During the colder off-season months, you might not be interested in suiting up in cold weather SUP gear like a wetsuit to hit the water. So, what you can you do to stay fit and active when the water is too cold for you? Well, short of taking some vacations to warm water destinations, you can pick some other sports that keep your body fit and toned. The worst thing you can do is take the winter season off and get out of shape before spring rolls around again.
If you’re looking for ideas on what types of activities you can do in place of paddle boarding during the colder times of year, then let us help you out with the suggestions below.
Obviously, this is going to the winter sport that is closest to paddle boarding. You’ll be engaging almost all of the same muscles as when you go SUPing, with the exception being that you don’t have to paddle on a snowboard.
Getting started with snowboarding is relatively easy and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. Of course, snowboards and related gear can be a bit costly, so you might want to stick to renting your gear until you decide if you want to do it regularly.
The gear that you’ll need includes the snowboard, snowboard boots and bindings, a good helmet for snowboarding, and proper cold weather attire.
You should look for a resort that has lessons to get you started in the basics on how to snowboard and then stick to the easier trails until you get the hang of it.
While it might sound like the exact opposite of paddle boarding, XC skiing is actually a great workout. In fact, you can get a similar core workout and lower body workout from XC skiing as you do from SUPing. And if you find yourself doing the cross-country skiing in an area with high elevation, then you’ll end up getting a pretty serious upper body workout as well.
XC skiing is done on groomed trails – get off those trails and you’ve transitioned into backcountry skiing. For complete beginners, you’ll want to start on terrain that doesn’t have many hills, at least until you get the hang of it.
Getting started is relatively easy because you can just rent the gear that you need. Or, buy yourself some cross-country skis and suit up in your warm layers and go! Of course, it’s a good idea to go out with someone who is experienced so that you can get some tips on proper movements and such. And before you know it, you’ll look as graceful as the seasoned XC skiers out there.
Another great snow sport that you can do in the winter is snowshoeing. This is a great entry level sport for those who are new to snow sports. Plus, it requires minimal equipment to get started!
You can buy yourself some beginner snowshoes or rent some before you start your snow trekking. When you go snowshoeing, you get a nice low impact aerobic exercise, and you can do it almost anywhere.
While most people who go snowshoeing are basically just hiking in the snow, you can actually run in your snowshoes, if you’re into that.
For beginners, it’s a good idea to start your snowshoeing adventures as a cross-country ski resort where you can use their groomed trails. And save the backcountry snowshoeing for when you’ve got more experience under your belt.
I know what you’re thinking – mountain biking is so far removed from SUPing. However, your body gets a great workout from mountain biking, which makes it a great way to keep your SUP muscles in shape during the off season months.
When mountain biking, the muscles that worked out include your biceps, your gluteus maximus, your abs, your semitendinosus, and your gastrocnemius. So, you can see why mountain biking makes a great addition to your cold month activity routines.
And like the activities listed above, you don’t need a lot of equipment to get started. Just a good mountain bike, a helmet, and maybe some padding – depending on how accident prone you are. However, this is a more expensive activity since getting a decent mountain bike requires at least $500 minimum. Or, you can look for a used bike in good quality (if you know what to look for).
A cheaper activity than mountain biking is a racquet sport like pickleball, squash or tennis. The required equipment is generally just a good racquet or paddle, which is a lot cheaper than a good mountain bike or set of skis. However, most of these sports require a gym membership in order to play them indoors.
Getting started with any of the racquet sports is really simple because the basics are super easy to just pick up as you go.
A lot of your upper body gets a workout when playing racquet sports, but your legs are just as important. Some of the muscles that you will work out include the hip flexors, quads, pectorals and anterior shoulder girdle, calf, wristflexors, and lats.
While this doesn’t offer quite the same type of workout as some of the activities listed above, it is still beneficial for a paddle boarder who is looking to stay in shape during the off season.
Gym Strength Training
If you’re not really looking for a new sport to take up, then you could resort to a paddle board-specific workout at home or the local gym to keep those SUP muscle groups engaged.
Doing a workout focused on paddle boarding means that you need to target your balance, your core, your legs and your arms.
For balance, you can make sure you workout barefoot if you’re at home. This is a good way to train your ankles and feet. You can also use a balance board to specifically target balance.
Yoga and pilates are both great options for strengthening your core and working on balance. And if you are an advanced yoga practitioner, then you will notice that it builds strength in the arms and legs as well.
Working out your arms with dumbbells will help to strengthen them so that you can paddle longer and with less fatigue. Or, do single-arm pulls with a resistance band or weight machine.
A rowing machine also offers a great workout for paddle boarders since it gives you a full body workout – including your core muscles.
To strengthen your ankles, you can focus on improving ankle dorsiflexion with simple ankle mobility exercises like the ones in the video below or as listed here.
To strengthen your legs and make it easier to go from kneeling to standing on the paddle board, do squats as part of your regular workout.
Picking up one or more of the activities listed above should be more than enough to keep you in tip top shape for paddle boarding season. Just resist the urge to spend the winter playing games or doing nothing physical. And remember, you could always suit up in cold weather gear and hit the water with your paddle board after all!