This post is a sad salute to the end of summer. I am sorry to see it go. All summer I had been doing some mild paddle boarding, mostly for fun, mostly in a group setting. I finally decided last week to do it intensely as a real workout. I spent 4 hours paddle boarding in 4 different bodies of water. As you all already know, most of my workouts are quick and to the point, so this one is off to a bad start by requiring 4 hours. But its pretty fun so I let that part slide. However, nothing too good ever came of it. I unfortunately have to report, that paddle boarding is simply not a great workout.
Don't get me wrong, it is a bit tiring and it is a workout. It's much like kayaking - if you paddle fast enough and long enough you will wear yourself out. But does it burn any fat or build any muscles? I am skeptical. The paddle boarding enthusiasts have been trying to convince me that it is a phenomenal full-body workout. I just don't see it. It is a great way to spend time on the water and get a bit of exercise while having fun, but a full-body workout it is not.
I first started in a quiet bay with few waves. I paddled along the coast and back for a full 1 hour. My arms were fairly tired afterward, but mostly I was a bit bored. Without waves, it is nearly impossible to fall off and I didn't feel like I had pushed myself hard enough. Next I did an hour on a pond and then an hour in a lake. These experiences were more of the same.
Lastly, I took my paddle out into the unprotected waves of the Atlantic Ocean. This was by far the best workout and by far the most fun. I should have just tried this for 4 hours. The waves forced me to engage my legs for balance. My quads were burning fairly shortly. I actually fell in twice as well which made the whole workout more exciting. Unfortunately I still didn't feel a great burn in my abs or core.
Bottom line, if you want to have some fun, spend some time on the water, and get a decent workout. Paddle board in the ocean. Engage your legs and core as best you can for balance while scooting yourself along with the paddle. I don't think anyone will be getting ripped from this workout though. I was not even the slightest bit sore the next day.