What Are the Mental Health Benefits of SUP?

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. | Photo: Matt Zhou Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. | Photo: Matt Zhou

Year after year, Google Trends as well as the SUPIA (Standup Paddle Industry Association) continues to report an increase in the participation rates in stand up paddleboarding. From first-timers taking a class while on vacation, to long-time enthusiasts, it is easy to see the attraction to the activity. SUPing can be fun, relaxing, and an amazing way to stay in shape.

Another major reason that so many individuals are beginning to show an interest in the sport is due to its mental health benefits. Because of the unique nature of SUP, participants stand to gain benefits from it that are not offered by many other forms of exercise. Learn more about a few of the proven mental health benefits that one can experience from SUP.

Melts away daily stress

In a 2017 Gallup poll, nearly 80% of American adults reported feeling stressed sometimes or frequently during their day. This figure should come as no surprise, as busy schedules and the fast pace of life show no signs of slowing down. For those looking to reduce the negative effects of stress, SUP is an effective solution. Studies have shown that exercising in nature is an effective way to reduce overall stress levels. Also, many individuals practice basic and advanced meditation while SUPing, which further enhances the activity’s stress relieving properties.

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Photos Courtesy: Aubrey Renee

Reduces anxiety and depression

The latest data shows that approximately “300 million people suffer from depression worldwide.” Additionally, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from at least one anxiety disorder. Although traditional methods of exercise are beneficial in reducing anxiety and depression, SUP takes these benefits a step further. Scientific studies have shown that simply being near bodies of water can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This finding, combined with the obvious benefits of exercise, make it an excellent choice for anyone who suffers from either of these conditions.

Enhances concentration and focus

More often than not, SUP takes place when the weather is warm and sunny. Sun exposure is one of the best sources of vitamin D, which is a necessary nutrient for many functions in the body. One of the important functions of vitamin D is its ability to enhance concentration and reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. Individuals looking to enhance their overall focus and concentration can use SUP as a method of achieving this goal.

sup pictures flux photos 5Paddleboarding just about always can put a smile on your face. | Photo: Flux Photography

The benefits of SUPing go far beyond the obvious fun and physical results it provides. For those who are looking to improve their overall mental health, SUP is a wonderful form of exercise.

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Last modified onFriday, 26 February 2021 11:12
Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer Dawson is an experience freelance writer who specializes in food and nutrition. Working in fitness marketing previously gave her a good feel for the industry and since going freelance she has been able to explore her preferred topic areas such as diet, nutrition and food. Outside of work, Jen enjoys traveling, swimming and spending time with her young family.