For a low-impact but full-body workout, try standup paddleboarding (SUP , for short). All you need is a board, a paddle and, preferably, smooth water. Once you stand up on the board—the hardest part—use the paddle to propel yourself forward as you soak up the sun and major health benefits.
1) It's a cardio workout.
With the proper technique, you could torch up to 800 calories per hour (depending on your weight), says Brody Welte, owner of PaddleFit, an SUP training and coaching certification company. To prevent injury, take a lesson from a qualified coach.
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2) You'll do more for your core.
SUP is all about contracting your core muscles to stay steady on the board. Each time you pull the paddle through the water, you’re essentially doing a crunch, says Eric Disque, a SUP instructor and owner of OEX Point Loma, in San Diego. Bonus: You'll improve your balance and posture, too.
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3) You'll unwind.
“It’s my experience that paddleboarding is similar to yoga, in that you’ll feel more refreshed after a workout,” says Disque. You're on the water, in the sun and focusing on the task at hand—and enjoying it all!
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4) You're not just standing there.
Your leg muscles—from your hips to your toes—will be engaged to keep you balanced. You bend your knees as you move forward and push up with your thighs when you move backward. “Each stroke is like a mini squat,” says Terry Brinton, an SUP instructor with Idaho-based Row Adventure Center.
5) It's for everyone.
One of the beauties of SUP: People of all sizes and ages take lessons. Enjoy a solo ride, go as a couple (on a tandem board!) or make it a party with friends. Another sweet possibility: sunrise or sunset rides.