Paddle your way to a beach body this summer

Photo credit: Marco Garcia for The New York Times

The couple that paddles together…
Photo credit: Marco Garcia for The New York Times

If you’re concerned about summer’s heat causing a slump in your fitness routine, there’s a workout that will have you getting fit while having fun under the sun: Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or “SUP” for short.

There’s a reason it’s the fastest-growing water sport in the world, poised to overtake kayaking and canoeing: It’s so much fun, it’s borderline addictive.

After debuting in Hawaii nearly a decade ago, paddleboarding spread quickly up and down both coasts here on the mainland before landing as a summertime staple in the lakes of the Midwest, as well.

And although it’s roots are in surfing, the sport is known as a more beginner-friendly way for people of all ages and abilities to ease into getting comfortable on a board in water.

It’s also an awesome workout – one that not only engages major arm, leg and core muscles, but also tests your balance and activates secondary stabilizing muscles for a full-body challenge.

Average calorie burn ranges from 500-1,000 calories per hour, which is another reason for the recent explosion in popularity of this super-efficient, low-impact, joint-friendly activity.

Paddleboarding instructor Cody White  Photo credit: MensFitness.com

An action shot of paddleboarding instructor Cody White
Photo credit: MensFitness.com

Undoubtedly, the paddleboarding craze has also been propelled by a host of celebrity devotees who have been photographed trying their hand at it in various destinations round the world (Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Matt Damon, Rihanna, Kate Hudson and Cindy Crawford, to name a few).

According to experts, it takes about an hour to learn the basics, so whether you’re testing the waters on vacation or venturing to a local body of water to give it a shot, the odds are good that you’ll be up and paddling like a pro in no time.

Interested in learning more? REI provides a terrific overview of stand-up paddleboarding basics here, including necessary gear and techniques for getting started, along with instructional videos and helpful FAQ’s for beginners poised to take their maiden paddle voyage this season.

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