Fitness: 5 Reasons to Try Stand Up Paddleboarding this Summer

Take advantage of the final days of summer with a stand up paddleboarding workout.


This sport is accurately named: participants stand on a foam board and use a paddle to move through the water.

Curiosity prompted me to step out of my fitness comfort zone and buy an online coupon for a beginner's "SUP" class with my husband and some amigos. Although I've been a dancer all of my life, balance has never been one of my strengths. I couldn't help but worry before trying it--would I even be able to stand up? Would I fall into Washington, DC's Potomac river? (Thankfully, ¡sí  y no!)

Stand up paddling was surprisingly easy to pick up. An instructor showed our class of 10 how to get on the board from the dock and paddle from a kneeling position. We regrouped 30 yards out and learned to stand up by supporting ourselves with our hands then replacing each knee with a foot until we were up and rowing.

After learning to navigate with our oars, the real challenge began. Our instructor modeled how to maintain balance without the paddle and encouraged us to try our favorite yoga and body-weight fitness moves. I was proud to get in squats, push-ups, and a few vinyasas without losing my balance.


5 Reasons to Try Stand Up Paddleboarding

  1. Get a hard-core workout: Simply maintaining balance on the board works your abs and obliques. Even my fitness-fanatic esposo who initially reported it was "almost too easy" was sore the next day!
  2. Step out of your comfort zone: I was proud of myself for staying calm and never toppling overboard. Challenges keep your workouts interesting and give you an uplifting sense of accomplishment.
  3. Spend time in nature: Working out on the river as the sun set made it easy to enjoy the moment. Being outdoors is a natural mood-booster as I explain in Fitness: 3 Reasons to Exercise Outside. Don't forget to wear sunscreen!
  4. Keep your summer workout cool: Planning workouts in the agua keeps me committed to my fitness routine even when it's hot.
  5. It’s a great group activity: Take a class with amigas or rent boards and catch up as you glide over the water. Shared experiences are a great way to strengthen your relationships as well as your muscles.

Ready to get started? Many boathouses offer hourly board rentals and a variety of board-based fitness classes. I am excited to go back this weekend for a SUP yoga class!

Not many water fitness options in your area? Plan paddleboarding into your next vacation to the lake, river, or ocean to stay active while traveling, as I suggest in July 4th/Holiday Fitness: 3 Ways to Stay Active This Summer.

The best way to stay in shape is to exercise regularly, but that doesn't mean doing the same thing over and over again. I stay motivated to work out by experimenting with new fitness activities. Stand up paddleboarding is a perfect end-of-summer adventure that will leave you looking and feeling great.

¿Need workout inspiration? Click here to read more of my fitness suggestions.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner Fierro

A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What fitness adventures have your tried this summer?