I grew up in a household where you did not come indoors until you heard Dad whistling at dinnertime. We spent our days at the duck pond, playing kick the can or visiting a local nature center. For a while, we had an Atari video game system, but that was played out, fast. The great outdoors was my entertainment.

Being a personal trainer and working in a physical therapy clinic, I have helped people stay active and incorporate a healthy lifestyle for my whole adult career. I see opportunity everywhere to move your body. When I started stand up paddling in 2009, I could not get enough of the exercises and stretching routines applicable to any stand up paddleboard. Some are better than others for this purpose.

The Hobie Dura Glide is the perfect board for fitness and stretching (though I sometimes use all of them for this purpose). At either 9’6” long by 30 inches wide, or 10’10 inches long by 33 inches wide, the dimensions are ideal. The boards are stable, with nose-to-tail deck pads – a welcome feature. I can comfortably perform a wide range of fitness movements and cross-training paddling techniques if transitioning to my hands, knees and back.

Exercises and stretching/yoga performed on a stand up paddleboard are accomplished with extra attention to breathing and slowing down. Otherwise, you are liable to fall in. The physiological responses are much different than being on a stable surface. I would say 10 times more different! You are constantly working stabilizer muscles. You are experiencing a greater sense of power, enhanced freedom and detachment. You benefit from much better body awareness when floating on the water, where you are not grounded to anything. It intensifies the fitness aspect in a gentle, non-impact way.

A SUP fitness and stretching routine is my favorite form of personal fitness. I like to incorporate seated postures while doing abdominal variations and spinal twists. Many times I will be on one knee, if in a low lunge stretching out my hip flexors. Or on both knees bending backward in camel pose. Opening up the chest and shoulders always feels appropriate, when paddling for long periods of time as specific muscles get shortened and tight.

It feels so good to exercise in the elements – air, wind and water. Creating new workouts is exciting, as is taking clients for a session on the water. I have always experimented on myself, to develop the safest and best SUP workouts for clients. I was 14 years old when I started creating my own innovative home workouts. To this day they are easily applied to anyplace outdoors, or on my SUP… or in a hotel room, playground, tent, and happily in SpeedyB, our version of a Class B camper van that my husband, Nate created. I exercise anywhere.

A SUP workout doesn’t need to be high intensity to be beneficial. For decades I power lifted, raced at maximum speed, and practiced intense yoga. Now I am content with hiking shorter distances, lifting 3 to 8 pound weights, bringing up the rear if we are in a group paddle, and relishing gentle and graceful Hatha SUP yoga. I still enter SUP races, for the camaraderie, enjoyment with friends, or perhaps a wonderful cause. You can too.