Exercise is incredibly important to keep you healthy and well as you get older. Stand up paddleboarding may well be one of the very best activities you can do. It’s low impact, yet it gives you an all-body workout, it’s incredibly good for improving your balance – and it’s much easier than you think! If you can stand up, then you can stand up paddleboard. And your body will thank you for it.
Because stand up paddleboarding is such a valuable and relevant activity for over 65s, we’re offering a special deal for Gold Card holders. Our course of three sessions, which will gently introduce you to the activity, get you paddling and equip you with all the safety skills and knowledge that you need, for a whopping 33% off. After this course you would be able to get your own equipment and paddle whenever you like (and there’s always somewhere sheltered and safe to go paddling around the Bay of Islands, pretty much at any time of the year), or of course you can continue paddling with us.
Paddleboarding is also extremely sociable – once you’ve learned how to do it you can come along and meet other like-minded souls and enjoy a gentle cruise in company on the Kerikeri inlet every Thursday evening as part of our Kororipo Paddlers club.
No, you’re really not. We have had clients in their 80s, and there are plenty of extremely fast paddlers in their 60s and 70s still competing at national events!
If you can stand up, then you can stand-up paddleboard. We start you off on super stable boards that will make the learning process easy and enjoyable. It’s a lot like riding a bike. First time, it will feel pretty wobbly, but once your brain actually accepts that you can do it, then all of a sudden you’ll realise that you’re enjoying your surroundings, enjoying being on the water, and not even thinking about wobbling.
We hear this all the time. Yet just 45 minutes later, that person is cheerfully standing up and paddling…
We’re not saying that you don’t have terrible balance. To be honest, most people in their middle ages have let their balance skills deteriorate. The problem is that as we get older, we tend to challenge our balance skills less and less – and as a consequence, our brain and body ‘forgets’ how to balance (not helped by the natural loss of muscle mass and strength as the body ages).
However, the good news is that you can improve and regain your balance whatever your age, and paddleboarding is a brilliant way of doing it. Balance is a really interesting aspect of fitness because it’s all mental. Unlike working on strength, stamina, suppleness, etc, you don’t need to build up muscles or strengthen tendons or anything like that; to improve your balance – you just need to train your brain. Balance is all about the brain knowing which muscles to fire at the right moment and how much to fire them (and of course, which muscles to relax, because muscles usually work in opposition) This learning only comes with practice. And paddleboarding is phenomenally good balance practice! If you told your physiotherapist that you’d spent two hours standing on a wobble board yesterday, they’d be well impressed. But that is what is happening every time you go paddleboarding. Every little wobble or movement underfoot helps teach your brain. And the narrower the board, the greater the wobble factor that your brain is having to deal with.
So if nothing else, this is a really big reason for getting into stand up paddleboarding. ACC and the Health Service spend millions every year dealing with the consequences of poor balance in the over-65s. You will greatly reduce your chances of becoming a statistic.
While it’s not muscle-conditioning with weights as you might do at the gym, a paddleboarding session puts a whole lot of muscles under load – and any resistance/load above and beyond what you normally experience is beneficial. It’s not just the paddling, it’s the whole experience – carrying the board down to the water, lifting it off the roof rack, etc etc. If you’re already a fit healthy specimen then you may scoff at this, but if you’re coming into SUP from a relatively sedentary existence then the session will be challenging all the main torso muscle groups in a very desirable way. And if you are prepared to push just a little harder, the benefits are that much greater still.
Research has shown that exercising into your later years can reduce the onset of dementia along with many of the serious later-life illnesses, cancers etc. Not just one or two obscure studies, we’re talking multiple major studies. The only disagreement between them is the exact statistics, but they all have the same overall message – exercise is good for you.
But it’s not just good for your body, it’s good for your head too. Nothing beats being on the water, and you’re in a low-stress environment, no traffic, no jarring from pavement-pounding, just lots of ozone and scenery to admire.
Plus, there is a meditative quality to paddleboarding; the rhythmic, repetitive nature of the paddling action allows the mind to turn inwards. It can be great for deep thinking, but likewise, it can allow you to empty the mind and just lose yourself in the process.
Again, you’ve come to the right place.If you want to burn calories then SUP is one of the very best ways to do it, indeed possibly the very best. Being an all body exercise, it burns lots of calories – many more than going for a brisk walk. And once you’ve got the hang of it you can easily go for an hour or more. Do that 3-4 times a week and you’ll soon start feeling the benefits!
You should probably check with your GP first. But you will probably find that paddleboarding will help. Non-specific back pain is an incredibly common complaint these days in the modern world – people are sitting down far more than the body was ever really designed for, resulting in weakened backs. The under-used muscles give less support to the skeletal frame, and those little niggles and pains set in. Whereas the paddleboarding motion gently activates and engages those muscles, and the human body does seem to respond well to rhythmic repetitive motions. Muscles like to be used! And it doesn’t seem to take a lot, to make those niggles and aches go away. We regularly encounter people reporting huge improvements in literally just a few weeks.
We are most certainly not claiming that SUP will be a cure for a slipped disc or any sort of serious spinal injury. However,
we do regularly find that people who have niggles and minor issues with their back tend to find paddleboarding extremely beneficial. In the 15 years that we have been teaching SUP, we have encountered this so many times, as has pretty much every other SUP instructor we have discussed it with. Indeed plenty of GPs, physios, chiropractors, and osteopaths are in full agreement and recommend SUP for their patients.