Paddle Boarding for Weight Loss: A Woman's Guide
The allure of the water, the graceful balance between movement and stillness, and the essence of harnessing nature’s power—paddle boarding offers an exceptional experience. But beyond its recreational charm, there's an underlying question many fitness enthusiasts, especially women, seek to answer: Is paddle boarding an effective way to lose weight? With an increasing number of paddle board options tailored specifically for women, the interest in paddle boarding’s health benefits is at an all-time high.
CALORIES BURNED: PADDLE BOARDING VS. OTHER POPULAR ACTIVITIES
When exploring any fitness activity, one of the foremost considerations is its calorie-burning potential. Let’s put paddle boarding into perspective:
Paddle Boarding: An average person burns approximately 305-430 calories per hour during leisurely paddle boarding. However, more intensive sessions, such as SUP (stand up paddleboard) racing or surfing, can torch up to 1,125 calories an hour.
Running: Jogging at a moderate pace can burn about 500-700 calories an hour, depending on factors like weight and speed.
Aerobic Classes: Depending on the intensity and type, aerobic or Zumba classes usually range from 500-800 calories an hour.
Weight Training: A standard weightlifting session may burn between 180-266 calories an hour.
From this comparison, it’s evident that paddle boarding, especially when done intensively, can compete with more conventional workouts in terms of calorie expenditure.
THE MUSCULAR BENEFITS: AN ALL-IN-ONE WORKOUT
A unique aspect of paddle boarding, and what makes it an especially attractive paddle board for women, is the wide range of muscles it targets:
Core: Maintaining balance on a paddleboard necessitates constant core engagement. This means your abs, obliques, and lower back are consistently working.
Upper Body: The act of paddling works out the biceps, triceps, shoulders, and back.
Legs: Believe it or not, your legs play a significant role in paddle boarding. From maintaining balance to steering, your calves, quads, and hamstrings are actively engaged.
Complex exercises, like paddle boarding, target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This leads to increased calorie burn during the activity and enhanced afterburn effect, making them particularly beneficial for weight loss.
DATA SPEAKS: DELVING DEEPER INTO THE STUDIES ON PADDLE BOARDING
In the world of fitness and sports, the efficacy of an activity is often supported by concrete data and research. Paddle boarding, though seen by many as a recreational pastime, has been the subject of various studies that highlight its potential as a comprehensive fitness activity.
American Council on Exercise Study
The *American Council on Exercise* (ACE), a recognized authority in fitness, undertook a study to explore the fitness benefits of Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). Their findings were profound:
- Full-Body Workout: SUP was found to be a holistic exercise that engaged a multitude of muscle groups. It wasn't just a cardiovascular activity; it also improved muscle strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.
- Cardiovascular Health: The heart rate of participants during a typical SUP session was within the range to improve cardiovascular endurance, akin to more traditional workouts like jogging or aerobics.
Journal of Sports Science & Medicine Research
Another noteworthy research piece comes from the *Journal of Sports Science & Medicine*. This study was particularly interesting because it delved into the long-term effects of regular paddle boarding:
Body Fat Percentage: One of the standout findings was that regular paddle board practitioners had a significantly lower percentage of body fat compared to non-practitioners. This implies that over time, consistent paddle boarding can be an effective tool in weight management and overall body composition.
Muscle Tone and Endurance: Not only did regular paddlers have reduced body fat, but they also displayed improved muscle tone and endurance, further cementing paddle boarding’s role as a strength-building activity.
Mental Health Benefits: Though not strictly related to weight loss, it's worth noting that other studies have highlighted the mental health benefits of SUP. The rhythmic motion of paddling, coupled with the serene environment of open waters, has been linked to reduced stress levels, improved mood, and even decreased symptoms of depression.
While paddle boarding's weight loss and fitness benefits might not be the first thing that comes to mind for many, the data and research provide a compelling case. Not only is it a fun and refreshing activity, but it also boasts a suite of health benefits that can rival many conventional workouts.
Same Board - Just Different Graphics
BEYOND THE HYPE: WOMEN DON'T NEED SPECIALIZED PADDLE BOARDS
It's tempting to get swayed by brands that market paddle boards specifically tailored for women. Often touted with features like a narrower width, lighter build, or unique design elements, these boards promise to cater exclusively to the female physique. However, a deeper dive reveals that this is mostly marketing hype.
Women, just like men, have showcased prowess in paddle boarding across various boards of all shapes and sizes. The inherent strength, agility, and balance of a woman are not confined to a board labeled 'for women'. Every individual, regardless of gender, has their own unique set of physical attributes and skills. Thus, the best paddle board for any woman is one that she feels most comfortable and efficient on, not necessarily one that's marketed specifically to her.
Rather than being directed by marketing tactics, it's crucial to test various boards, understand one's preferences, and choose a board based on individual comfort, skill level, and the type of paddling one intends to pursue. After all, women have proven time and again that they can excel in any field or activity without the need for gender-specific equipment. Paddle boarding is no exception.
EMBRACING THE WAVES AND WELLNESS: THE FINAL VERDICT
Paddle boarding, often seen through the lens of recreation and relaxation, has firmly established its footing in the realm of fitness and well-being. Whether it's the invigorating full-body workout it offers, its demonstrated potential in long-term weight management, or the undeniable mental peace it brings, the allure of this sport is multidimensional.
The compelling data from respected research institutions reaffirms its stature as more than just a water sport. It is a holistic wellness activity that harmoniously blends physical exertion with mental rejuvenation. Women, and indeed everyone, can confidently turn to paddle boarding not just for the thrill of gliding over water, but for its profound health benefits.
In a world brimming with fitness fads and short-lived trends, paddle boarding stands out with its timeless charm and scientifically-backed benefits. So, as you stand at the edge, paddle in hand, know that with each stroke, you're navigating towards a fitter, healthier, and more empowered version of yourself. Dive in, and let the transformative power of the waves guide you!
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about the benefits of paddle boarding, take a look at this article: paddleboardinsiders.com/is-paddleboarding-a-good-workout/
Hard vs. Inflatable Paddle Boards: Top Benefits Explained
Paddle boarding offers enthusiasts two main types of boards to choose from: hard (also known as rigid or solid) and inflatable. Each type comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. While inflatable boards have been touted for their convenience and portability, it's the hard paddle board that offers superior performance in many aspects. This article delves into the advantages of hard paddle boards compared to their inflatable counterparts.
PERFORMANCE AND STABILITY
Hard paddle boards are typically more rigid than inflatable boards, which translates to better overall performance on the water. The rigidity allows for quicker and sharper turns, making it easier to navigate through waves or around obstacles. This also means that hard boards are more stable on calm waters, providing a better platform for beginners to learn and for experienced paddlers to hone their skills.
SPEED AND GLIDE
When it comes to speed and efficiency, hard paddle boards have the edge. Their sleek design and smooth surface minimize drag in the water, allowing for a smoother and faster glide. Inflatable boards, on the other hand, can have a slight bounce or flex, especially in choppy waters, which can reduce speed.
DURABILITY AND LONGEVITY
While both types of boards are designed to be durable, hard paddle boards are often constructed from materials like fiberglass, bamboo, carbon fiber, or epoxy which are more resistant to scratches, dings, and general wear and tear. With proper care, a hard paddle board can last for many years, outlasting an inflatable board that is more susceptible to punctures or seam issues.
Most hard paddle boards come with a textured deck, which provides better grip and traction when standing or maneuvering on the board. This is especially useful in wet conditions, where the risk of slipping increases. While inflatable boards also have traction pads, the overall feel and grip might not be as secure as that of a hard board.
Many hard paddle boards are designed with specific activities in mind, be it racing, surfing, touring, or even yoga. Their construction and design reflect the needs of these activities, offering features like contoured shapes for surfing, or tie-down points for gear on touring boards. In contrast, most inflatable boards are designed for general use, which means they might not excel in any one particular activity.
Though both types of boards require care, hard paddle boards tend to need less frequent maintenance. They don't require inflation or deflation, so there's no need to constantly check air pressure or be concerned about air leaks. Additionally, hard boards are less susceptible to temperature fluctuations, which can affect the performance and longevity of inflatable boards.
For many paddlers, the feel of the board on the water is an integral part of the experience. Hard paddle boards offer a more direct connection to the water, allowing paddlers to better feel the nuances of the waves, currents, and water movements beneath them. This can be especially beneficial for activities like surfing, where reading the waves is crucial.
Hard paddle boards often retain their value better than inflatable boards. Since they're durable and can last for many years with proper care, it's possible to resell a hard board at a good price, provided it's in good condition.
In the realm of paddle boarding, the decision between hard and inflatable boards hinges on individual priorities. Inflatable paddle boards have certainly carved a niche for themselves, particularly among those who value portability, easy storage, and convenience. Their ability to be packed into a backpack and carried to remote locations is undeniably attractive.
However, when assessing the full spectrum of performance attributes, hard paddle boards often emerge as the top choice for many enthusiasts. Their superior speed, stability, and direct connection to the water provide a paddling experience that's both tactile and rewarding. Furthermore, their longevity, coupled with their potential for higher resale value, offers a compelling argument from an investment standpoint.
At the end of the day, whether you lean towards the solid embrace of a hard board or the convenience of an inflatable, the joy of paddle boarding remains constant. It's an invitation to explore, to connect with nature, and to find balance on the water.
Paddle Board Design and Shape Terminology Explained
Just as the architecture of a building determines its stability, aesthetics, and functionality, the design and shape of a paddle board dictate its behavior on water. The nuances in its width, length, and contours are not mere artistic touches but are meticulously crafted to enhance specific on-water experiences. When shopping for a paddle board, the same terms always pop up. Let’s demystify the jargon and provide an explanation of these terms so you can have success in choosing the right board.
Wide Boards (30-34 inches or more)
These provide stability and are ideal for beginners. A wider board offers a larger surface area, making it less prone to tipping. They're also preferred for activities like yoga or fishing where stability is paramount.
Narrow Boards (less than 30 inches)
Designed for speed and agility, narrow boards are typically used for racing or touring. They are quicker but may require more skill to balance, especially in choppy conditions.
Short Boards (less than 10 feet)
These boards are maneuverable and are generally used for surfing. Their shorter length allows riders to navigate waves and perform quick turns.
Medium Boards (10-12 feet)
This is the most common size range, suitable for all-around use and recreational paddling.
Long Boards (12 feet and above)
These are designed for speed and straight tracking, making them ideal for touring and racing. The extended length allows for efficient glides on long paddles.
Greater thickness provides more volume and buoyancy. This is especially important for larger riders or those carrying gear.
Less volume might mean less stability, but it brings the rider closer to the water, offering a more connected feel, which can be beneficial for activities like surfing.
NOSE SHAPE (FRONT OF THE BOARD)
This design cuts through water efficiently, reducing drag. It's a typical feature of touring and racing boards.
Often found on all-around and surf paddle boards, a rounded nose provides versatility and stability.
TAIL SHAPE (BACK OF THE BOARD)
Square tails help to make fast board shapes because it disperses water away quickly. It also improves stability and increases the release out of turns. This tail shape is found on many all around style paddle boards.
Provides stability, allowing for sharp turns. It's a common choice for surf style SUPs.
Narrows towards the back, this shape reduces drag and is often found on racing and some touring boards.
Provides stability and is suitable for flatwater paddling only. ALL inflatable paddle boards have a flat bottom. Flat bottoms are not very stable on choppy water!
Helps in directing water, improving speed and tracking.
Found in surf style and better performing all around SUPs, concave bottoms assist in channeling water for improved glide and better agility during turns.
ROCKER (CURVE FROM NOSE TO TAIL)
Suitable for calm waters, boards with minimal rocker move straight and fast but may not handle waves as effectively. Some flat rocker boards like Wappa will have a nose kick to help navigate waves and choppy water.
The pronounced curve helps the board navigate waves, making it ideal for ocean paddling and surfing.
The design and shape of a paddle board isn't just about aesthetics; it's a reflection of its intended use, performance characteristics, and the kind of water conditions it's optimized for. Whether you're looking for speed, stability, maneuverability, or a combination of these elements, understanding the basics of design and shape terminology will help guide you towards the perfect board choice. Happy shopping!
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.
board performance explained
board care & maintenance
great for families
SUP for women
want a deal?
wholesale paddle boards