Getting out of the house to walk the dog in our nearby woods has been a saving grace for me, during what feels like a far-fetched episode of Black Mirror.
But then it got me thinking – if we can escape to the open fields for a stroll (our one-form-of-exercise-per-day quota), can’t we escape to the river for a spot of paddleboarding? Surely it’s even more unlikely that we’ll bump into anyone there?
So, we decided to spend the day on the river – and didn’t come into contact with another soul.
With sunny weather on the horizon, and the word ‘staycation’ taking on a whole new meaning, now’s the time to pursue your SUP passion. Here’s why:
1. Paddle away your worries
Anxiety and stress are through the roof for many right now – myself included. But when we were drifting down the river, our worries seemed to drift away too. Scientific studies have shown that simply being near bodies of water can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression – I found being on the water had an incredibly calming effect.
2. Enjoy some family fun, away from the screens
We were all going a bit stir-crazy in the house, so being together on the water provided a much-needed change of scenery. We even packed a mini picnic, including flasks of hot chocolate, and pitched up on a river bank. And nope, there wasn’t even a single mention of the ‘i’ word (iPad).
3. Get a full-body workout
With my weekly exercise classes cancelled and my gym membership not in use right now, paddleboarding gave me a complete full-body workout. The forces are distributed throughout every muscle when standing up on the paddleboard, from the neck to the toes. Your legs need to work hard as they stabilise you, in order to keep your balance and maintain your centre of gravity. As you paddle, your arms, back and shoulder muscles are constantly engaged. Maintaining balance, which is key in paddling, makes use of the core and abdominal muscles. Abs of steel, here I come!
4. Give yourself a vitamin D boost
This benefit is very important, especially if you don’t usually get the opportunity to be out in the sun. A little sunshine on the skin is good for you (provided you wear sunscreen) and can have a really relaxing and calming effect. I held my face up to the sun for a while, with my eyes closed, and for a few minutes forgot about all the madness going on in the world!
So, there you have it: a few reasons I’ll be trying to get out on the water as much as I can over the coming months. And there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothes choices – so wrap up warm, get your waterproofs on and enjoy nature in all its glory.
Always remember to follow government advice when paddleboarding or kayaking – and stay safe everyone!
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