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The Health Benefits of Stand Up Paddle Boarding - with Chiropractor Chris Slater

Posted by The Surfboard Warehouse on

Chris Slater Positive Health Chiro

Chris Slater from Positive Health Chiropractic

Stand Up Paddle boarding has taken the world by storm, and not only because it’s a fun and easy way to get out on the water. It’s also popular thanks to the health benefits of the sport. SUP’ing is low impact on the joints while still being considered a full cardiovascular workout that simultaneously targets a wide range of muscular regions. We sat down with our good friend Dr Chris Slater from Positive Health Chiropractic to talk more about how and why SUP’ing is so good for your health and wellbeing.

Chris Slater: "I think it’s safe to say that most people are now aware of Stand Up Paddle boarding, and have an idea that there are probably some sorts of health benefits to it. Until recently though, those benefits haven’t been well defined. Research has started emerging in the last year [Ref 1, 2] which shows just how good SUP is across a range of measures, including strength, balance and endurance."

Atlantis SUP thesurfboardwarehouse

Finding your balance on a SUP is rewarding and beneficial

Stand Up Paddle boarding is a great outdoor recreational activity that works both the body and the mind. It can help you relax and enjoy the atmosphere, take in the surroundings and unwind. So while taking that time out you’re also getting a full-body cardiovascular workout. Sounds too good to be true!

CS: "It makes sense that because SUP boards are a little bit unstable, you have to work harder to stand up than on firm ground. Well, on-water trials showed that this effect increases as you paddle faster; so much so that unless you’re an expert you probably won’t be able to exceed your aerobic heart-rate zone and still stay on the board. This means that by striking a balance between pushing themselves and staying upright, people will be automatically setting themselves in the perfect range for cardio exercise."

From a muscle workout perspective, the main targeted area is your core - but it doesn't stop there. SUP is immensely beneficial for toning and strengthening various muscular regions of the body.

CS: "The studies so far have tested and shown great activation in Rectus abdominis and Obliquus externus (your abs, figure 1.), Rectus femoris and Gluteus maximus (your thighs and butt, figure 2.), Pectoralis major, Erector spinae and Latissimus dorsi (your chest and back, figure 3.), and my favourite as a Chiropractor – Multifidus. This little guy is responsible for stabilizing your back, and can be tricky to rehabilitate if you let it switch off… And the best bit is that all of these muscles are active while you SUP, whatever intensity you choose to exercise at."

Health Benefits of SUP

SUP not only targets your core but also activates your arms, back, chest and thighs. Many people even use SUP’ing as a method of recovery from serious injuries. From your ankles to your wrists, it’s a full body workout.

CS: "In my Masters degree my research topic covered how exercise affects balance and proprioception (position sense). What I found is that the best evidence is for either slow, rhythmic movements transferring weight from one foot to the other, like Tai Chi; or faster, unpredictable movements on an unstable surface, like a wobble board. Stand Up Paddle is basically both of those things, rolled into one!

I learnt this through personal experience – after an ankle injury that had troubled me for years, I jumped on a Stand Up Paddle board and came off about ten times in as many minutes, while everyone else was finding it a breeze. My feet felt like I’d run a marathon! Yet just a few sessions later my foot strength and balance was much improved and I just wasn’t falling off; there’s a very quick learning curve with SUP and in turn my running has been improved, too."

Atlantis Incognito 2 II

Cruising the river on the Atlantis Incognito 2

Finding your balance is just one of the tasks at hand while on a Stand Up Paddle board. Your co-ordination and balance increases immensely, while your muscle tone and strength supports you as you improve. And as a result the sport will increase your confidence in and out of the water.

Whether you’re cruising down a river on the Atlantis Incognito 2 or tearing it up in the surf with our Atlantis Vex Profusion, you’re guaranteed to have a ball and keep yourself in shape while doing it. What else do you need in a past time?

See you out on the water!


Positive Health Chiropractic is a chiropractic centre in the heart of Murwillumbah in Northern NSW. Dr Chris Slater (Chiropractor) has been practising for the last seven years, and uses a safe, gentle and effective chiropractic technique called NeuroImpulse Protocol (NIP) that is remarkably different from what most people expect when they go to the chiropractor. At Positive Health Chiropractic, you’ll get “Chiro Without The Crack”


1) Activity of Trunk and Leg Muscles during Stand up Paddle Surfing. 2013 Procedia Engineering, 60, p 57–61.

2) Stand up Paddle Surfing-An Aerobic Workout and Balance Training. 2013 Procedia Engineering, 60, p 62-66.

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