If being smacked in the face repeatedly with a surfboard has put you off reconnecting with nature through physical activity, think again. Paddleboarding is the fastest growing sport amongst adults, offering a wealth of health benefits for body and soul. Standing on a large surfboard and propelling yourself forward with a paddle may look effortless, but it engages core strength and works on co-ordination and posture whilst giving you a pretty comprehensive full body workout. It’s also a low impact sport that slowly builds up your strength without putting any major strain on your joints.
Although the concept of stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a modern one, fisherman all over the world have been standing up in their boats for centuries - from gondoliers in Venice to early surfers in Hawaii using a paddle to steer their surf boards, the human urge to drive ourselves forward lies deep in our DNA. Just plant those feet on the board, toes forward, shoulder-width apart and pull the blade through the water, letting your back muscles do the work.
But really the biggest draw is the excuse to get out into the open air and explore nature from your unique vantage point: gliding through the water in an oasis of calm listening to birdsong and the lapping of water at your feet is truly serenity for the soul. A paddleboard gives you secret entry to those stretches of river bank or shoreline that remain unexplored; a private snapshot of nature or a wonderful weekend mission with friends. Dog and picnic optional.
Choose from three London locations - go central on The Regents Canal in Paddington and set off through Regent's Park and London Zoo. Take to the Thames in Kew, stopping for a well-deserved pint halfway or discover Brentford canal, it's surprisingly beautiful. If you are learning to paddleboard on the Thames
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