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Thinking of Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding? An empirical study responds positively.

SUP comprises a recreational activity which has recently attracted increasing interest among individuals worldwide. Although its origins can be traced back to thousands years in ancient cultures of Africa, modern SUP has appeared in the 50’s in Hawaii, where surf instructors such as Duke Kahanamoku and both Bobby and Leroy Ah Choy took paddles and stand on their boards in order to have a better view of the surfers in the water and incoming swells.

SUP is a physical activity which requires a standing position on a board (like a surfboard) and the use of a long paddle to propel each side of the body. As its fans agree, SUP is very beneficial for a range of muscles and therefore is considered to be an effective training tool. However, until now little empirical research has addressed the role that this activity plays in fostering positive individual outcomes.

A recent study by Schram, Hing, and Climstein published in BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation offers some interesting findings. More specifically, the researchers provided 13 individuals (both males and females) with a 6-week training program consisted of three one-hour sessions per week. To be included in the sample individuals should not have been participating in physical activity for the last 6 months and their age should be between 18 and 60 years. After the completion of this training period, researchers measured participants’ fitness, strength, and quality of life. The results showed that SUP training resulted in significant improvements on cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and psychological functioning.

The above findings support the anecdotal evidence regarding the positive effect of SUP on a range of individual outcomes. Therefore, if you are thinking of beginning the activity, GO for it! If you are already a fan, just keep SUPping…