The physiological, musculoskeletal and psychological effects of stand up paddle boarding

BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2016 Oct 10;8:32. doi: 10.1186/s13102-016-0057-6. eCollection 2016.


Background: Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a rapidly growing sport and recreational activity where anecdotal evidence exists for its proposed health, fitness and injury rehabilitation benefits. While limited scientific evidence exists to substantiate these claims, previous studies have shown that high levels of fitness, strength and balance exists amongst participants of this sport. The purpose of this study was to conduct a training intervention on a group of previously untrained individuals to ascertain the potential of SUP on various health parameters.

Methods: An intervention study was conducted where after being tested initially, subjects were left for 6 weeks to act as their own control before the SUP intervention began. A total of 13 SUP participants completed the training study (nine males, four females) which was comprised of three 1 h sessions per week for 6 weeks.

Results: No significant changes occurred during the initial control period. Significant (P < 0.05) improvements were made in aerobic (+23.57 %) and anaerobic fitness (+41.98 %), multidirectional core strength tests (prone +19.78 %, right side +26.19 %, left side +28.31 %, Biering Sorensen +21.33 %) and self-rated quality of life questionnaires in the physical (+19.99 %) and psychological (+17.49 %) domains. No significant changes were detected in static or dynamic balance over the duration of the training intervention.

Conclusion: These results demonstrate the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and psychological improvements achievable for the novice when utilizing SUP as a training tool. The result from this study provides some evidence to substantiate the claims of health and fitness benefits SUP.

Keywords: Aquatic; Paddle boarding; SUP; Training intervention; Water sports.