I enjoy going to the gym.
Or maybe really, what I enjoy are the effects of going to the gym. A regular exercise program provides me with an improved mood and a better body composition. It is a very necessary part of my life to maintain the health of my body and mind. I would trade a day at the gym however for glassy day out on my SUP any day of the week
Here are ten reasons why a day on the SUP beats a day at the gym
1. It doesn't smell like sweat when I am out on the water. It smells of brine, or if you are an inland paddler it smells of a fresh spring. It certainly doesn't smell like the mix of cologne and sweat that guy just smeared all over the treadmill that you were going to use.
2. Paddling combines cardio with resistance training to produce superior fitness results. This is the secret to training methods like the massively popular Crossfit. Doing resistance exercise under aerobic stress taxes two different systems in the body. This leads to increased strength gains and much superior fat burning abilities than just cardio on it's own.
3. Paddling is a true total body workout. Paddling is by definition functional fitness. Functional fitness, total body exercise: these are buzzwords of the latest fitness craze and the holy grail that they are trying to achieve. Propelling yourself across a body of water while standing atop a floating object relies on the muscles from the bottoms of your feet all the way up to the base of your skull, all at once, without you even trying. Riding the stationary bike....not so much.
4. Stand up paddling targets those hard to reach areas. Abs, Buns, Thighs, Calves: These are the areas that everyone tries to work-out in the gym, often with little success. A person who has never tried stand up paddling would think that it is primarily an upper body workout. Someone who is proficient in the correct form of stand up paddling will tell you otherwise. A good SUP session will leave you sore as heck in all those "problem areas" that sit-ups and a thigh master just cannot take care of.
5. Spending time in nature is good for you. When you are out on the water you are unplugged away from your electronics, sipping fresh oxygen, getting sunlight on your face, your mind is clearing with every stroke you take. The gym has house music and fluorescent lights.
6. Paddling is easy on the joints. Weight lifting, resistance training, and aerobic cardio all take their toll on the joints. The pounding motions can wear down the cartilage in the knees, elbows, shoulders and low back especially. Make no mistake, stand up paddling, when performed with poor form could potentially injure the joints particularly the back and shoulders. However the risk from repeated pounding motions or the risk of heavy weights causing injury is minimized, while exercising on a SUP. It is best to seek out help from a professional to learn proper form and always be sure to maintain proper paddling form to prevent injuries.
7. Paddling is cheaper than Crossfit! I keep picking on Crossfit, but it really is all the rage in fitness nowadays. Just ask a Crossfitter, they will tell you all about it. Do you know the cost of a typical Crossfit gym? anywhere from 200 to 300 dollars a month! A years membership can range from 2,000 to 3,500 dollars. You can get into an entry level SUP with a paddle for less than a years membership. Once that initial investment is made there are miles of beautiful and free water to explore and tour.