Monday, 11 September 2017

Berkshire Fitness Scene : SUPfit

Stand Up Paddleboarding, or SUP, has become rather popular in recent years and it's not uncommon to find local lakes offering paddle boarding sessions as well as swimming or water skiing. I first tried SUP back in 2015 but despite enjoying it, made little effort to go back to it. However, my increased interest in lake swimming this year led me to discover that Dinton Pastures were running SUPfit courses throughout the summer.
SUPfit combines paddle boarding with yoga moves, stretching and strengthening exercises. The classes last an hour and a half and improve your balance, strength and all-round fitness. Moves that you wouldn't think twice about on dry land suddenly become rather more challenging on the water. I'm two weeks into a five week course (shortened from 6 weeks due to the time of year) and am really enjoying it. At 9:30am on a Tuesday morning, I join the instructor and rest of the class to paddle out onto the lake and do a work out. The boards are quite wide and fairly stable but it feels very exposed standing on them. I've been given extra guidance on how to paddle efficiently, which is a workout in itself with the wind and the weed!

We're working on a strength and stretching programme which combines some yoga moves with other exercises like squats and lunges (which are SO hard on the board) and quite a lot of planks! It's not what I would call strenuous, but I certainly feel like I've moved well afterwards. Plus being out on the lake with the swans, herons and ducks is really lovely; it's difficult not to have a sense of well being after that. One of the most challenging things about the workout is not drifting away from the group on the board as every move affects the board and we aren't always able to tether to something.
You don't need to have any SUP experience to take part in the classes, nor do you need to be proficient at yoga. You don't need any special kit either; I wear clothes that I would do a gym class in, but with bare feet and a long sleeved layer if it's breezy. I'm yet to fall in but I'm sure I will before the end of the five weeks. My course is the last to run this season but I really hope they bring it back next year. With pre-work, morning and evening classes there's a time to suit most people and although it could be seen as gimmicky, it certainly compliments my other training at the moment.

Have you done SUP or a class on SUP boards? What other water based exercise classes have you come across?

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