Can I paddle board with knee injuries? Seeing a paddle boarder float by with grace is captivating. It inspires many people to get on a paddle board themselves. Boarders with experience not only make SUP look easy but also entices others to try the sport. It is a sport that everyone can enjoy with the proper instruction and guidance on the water. I often receive calls from clients looking for personalized instruction and they ask me “can I do this?” Their personal hesitation is usually linked to concerns about past injuries. People also wonder about the physical requirements of paddle boarding. The most common health related concern is knee injuries. Sometimes people are concerned about their age and I’m asked if there are age limits for lessons.
Paddle board at any age!
Age is not a limitation for paddle boarding however they are some basic considerations for water safety to keep in mind. As long as people can swim and feel comfortable in the water I encourage everyone to try out this attention-grabbing sport. People with physical limitations from injuries should seek doctor approval before engaging in any exercise program. Once cleared for activity paddle boarding is a leisurely, low-impact, physical training that engages all muscles in the body. I provide clients with simple modifications, such as sitting instead of kneeling to take pressure off of their knees. Learning how to paddle on a SUP is much different than a kayak. Usually in lessons, participants kneel while learning simple paddle strokes. Taking this pressure off of the knees in the beginning offers a gentle transition to standing on the board. One of my clients had a double knee replacement surgery and started by kneeling with foam pads under her knees. Everyone experiences progress and modifications are different based on individual needs.
Paddle boarding engages muscles
SUP is an outdoor physical training that engages all muscle groups. Whether you are sitting, standing or kneeling you are strengthening muscles. During your first time on a board there is a lot to learn about paddle stroke and water safety. Your personal expectations of standing up on board will vary. People either assume it is easier or harder than they originally expected. Most beginners stand up for about 20-30 minutes before feeling ready to give their feet a short break. Balancing through your body not only uses the muscles that you expect but also ones that you do not know are there. Muscles in your feet are engaged while paddle boarding. Although this may be uncomfortable without guidance, simple foot exercises can be preformed while paddling to minimize any tension.
Balance required for paddle boarding
As we age, we lose balance, muscle strength and mass. This process can be prevented or reversed by preforming physical activities that build muscle and improve balance. Yoga is another great indoor activity with similar physical benefits. Being able to transition from kneeling to standing requires minimal flexibility however not everyone can perform this physical requirement needed to stand up on a board. Even if this step is out of reach right now simple stretches can create more flexibility and movement needed for the body to overcome this hurtle. The “S” in SUP can stand for “Sit Up Paddle” as well as “Stand Up Paddle.” It’s enjoyable regardless of how you SUP and a great way to burn calories on the water.