I don’t really love the actual act of exercising. I don’t loathe it but it’s also not something that tops my list. I would rather read a good book, play with the boys, eat cookie dough . . . things I consider nourishment for my soul. But if I am to be honest, I do love the feeling that I have post-exercise. There is something to be said for the endorphin rush, in fact, a therapist told me that exercise is one of the best ways to fight the blahs.
But my interest wanes. I like to keep things fresh by trying out new classes. I have sampled my fair share and some, like Barre, hold a position in the rotation and others like the Tracy Anderson Method are collecting dust. (An aside: What beginner can actually keep up with her dancing?)
When I learned that Paddle Fitness was being added to the line-up of offerings at my club, I was keen to try. Many boxes were ticked: I like water, I like the warm sea air, I like relaxation, finding my inner calm . . .this sounded perfect for me. Forgetting for a minute that:
A) I am actually petrified of becoming shark bait whilst paddling in the Caribbean.
B) I would actually be paddling to nowhere within the confines of 4 walls blinded by the overhead fluorescent lighting.
I handed over my money.
I arrived at the class to find 6 other women, all of us clad in our finest stretchy pants and racer-backed tanks.
We prepped the boards by adding stabilizers at the front and back ends. There are three different levels of stability, this being moderately challenging. One stabilizer in the middle of the board provides the least support, better mimicking open-water paddling. Our instructor, a woman in her 40s with the body of a 20-year-old athlete, took her position facing us.
I mounted the board with ease and together we worked through a series of stretches. The mood was calm and almost relaxing thanks to a spotty WiFi connection disabling the thumping playlist. (Another aside: remember when instructors brought ghetto blasters? Mrs. Healy’s used to blare techno beats while my high school friends and I stepped up, down and to the side for an hour in her basement studio.)
Yes, I thought, this is exactly what I need. I need to zone out and imagine myself floating in the warm sea, with the sun beating down on me, defrosting my frozen fingers courtesy of the -27 degree weather outside.
What happened next, I am not too sure. It was an assault on my body. Burpees, mountain climbers, squats, push-ups, jumping up and over the board, squats, push-ups, plank, leg raises, squats, side-plank with one leg raised, push-ups, squats, squats, SQUATS!
ALL ON AN UNSTABLE BOARD.
With 8 minutes of the class remaining, the instructor sat in the middle of the board, with her knees bent and feet flat.
Oh, thank God! We’re almost done. Just a few stretches to go. Deep breath. Easy now, you sound like a congested pug.
And then she raised her feet into table-top and proceeded with the abdominal portion of the class. Five grueling minutes of V-sits, starfish-to-crabs (think full body extension, then pulling yourself up into a tuck), triceps dips with opposite leg to elbow crunches (I know, impossible right?).
ALL ON AN UNSTABLE BOARD.
Paddle Fitness is an all-encompassing work out. It works the core, challenges balance and stability, improves flexibility while being both a cardio and strength training exercise.
Wrists, shoulders and knees definitely have their moment in the spotlight, so if you have any injury or weakness with these joints be sure to let your instructor know so the program can be modified.
The verdict? Less than 24-hours later, I couldn’t put my bra on without wincing and my quads burned when I walked up the stairs, but I have been back. What can I say? I am hooked on that feelin’!
This is in a gym? You gave me a great giggle 🙂 Your attitude to fitness is very much like mine… and I have actually been contemplating paddle boarding… but on the actual lake 🙂 Someone, I think the lake will be much, much kinder… 😉
It’s in a studio at the gym. It was lots of fun but very different than paddling on the water (which I have tried too). Good luck!
Great article and amazing way to ‘workout’ without feeling like you’re working out.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks! I went back for round two on Monday and I am sore (again!) but not as bad as after the first go! Great website/resource that you have!
I can only imagine. Looks fun though. Thanks so much, I appreciate it.
In my seaside town here in Australia my yoga teacher teachers paddle board yoga actually on the ocean!! She is amazing! Haven’t tried it yet – my preference is to do these two activities separately in the short term 🙂
Sounds heavenly! I would have to get over my fear of falling in the water and becoming shark bait but alas, I bet it’s an amazing experience and work out. I know that there are some SUP classes down my the lake, maybe they have one. But for now, I will stick with the land version 🙂 Just for fun, please tell me all about the weather in Australia right now – let me live vicariously through you 🙂
It’s beautiful here Beth-Anne. Around 30 degrees Celsius (that’s 86 F.) each day. Lots of swimming at the beach and time outdoors. I just went for a walk at 7.30pm in short sleeves and a skirt. What we miss out on completely here though is snow. My kids have never seen it. 🙂