The power of SUP
Here's the deal: yes, I'm a water sign with a never-ending love affair with the ocean. (The Little Mermaid was my favorite movie as a child long before #MermaidVibes and Mermaid Hair were a thing.) I also dreamt of being a surfer girl thanks to a serious love affair with The Beach Boys in my early teens. (I was an old soul from the start, and my music collection filled with The Beatles, The Who, The Beach Boys, and The Doors was just one clear portrait of that fact.)
So to be honest, it's no surprise that I fell in love with Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) the moment I stepped foot on a board. It's a more practical version of surfing for someone who doesn't live in California or the Caribbean. And the fact that I can practice yoga ON THE WATER, well that's my wildest dreams coming true right there.
But let's back it up, because I think SUP has healing powers. And here's why. In the summer of 2017, I was a shell of a person. In the midst of a divorce, struggling to find reasons to smile. My mom and dad live on a little island, and my mom had a friend with a paddleboard. I had mentioned that I'd love to try it, so we called in a favor and headed over one Saturday morning to take it out for a spin. I brought my dog Nola, my mom brought her kayak, and off we went, into the bay and the channel to glide amongst nature. The experience was peaceful and exhilarating and fun ... and I was hooked.
On my second journey on that borrowed board, I saw dolphins. No lie, just me and my dog, chilling in the bay, and suddenly, not 10 feet away, two dolphins appeared. I shrieked with delight. I felt a spark of happiness inside my belly. I was grinning from ear to ear. Coming off a few very hard weeks, it was hard not to notice the difference in my facial muscles and recognize the power in that moment. SUP brought a smile back to my face when little else was working.
Not long after that, I gave Yoga SUP a try. Each time I go out on a board, I practice just a little, and the thrill of being upside down on a board floating on the water has yet to get old to me. I have a long way to go with it, but it's a life long practice, and I have nothing but time. Meanwhile, I've compiled just a few of the reasons why it would be good for you to get out there and give SUP a try. I would love to hear if it leaves a lasting impression with you the way it has with me.
7 Benefits of SUP:
- Improves your balance. The entire basis of SUP requires that you can stand up while moving over water. Yes, your core is crucial, and so is leg strength, and it all adds up to a healthy sense of focus and balance.
- Full body workout. Every part of your body gets involved, from your core to your arms and legs.
- Low impact. There is very little chance of doing damage to your joints or ligaments during SUP. In fact, if you are recovering from a running injury, SUP is a great way to stay active while not doing any further damage.
- Reduces stress. Water is a known stress reliever. There are studies that show that just looking at waves or a body of water can decrease your blood pressure. This Condé Nast Traveler article goes into more details, if you want to learn more about our connection to water and the positive affect it has on our wellbeing.
- Cardio workout. I tell people this all the time, but you can make SUP as easy or as hard as you desire. Take your paddling speed up a notch, paddle upstream, have a race with the person next to you. It all counts in the game of cardio.
- Connects you to nature. (see dolphin story above!) But seriously, even if you don't see dolphins on your adventure, you're bound to see a few fish, maybe a turtle, some birds, and an insect or two. Don't forget to take it all in and be thankful for the wildlife around you.
- Vitamin D. The bonus to exercising outdoors is the Vitamin D you can soak in. Just be sure to apply waterproof sunscreen, and re-apply depending on how long you'll be out on the water. I love Badger and EiR.