The physiological, musculoskeletal and psychological effects of stand up paddle boarding

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Schram, B, Hing, W & Climstein, M 2016, 'The physiological, musculoskeletal and psychological effects of stand up paddle boarding', BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, vol. 10, no. 8.

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Article available on Open Access

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Background: Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a rapidly growing sport and recreational activity where anecdotal evidence exists for its proposed health, fitness and injury rehabilitation benefits. While limited scientific evidence exists to substantiate these claims, our current research has shown that a high level of fitness, strength and balance exists amongst participants of this activity.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to conduct a training intervention on a group of previously untrained individuals to ascertain the physiological, musculoskeletal and psychological training effects of SUP.

Methods: Participants acted as their own controls with a 6 week control period between first measurements and follow up measurements prior to the training intervention. A total of 13 SUP participants completed the training study (9 males, 4 females) which was comprised of 3 one hour sessions per week for 6 weeks.

Results: Significant improvements (p < 0.05) were made in aerobic (+23.57%) and anaerobic fitness (+41.98%), multidirectional core strength tests (prone bridge +19.78%, right side bridge +26.19%, left side bridge +28.31%, Biering Sorensen +21.33%) and self-rated satisfaction with participants own health (+28.05%), domains of physical health (+18.99%) and psychological heath (17.49%). No significant differences were found in blood profiling, body composition or static and dynamic balance over the duration of the 6 weeks.

Conclusion(s): These results demonstrate the benefits of participation in SUP for the sedentary individual over a 6 week period. The results also provide evidence to substantiate the claims of health benefits and utilisation of SUP as a potential training and rehabilitation tool.

Implications: Stand up paddle boarding is a fun, low impact easy to learn and accessible activity/sport that offers clear health benefits.

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