What Are The Benefits of SUP Paddle Boarding If You Suffer From Arthritis or You Have Arthritic Joints?

 What Are The Benefits of SUP Paddle Boarding If You Suffer From Arthritis or You Have Arthritic Joints? 

Paddle boarding is a water sport activity involving a hollow board and a paddle to transport yourself across a body of water. Paddle boarding is a great weight bearing activity for people with arthritis or other rheumatic joint conditions.

In this article, we discuss the benefits of paddle boarding if you suffer from arthritis or arthritic joints.

The Impact of Arthritis on Daily Living

Arthritis and other rheumatic joint conditions are the leading cause of disability in America. Approximately 44% of activity restrictions are due to arthritis.

People with arthritis have mobility issues including joint pain, swelling, and joint damage. Usually the most common forms are knee, hip and shoulder arthritis. In some cases people suffer from low back or arthritis in the spine as well.

Arthritis, therefore, impacts a person’s ability to exercise and perform regular daily tasks.

The pain and discomfort of arthritis can lead to isolation and mental health issues, as well as physical problems.

People with arthritis can lose a sense of independence, but with regular activity you can continue to live a happy, fulfilling life even with this debilitating condition.

What Happens to Arthritic Joints If Early Intervention or Exercise Doesn’t Happen?

Symptoms of arthritis vary over time. They may stay the same or progressively get worse. Joint function, mobility, and quality of life can be preserved with the right interventions.

Getting to know your condition. Knowing your treatment options and getting regular physical exercise while maintaining a healthy weight is vital for keeping arthritic joints in the best possible condition.

If arthritis is not treated you may experience more frequent joint pain flair ups, rheumatoid nodules, increased inflammation, and joint damage.

How Does SUP Paddle Boarding Help Those with Arthritic Joints?

Benefits of SUP Paddle Boarding
Benefits of SUP Paddle Boarding

Exercise is essential for our physical and mental health but some types of exercise can be damaging to people with arthritic joints.

For people with arthritic joints low impact exercise, such as paddle boarding, is recommended as it places less stress on tender joints.

Paddle boarding can help reduce joint stiffness and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints in addition to strengthening bones.

Paddle boarding is a weight bearing activity, therefore, it doesn’t place excess force on the joints the same way other exercises such running does. Remaining buoyant reduces the risk of overuse and over-extension injuries.

What Are The Different Ways SUP Paddle Boarding Can Be Used to Exercise Your Joints?

Paddle boarding can be performed at various intensities. The most common forms of paddle boarding include:

  • Surfing: Riding a wave on a paddle board.
  • Racing:Paddling across a set distance in the fastest time possible.
  • Touring: Continuously paddling across a long distance.
  • Yoga: Postural movement and mindfulness practice on a paddle board.
  • Recreational:Paddling on calm waters at a moderately slow pace.

For people with arthritic joints, we recommend partaking in yoga and recreational paddle boarding, to begin with.

Paddle board yoga involves performing various postural exercises while balancing on a paddle board. Paddle board yoga can reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility, lower stress, reduce tension, and improve balance and coordination.

Recreational paddle boarding is low intensity and doesn’t focus on speed or duration.

Therefore, you can go at your own pace without feeling pressure to push yourself beyond your capabilities or comfort zone.

Can You Paddle Board Without Standing?

Benefits of SUP Paddle Boarding
Benefits of SUP Paddle Boarding

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to stand up while paddle boarding.

There are many ways to use a paddle board including paddling on your stomach, knees, or sitting in the kayak position. They are all great ways to use a paddle board if you are not yet comfortable with fully standing up.

You may wish to continue with one position or play around with a combination, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re having fun and staying safe and comfortable.

Best Recommendations For People With  Arthritis Wanting to Go Paddle Boarding?

 Like with any form of exercise it is recommended you speak with your doctor before taking part in paddle boarding.  Especially with arthritic joint conditions.

It is important you are made aware of what intensity and duration you can perform paddle boarding at given your own medical needs and circumstances.

Once cleared by your doctor/physician. Then you should be ready to get on the water. If you’re new to paddle boarding, or haven’t exercised very much with arthritis we recommend taking a couple of sessions with a qualified paddle boarding instructor first.

They will talk you through the basics of technique and safety as well as how to adapt your paddle boarding experience to suit your arthritic joint needs.

As mentioned previously, it is best to start on your stomach and slowly build yourself up. Additionally, you may wish to take part in a yoga paddle boarding class to gain additional physical and mental health benefits.

Not much equipment is needed for paddle boarding. Just a paddle and a board. However, you may wish to use some extra bits of equipment to maximize your safety and paddle boarding experience.

We recommend wearing a wet suit, especially for people with arthritis as it can double up as a compression garment, therefore reducing the stress placed on your joints.

Additionally, if you feel slightly worried about falling in the water. You might want to wear a buoyancy aid or personal flotation device. That way if you do fall in you have some assistance getting you back to safety.

Lastly, it is advisable you take a whistle out on the water with you. Therefore, if you do get into trouble and can’t make it back to safety you have something to call for help.

What is a Good Duration and Frequency to Go Paddle Boarding?

There is no limit on how long or how often you should paddle board for. However, do keep in mind medical advice, and pay attention to how you are feeling during the session.

Never surpass intensity or frequency advised by your doctor. If you experience pain before this you should stop immediately to prevent worsening your condition. Have fun with it but also be mindful.

Should I Warm Up and Cool Down Before and After I Go Paddle Boarding ?

Dynamic Stretching Exercises for Stand Up Paddle Boarders

A proper warm up and cool down is always advised when taking part in physical activity. It is particularly important if you suffer from arthritis because it can help get your joints ready for exercise.

Give the following circuits a go before and after your paddle boarding sessions:

Warm Up: 30 seconds work / 30 seconds rest x 3 rounds

  • Arm Circles
  • Hip Circles
  • Leg Swings

Cool Down: 30 seconds work / 30 seconds rest x 3 rounds

  • Arm Crossover Hold
  • Pigeon Stretch
  • Toe Touch Stretch

Summary To Benefits of SUP Paddle Boarding If You Suffer From Arthritis or Have Arthritic Joints

Paddle boarding can be a fun experience even while having joint arthritis. Always remember to use the recommended advice of your doctor and to stay active in low weight bearing activities like stand up paddle boarding.

1 thought on “What Are The Benefits of SUP Paddle Boarding If You Suffer From Arthritis or You Have Arthritic Joints?”

  1. I have severe arthritis in my hands, especially at the base of my thumbs. Paddling can really become painful. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you


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