Stand up and paddle for a stronger core
STAND-UP paddle-boarding (SUP) is a fast-growing water sport that fitness experts said delivers a full-body workout to anyone exercising on an ocean, lake or river.
In the United States, 1.2 million people tried SUP in 2011, up 18 per cent from 2010, according to the Outdoor Industry Association's report last year.
SUP is said to have started when surfing instructors in Hawaii stood up on their boards to photograph their clients. It involves standing on a long board and using a single paddle to propel through the water.
"It's accessible to anyone with an athletic inclination," said Mr Will Taylor, associate editor of SUP Magazine.
SUP boards are larger and much more stable than standard surfboards, he said.
"If you're older, you can basically take a stroll on the water: Paddle slowly, take in sights. If you're a marathoner, you can paddle really hard or do intervals."
Mr Taylor said just standing on the unstable platform engages the stabiliser muscles, while paddling targets the upper body.
"This is more of a full-body exercise than surfing, because you're standing the whole time," he said.
Mr Carey Bond, an instructor and guide at Manhattan Kayak Company in New York City, co-founded the Suplogix research group to explore the biomechanics of stand-up paddle-boarding. The company uses biotechnology to measure muscle activation during SUP.
He said: "All of your stabilising muscles in the hip, lower leg and knee joint are activated in a therapeutic way to stabilise balance on an unstable surface."
The intensity of the workout depends on the body of water, said Dr Cedric Bryant, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise.
"Balance, core strength and endurance are among the significant fitness benefits," he said.
"Paddling is a great core workout, engaging every muscle either actively or as core stabiliser, and paddling out on the ocean with waves and currents can be really intense."