Surfing vs Stand Up Paddle Boarding – Better Body Workout?

surfing alpaca

It seems no study has yet been published to compare surfing and stand up paddle boarding in terms of muscles worked out and calories burnt. Either way, training for these activities can be strenuous. So let’s look at the muscles that they work out.

Surfing 

Surfing is more like an arm activity. It demands a huge deal of work from your biceps, triceps, and deltoids–the major muscles involved. This is true especially when you’re lying on the board, in which case you don’t put a lot of action on your torso and legs. However, muscular dynamics change when you’re standing on the board. In this case, almost your entire body is doing work. Take note that standing on a surf board requires a great deal of balance. This puts a great deal of work on your core muscles–not just the abs but the entire group of muscles surrounding your midsection. That includes your back and lateral muscles as well.

The gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quads, and calves are also doing a lot of work when you’re balancing yourself on an unstable short board atop the waves. Turning the board again recruits the abs and the obliques as well as the arms and the deltoids. At the same time, your heart is working hard to keep you up. Eventually, this makes surfing an ideal fat burning and muscle toning exercise.

Stand up paddle boarding

SUP can be a barely demanding recreational activity or a strenuous physical exercise depending on the conditions of the water. So it seems it doesn’t make sense to compare surfing to SUP, because either can be just relaxing or physically demanding depending on what you’re doing. However, there are instances wherein stand up paddling requires a great deal of muscular work.

SUP board are bigger than surfboards, but you can actually use an iSUP for surfing. That means two things. If you’re paddling quietly on a calm lake, then it’s just a but core workout for balance and a bit of arm work. The bigger board affords you of greater buoyancy. However, the size is also a detriment when it comes to maneuvering on rough waters. It’s easy to move a surfboard through the waves than to maneuver a SUP board on rough waves. It requires a greater deal of effort and muscular work. This means that you have to be really more robust when you’re SUP than when you’re surfing on waves.

Then again, you’re basically just training the same muscles–core, arms, thighs, and legs. How does SUP train your muscles. It works out your lats when you bring your arms closer to your body when you’re paddling. It works the deltoids when you raise your arms. The arm motions you do when paddling also trains your triceps and pecs. Not to mention, balancing your body on the board recruits the core, thigh, and leg muscles. However, the latter two do far greater work at maneuvering the board over the water.

Stand up paddle boarding seems the winner in this case, but you have to be physically built for this. Untrained SUP boarders have caused accidents on surfers because they could poorly control their boards. So if you decide that SUP is the way to go for you, check out some of the reviews before buying your board.

Check Out These 6 Benefits of Tai Chi

tai chi benefitsTai Chi is one of the most popular ways to get fit. It focuses mainly on martial arts movements, meditation, and complete body awareness. Unlike conventional strength training, tai chi is much gentler. While it’s not as exhausting as weight lifting, it has a number of similar benefits.

1. Muscle Strength

There is a Japanese study that compared muscular strength in older adults. One group was assigned to tai chi. Another group was assigned to brisk walking activity. The third group was assigned to resistance training. The study revealed that the tai chi group saw 30% improvement in lower body strength and 25% in arm strength than those in the brisk walking and strength training group.

2. Enhanced Balance and Flexibility

The nature of tai chi allows it to train your balance and flexibility. Some studies have looked into this. As tai chi increases muscular strength, it also improves balance and flexibility. For this reason, tai chi is one of the best fitness programs for middle-aged people and seniors. Our balance and coordination decline with age, but we can slow down this decline, even reverse it, with proper training.

3. Cardiovascular Fitness

While cardio workout is still superior in this department, tai chi does have its cardiovascular benefits. Because it’s not as intense and physically demanding as cardio or high-intensity interval training, it carries low risk of injuries. A study done in Taiwan found that tai chi does not only increase physical fitness but also improve blood pressure and lower triglycerides and cholesterol. These things are responsible for the development of heart disease. Another study conducted at Harvard Medical School showed that 12 weeks of tai chi can reduce the levels of a certain type of protein that determines one’s risk of heart failure.

4. Arthritis Relief

One study presented at an American College of Rheumatology in 2008 showed that tai chi improved the physical functioning and lessened discomfort in people with severe knee osteoarthritis. Moreover, it showed that the improvement was more than the improvement experienced by people doing standard stretching only.

Another Korean study published in 2008 also showed that tai chi improved flexibility and slowed down the progress of a type of arthritis that affects the spine.

5. Osteoporosis Prevention

Tai chi stimulates bones and muscles. The body’s reaction to this is make them stronger by either keeping or adding tissue mass. This is why people who exercise, regardless of the type of exercise, tend to have stronger bones than people who don’t. Those who like low-impact exercise should try tai chi.

6. Improves Sleep

Tai chi helps people with sleep problems get a better quality of sleep at night. This is according to study done in the University of California and published in Sleep journal’s 2008 issue.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using A Fitness Tracker Device

You might have heard of people talking about fitness trackers. These devices are becoming popular especially in fitness circles. Fitness buffs and clever marketing agents talk a lot about them. What exactly are they? Do you need one?

What is a fitness tracker?

As the name goes, it’s a device that tracks your activity and records your heart rate and breathing. Many fitness tracking devices monitor your sleep as well. Many versions monitor the number of steps you’ve done walking or running. They also determine the amount of calories you have consumed. These cleverly made devices come in different forms. Some can be worn like a wristwatch. Others can be attached to your shoe. They are programmable with options to sync data to your smartphone or laptop. You can check the input data from time to time and make a daily comparison on your fitness activity.

Advantages

Fitness trackers increase your fitness awareness for the very simple reason that you are wearing them. It sounds silly, but it’s quite simple to understand. When you know you’re wearing a fitness tracker, it somehow reminds you constantly about getting and staying fit.

You can adjust your workout volume and intensity. Fitness and activity trackers tell you how much effort you have exerted. This is useful for runners, even for those running on a treadmill. They tell you exactly how long you have run and measure your heart rate, allowing you to determine how much you’re working yourself out at the moment.

You can track your activity level and make daily or weekly comparisons. Consistency is important in fitness routines. Sometimes people mistake long hours in the gym for working out hard. But the truth is, some of us spend much of our workout time updating our Facebook or chatting with other people in the gym. Your tracker will tell you if you are slacking off.

Some fitness trackers monitor sleep. Sleep duration and quality affects your workout recovery and fitness. Some people report sleeping for 8 hours but still waking up groggy. The problem may have to do with the quality of your sleep, and devices that monitor your sleep can give you hints to whether you’re sleeping just fine.

Disadvantages

Many fitness trackers are faulty. For instance, some of these devices mistake insignificant activities and mannerisms for an activity. Sometimes the device says you have worked out a lot, but you have spent much of your time just shaking your legs underneath your office desk.

Fitness trackers can be expensive. For some people, buying one is just impractical when you can track your own fitness activity using conventional methods. A cheap activity tracker may be around a hundred dollars. Of course, the cheaper the product, the fewer features it has.

Anyway, when shopping for fitness and activity trackers, look at specifications and read customer reviews.

Easing Into Exercise As A Noob

One of the things that I want to start making a habit out of is working out. In the past, I have just done the dieting thing and not really done much exercising. Sure, I might have done a few afternoon or evening walks around the neighborhood, but nothing that really gets the heart pumping and sweat flowing. And honestly, that is what I really need to be doing, not only for weight loss but for my health.

But, since I am kind of a total noob when it comes to exercise and working out, I am not really sure where I should start this new habit. I mean, I guess I could sign up for some classes at a local gym, but this is something that I would rather do on my own at home. If that is at all possible.

Now do not laugh, but I actually looked up how to get started exercising as a beginner. I know, I know, that makes me sound really pathetic. Add to it the fact that I am almost 40 years old and it sounds even worse, right? Well, apparently I am not the only loser getting started exercising for the first time cause there are loads of results on the internet about it! There is a pretty good resource on WebMD for exercise beginners that I liked.

What I learned is that there are basically no rules to getting started. In fact, the most important thing about exercise seems to be that you just need to do it. Of course, you do not want to get injured or anything crazy like that. So you have to avoid jumping on machines at the gym that you have no idea how to use or doing anything else crazy like that. Instead you have to start with some stuff that is low impact and kind of take things slowly until you get comfortable with the movements and such before working up to more intense forms of exercise. No need to be aggressive with it right out of the gate.

Something like walking on a treadmill or doing a home yoga dvd for beginners seems to be a pretty decent way to get things going on the exercise front. Since I do not have any type of gym equipment in my home yet, I have decided to look for some beginner fitness DVDs at my local library. And I read on a weight loss forum that you can find some pretty good beginner yoga workouts online on YouTube, so I might see what I can find on there as well.

Here’s hoping that I don’t get an embarrassing injury when I start working out for the first time in decades!