation. Also known as pranayama, this practice can help you to regain control and overcome your anxiety – which is the physical, emotional, and mental reaction that your body has to stress.
From becoming aware of your breath to controlling it, you are doing so much to bring down your stress levels down. Add in the fact that SUP yoga is done outdoors and nature has a calming effect on us, and you’ll really start to notice that you’re feeling more relaxed.
A bonus from yoga breathing is that you don’t need to keep it to your paddle board. Use it in daily life when you feel that stress is getting on top of you. It might just give you the moment of clarity or break from anxiety that you need.
Boost your mental health
Fitness isn’t all about your physical health. Should your mental health suffer, you can get into a spiral where you don’t have the energy to workout. Then, your fitness will deteriorate.
SUP yoga prevents a mental and physical challenge, but it’s one that the body reacts to positively. Increased concentration to commit to yoga breathing techniques and move your body into shapes you may never have before can not only increase energy levels but reduce anxiety and depression. Most importantly, it releases chemicals such as dopamine, endorphins and serotonin in your brain. Despite all of the physical health benefits that SUP yoga offers, the most important thing is that it will make you happy. And there’s nothing better for your overall health than that. After reading this article I’m sure you’re anxious to try – check out the best paddle boards for yoga here