Why Paddle Boarding is great for athletes Hands all athletes who wish to enjoy their particular sport as long as you can!
Yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking. I’m with you. I’m with you. Why would we not want to practise and enjoy as much as possible the sport we love? It makes perfect sense. But it’s not necessary often, most of the time due to wounds. That’s a pity. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) and SUP Yoga can change the game regardless of what type of sport we love and live for.
SUP is renowned for being excellent in rising equilibrium. It’s evident. It’s evident. We hear the word paddle board or surf and we think of surfboards that rock and paddle. It sounds good and great, we think, but out of our league. We don’t see how it makes any sense to add inflatable paddle board to our training plan as football or tennis players, cyclists or triathlon athletes. We must think again. We must think.
First of all, waves must not be used in SUP. Inflatable paddle boards can be achieved in the pool, or on a calm and flat ocean day. Secondly, SUP is highly open and useful for all sports athletes. It gives us so many advantages – all at once. All we have to do is try and see for ourselves.
SUP offers many different types, such as cycling, riding waves, adventure sailing, practise yoga or a riverside helmet. I recommend flat water paddling with some SUP yoga postures when it comes to using SUP as a cross training for athletes. The reason lies here: you don’t want to put yourself at risk of injury. The reason why you take SUP is to increase your sport longevity. It’s important to keep it easy. However, simple does not automatically mean free.
So, why should you add SUP to your athletic programme?
This is all reasons why SUP and SUP yoga are perfect for all athletes:
I can’t think of any athlete who won’t have a strong balance. Raised on a wrestling mat and growing into a competitive wrestler for the Swedish women’s national team, I know the importance of good balance for the fighters. You need it. You need it. Today I am a different competitor and I spend time overcoming my challenges on ultramarathon trails and riding my SUP board by the sea. Different sports – but they still need a good balance. It is easier with a good balance to get thrown off your feet as a wrestler and get back on your feet again. Trails require good balance to jump over roots and rocks, avoiding facial plants. Okay … it’s evident while surfing. The waves humble you. Balance is key. Balance is key.
I can think about any sport – balance can make us better athletes. The addition of SUP to our training schedule would only help us balance by putting our feet on the ground. That’s it! That’s it! It can look easy, but it takes us to stay on the board. Like, very focused. A ability required for all sports too, okay? The psychological focus makes all the difference. And while we concentrate on remaining on track, working and growing our coordination skills, there’s something else. Ownership. Ownership.
Various mechanisms in our bodies lead to our equilibrium. Each of them is proprioception. A large-scale device that generates a massive amount of data without us realising that. It’s like a sixth sense. Sixth sense. A sense of movement and location created in our fascia by sensory receptors, i.e. ligaments, bones and myofascia. It monitors the orientation of our parts of the body towards our environment and informs our central nervous system about what is taking place in our muscles.
We couldn’t stand up without proprioception. And I’m not thinking about standing up paddling. I say, standing up, literally. (Something that is surprisingly complex, actually). It’s like understanding and sensing the position of our body. Like the wrestling part where our feet are thrown. To get back and know exactly where our body is in space is a must if we don’t want to lose the struggle. Or a trampoline on which we hop up and down and fall again. We can feel dizzy and confused, not controlling our body, but quickly regaining our sense of control. I am sure you know the sensation of walking or running, that the ground / path shifts under your feet – and that you are about to fall. If you do not relate to either of these stuff. Your fascia starts and responds before you are aware of the nervous system. Your fascia is an excellent communication device that carries information faster than your nerves.
In our daily lives, we always experience external forces which disturb our balance, but we do not think about it because our organisms manage it automatically. We can not sense proprioception. Proprioception. It’s like telling fish what kind of water it feels. We can’t know what and how – until it’s gone. We continue to search for solutions.
Increase our balance with a specific balance exercise, such as SUP, in combination with muscles and fascia to ensure that sensory receptors function properly is beneficial for athletes (and everyone else). And SUP Yoga will shine here!
Yoga on a SUP board can seem difficult. But again, the key is simple. We don’t speak of advanced poses such as upside down. That’s not part of a SUP board. We talk fast, simple poses that surprise us over the long run – one step further in our balance training. SUP yoga lets us slow down. If we don’t – sprinkle! I think that we will all know how to slow down. It’s a procedure and just like any other kind of preparation it takes. The lessons we can learn from stillness and subtle training can make physical and mental wonderful things and contribute to our performance in our sport. Yoga is known for benefits such as injury prevention, awareness of body, awareness of breath, presence and improved recovery.
SUP yoga works best if we keep it simple. Then we can feel the difference from training on a set yoga mat and we know at once why the yoga on a SUP board is superb.
Athletes are well known for their strength. However, versatility can also be ignored. This has been covered by yoga. Many sports mean that we move in different directions. Get up quickly if we fall or move on as fast as we can, and keep track of our environment and possibly catch a ball. With greater mobility around our joints all these motions will be enhanced. Stiff joints increase the risk of injury and hinder our movement. Yoga doesn’t mean that we must be perfect at it. There is no competition in yoga. If we do it well, we don’t receive applause from others. How well yoga is done is measured by how we feel when we practise – and after – in our bodies. It’s a good thing when we come out of our yoga practise to feel more relaxed and healthy. What the trick does for us – depends on our bodies.
Only raising one leg and the opposite arm in our hands and knees on the board will add balance and set our deep inner muscles on fire. We will increase our balance and strength with a plank pose and other good poses. We may also exercise rest positions that are ideal for our SUP frame, such as Sleeping Swan, to stretch our IT bands and gluteal muscles, and to improve mobility around our hip joints. The hips and legs of the athlete are very busy areas – we need yoga!
Many sports are asymmetric, that means that we work more on one side of the body than on the other. A few of them are tennis, golf, soccer, surfing, snowboarding. We have a dominant side that does much of the work, and this can lead to other imbalances in our bodies. SUP even out our strength – and we don’t have a weaker side!
Paddling on a SUP board works for our strength of the upper body and for our stomach and back. By learning and using good technology, we primarily use our heart when paddling. As after a few strokes we need to adjust the side of the paddle, we work the same on both sides of our body.
I saw ultra-runner elite getting their SUP and SUP yoga on and show their social media skills (or lack of them). They have – SUP will help them to get the best version in their running, by changing their training and building new muscles to make upper body strength in the pathways and mountains useful.
I wish I had been a wrestler to do more of my outside athletic training. I didn’t know how amazing it felt to train outside and all the benefits. Mother nature is beautiful and offers so many places to enhance our fitness at no cost. Yeah, a SUP board comes at a cost, but it works for several years if we choose a very good one. The outdoor climate decreases stress hormones and depression and adds salt water to the equation is little more than performance. Being close, on or under water has so many benefits that every competitor becomes a better sportsman.
It might feel exhausting and overwhelming by adding something new to your sporting programme. You have a well-functioning programme for you, so why change it?
Change is good. Progress is good. Change is inevitable. Improvement is important. Change is a life part. Stirring things up sometimes may not be something I would be supported by all professional coaches. But I would say it’s good for improvement.
Athletes are frequently overused repeatedly. In a certain way, we move our body over and over, so that our particular sport allows us to move. This can lead to inflammation and choked muscles. It takes one muscle, one part of the body, and the rest of the body is thrown away – hey, imbalances! When we avoid using our muscles excessively – add some adjustment – blood flow will come back and make room for good stuff. (This is a must for a fascia system well-hydrated).
It doesn’t mean that bringing anything different to our preparation is forever. SUP is a year-round sport for us who have mainly made SUP our sport. But for most people, SUP means a few months in the summer or on a journey to warmer weather. So it can have any SUP on our summer training schedule or why not during the off season and for a family holiday? Bring your children on your SUP and have fun with the whole family.
I once worked with a athlete, disabled and unable to run as he wanted and was used to. He came for SUP lessons because he saw a chance to practise without hurting his legs, which troubled him with injury. He paddled for his preparation, and something eventually gave him more core muscles than before – to get him into swimming.
Injuries can be challenging, both physically and psychologically. We are kept away from the sport that we love. And let’s be honest, sucks rehab. Adding anything that still feels like recovery will improve our mood and fitness greatly. We can still practise SUP Yoga if we suffer from shoulder injuries and paddling does not work.
Pleasant Let’s be honest, we can sometimes be challenging for ourselves as athletes. In the days when I was an elite athlete, I remember training wasn’t always fun, but had to be done. It is only helpful to add some fun to the equation. Even Olympic athletes need to have fun holding their stock.
Going out on the lake or on the ocean can bring some fun to our busy training programmes. I have the privilege to be out there anytime I want it, because this is part of my work, and it’s always enjoyable. Once I can’t remember that I didn’t enjoy myself on water – freezing winter, cold water surfing and burning sun and SUP yoga.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
We can mix the paddling and yoga that suits us anyway. Here’s an example of how often in my home lake in Sweden I train and practise SUP and SUP yoga.
Paddling for 35 minutes. Boat anchor: 20 minutes of meditation. Get on my feet and paddle for 35 minutes. Now I have a 90 minute SUP session with balance, strength, mobility, consciousness, presence and fresh air.
So make yourself a long-term success with SUP paddling and SUP yoga included in your athletic programme.
Check our wholesale paddle boards deals available for SUP athletes or contact us for a sponsorship 😉