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March 14, 2022 5 min read

SUP Therapy

Man fishing on a manta inflatable paddle board

Our bodies can only take so much, and sometimes we need to take a break, fully unwind, destress, and reconnect with ourselves. 

Finding a healthy outlet for our stress and anxiety is vital in our overall physical and mental well-being.

So, you’re probably wondering, what has paddle boarding got to do with it? Well, a paddle board has a lot more benefits than just a fun recreational activity to do on the weekends.

We’ve broken down 7 therapeutic and fun ways to use your paddle board and release all of your unwanted and built-up negative energy. 

Fishing

Fishing may not be to everyone's taste, but casting your reel from your paddle board is a terrific way to unwind after a long working week. 

SUP fishing can be more beneficial than fishing in a traditional boat or from the water’s edge because you have the ability to creep up on fish in the most remote and out-of-reach locations. 

Fishing requires a lot of focus and your mind is quickly taken off everything that was causing you stress. When you’re out on the water, you’re concentrating on your surroundings and your potential catch, so you can say goodbye to all your negative feelings, and hello to a freshly caught dinner. 

Cortisol levels (the stress hormone) are significantly lowered when fishing and you’ll return from your day on the lake or river relaxed and clear-headed. 

If you’re new to SUP fishing and you don’t even know where to begin, we’ve covered an easy step-by-step guide for beginners to help you get out on the water and catch fish in no time! 

Paddle With a Friend

Man and a woman paddle boarding on a manta board

Socializing with friends has amazing benefits when it comes to stress (only if the people you are surrounded by aren’t the ones causing it, that is).

Being social helps decrease the chances of becoming depressed and reduces feelings of loneliness. If you’re going through a stressful time, having someone to vent to about your problems can also feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. 

If you have a competitive streak in you, paddling with a friend can push you to paddle faster and longer, boosting serotonin and leaving you feeling happy and refreshed. 

Paddle With a Dog

It’s no secret that dogs make our hearts happy and if your dog is a water-loving pooch, taking them out on your board is a great way to connect and spend some quality time with them, relaxing in nature. 

Did you know that interacting with dogs produces oxytocin in our brains and helps us reduce stress and anxiety? There’s more to dogs than just a cute face. 

Most paddle boards are dog friendly and your dog will be completely safe standing or sitting at the nose of your board, but if you want some further peace of mind, the GILI Dog Life Jacket will have your furry friend not only looking the part, but also safe if they decide to jump (or fall) in the water. 

Yoga

Man and a woman doing a yoga pose

Yoga is one of the most relaxing forms of exercise that calms your mind and puts you in tune with your body. 

Practicing yoga on a SUP requires even more balance and control than it does on land,  ultimately making sure your focus is more on your body and less on what's going on in your head. 

As yoga revolves around mindfulness and creating a calm and clear headspace, practicing these tools out on the water will not only benefit you while performing yoga moves on your SUP, but will also benefit you in your day-to-day life. 

The great outdoors can also play a huge role in our overall mood. It is proven that being surrounded by nature and fresh air reduces stress and anger, while also contributing to our overall physical well-being. 

For more SUP yoga benefits and ways you can start on your SUP yoga journey, check out our SUP Yoga blog articles. 

Meditation

Meditation is a fantastic mental health tool that can help you put a new perspective on stressful situations and reduce negative emotions. 

Practicing meditation on a paddle board has great psychological effects due to the surrounding nature and tranquil environment of the water. 

To truly clear your mind of negative thoughts, you need peace and quiet with little to no distractions, and there is no better place to do that than on a paddle board in the middle of a quiet lake or river.

Exercise

Man and a woman paddle boarding

Did you know that stand up paddle boarding isn’t just a fun activity, but it is also an incredible form of exercise? 

Exercise and fitness as a whole can help you relax, lower depressive symptoms, and release endorphins which trigger positive feelings in your body. 

For those that don’t enjoy high-impact exercise like running or playing sports, stand up paddle boarding is a form of low-impact strength training that builds muscle in your arms, legs, knees, and core, while also helping you lose weight. 

Paddle boarding can also aid in your physical therapy and recovery. SUP training improves core strength, cardiovascular strength, rehabilitates injuries, and provides a full-body workout at the same time.  

For more about the incredible health benefits paddle boarding can bring you, check out our article The Health Benefits of Paddle Boarding.

Evening and Morning Paddles

One of the great things about stand up paddle boarding is that you can take your board out and explore different waterways at any point of the day.

A morning paddle will start your day off the right way, with a clear mind and refreshed soul. Paddling in the evening, however, will help you debunk the thoughts in your head and process the events of your day. 

Stand up paddle boarding in the early morning and evening also gives you a great chance of catching a sunset or sunrise, which are known to improve our overall moods. 

FAQ’S

🏆 What Is SUP therapy?

SUP therapy is the use of paddling on a paddle board to help manage stress, anxiety, and unpleasant emotions. 

Activities like SUP yoga, meditation, and fishing can all contribute to improving your mood and mental health. 


👍 What can you do with a SUP?

SUP boards are extremely versatile and can be used for a wide range of activities. Some of our favorite things to do on a SUP include fishing, yoga, and racing. 

We’ve also covered 14 things you can do on a SUP to help you get the most out of your paddle board. 


🏝️ What are the benefits of paddle boarding?

Stand up paddle boarding is a great tool for both your physical and mental well-being. 

Not only does it help you relax and unwind, but it is also an amazing low-impact sport that will get you on your feet and help exercise your upper and lower body. 

Additionally, paddling gets you outdoors enjoying the sun and fresh air, which both have useful links to an elevated mood, improved blood pressure, and lower stress levels. 


❓ How do you practice SUP?

Stand up paddle boarding is easy to get the hang of and people of all ages can have fun out on the water. 

Here are some useful tips for first-timers: 

  • Start off on your knees, just behind the carry handle in the center of your board. 
  • To begin with, practice in shallow water.
  • Eventually, when you want to stand up, slowly rise to your feet, keeping your weight balanced between each foot. 
  • Hold one hand on the top of the paddle and the other on the shaft of the paddle. 
  • Make sure your paddle is facing forward. 
  • Paddle slowly until you build up the confidence to paddle faster. 
  • Falling in is inevitable, so embrace it!
Megan Bryant
Megan Bryant

Based in Bali, her favorite SUP spot is the GILI Islands themselves. Travel is another passion of hers - she dreams to see the entire world one day.


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