Have you been wondering what the best sport is to improve both your physical and mental health? While there are many options, SUP yoga is one of the best. It really is as simple as it sounds – a cross between the ever more popular stand up paddle boarding and the ancient exercise ritual of yoga. While this water sport can seem intimidating at first, with regular practice and commitment, you’ll start to notice the benefits of this tranquil workout.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most important health benefits of SUP yoga. If you weren’t already convinced this is the right sport for you, you will be after reading this list!
SUP yoga improves balance, flexibility, and strength
The first health benefit of SUP yoga you will notice in both of these sports on their own. First of all – stand up paddle boarding. This requires a great deal of balance to remain upright on your board for long periods of time. In a typical SUP session, your everything from your toes to your shoulders will be engaged. The back muscles supporting the spine and core are especially active, improving your balance and posture.
Then, we have yoga. While yoga also works on your balance, another key benefit is flexibility. You’ll be engaging muscles that have long lain dormant, many of which are necessary for mastering a range of yoga poses (some of which are different from land yoga). Regular practice of the combination of these two workouts will quickly see an improvement in your balance, flexibility and overall strength.
You may even start to develop abs of steel!
SUP yoga can help you to lose weight
When choosing a new workout, it’s not always about finding something that will enhance muscle tone and improve balance and flexibility. Sometimes it can be as simple as finding a way to lose a little bit of weight. Thankfully, SUP yoga can help with that too.
In a regular paddle boarding session, you’ll burn somewhere between 300 – 450 calories per hour. This is about double what you would when walking at an average speed. SUP yoga can burn more calories than both of those – coming in at around 500 per session.
While it may not be as strenuous as surf SUP or SUP touring, there are few gentler ways to burn such a large amount of calories.
Increases circulation and promotes good heart health
Muscles and weight loss are huge benefits of SUP yoga, but we haven’t quite finished with the physical benefits you get just yet. While yogic breathing is most often linked with reducing stress, it also increases blood flow through your body.
An increase in blood circulation is a boost for your cardiovascular system, and regular practice has huge long term benefits too. You’ll be fighting back the risk of high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, and other organ damage later in life.
SUP yoga reduces stress
One of the biggest reasons to try either SUP or yoga is to reduce stress. Regarding yoga, only paying attention to your breath and body movements leaves you completely in the present moment, meaning that there’s no room in your head to worry about the stresses of your day to day life.
With both of these sports being gentle workouts, the therapeutic effect of floating on water can also have a calming sensation on you, promoting mindfulness and slowing down just enough to enjoy the exercise. In summer, SUP yoga is also a much better alternative to a sticky and sweaty yoga studio.
Another way that SUP yoga engages the brain is by being a physical and mental challenge. While you may think that switching off is key to relaxation, that’s not always the case. SUP yoga requires concentration to maintain your balance while performing yoga poses on a floating board. This, in turn, releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin which will leave you feeling great afterwards!
Being outdoors is good for you
Again, a point that ties into what has come before. Being in the great outdoors has been proven by several different research papers to be good for your health. The calming effects of nature can take you to a different world from work deadlines or any family problems that you may have.
It’s said that the calming effect of water can be felt even by looking at an ocean view, so just imagine how much being on the water itself will do to boost your mental health.
While yoga indoors is undoubtedly better than no yoga at all, no studio can compare to the backdrop of mountains, forests, or the ocean.
Take some time to yourself to enjoy a workout in nature – your body and mind will thank you for it, both in the short and long term.