It’s no shock to find out that the covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on mental health. The changes to our routines and social interactions, fear and anxiety of the impact of the virus itself and juggling work and schooling arrangements have taken its toll on the best of us this last year or so. The pandemic really has been devastating for so many and it may take a long time to overcome the damage and to navigate our way to a new ‘normal’.
One casualty of the pandemic has been physical activity levels. Sport England’s report into the impact of Covid-19 has found that people reduced their exercise and activity levels in 2020, mainly through reduced opportunity and dwindling motivation. Fitness habits changed as fewer people went to the gym and did other indoor activities such as swimming. As we move through 2021 however, the appetite for activity is returning, and outdoor activities are booming, especially those that don’t require a regular subscription payment. You can see Sport England’s research at https://www.sportengland.org/know-your-audience/demographic-knowledge#coronavirus-7919
In 2020, an activity which really grew in popularity was stand-up paddleboarding. You can be forgiven if you’d never heard of this before but if you haven’t heard of it by the summer of 2021, then maybe you’ve been living under a rock because IT. IS. EVERYWHERE, even dinosaurs are paddleboarding!
We talked about the rise of paddleboarding last year and it seems that 2021 will be another year of growth. More and more people are working out the positives of water based outdoor activities and paddleboarding is easy to take up. Soon, paddleboarding might even be on the NHS. Recently, it was announced that people in Nottingham could be prescribed paddleboarding and other waterside activities to boost both physical and mental health.
But why is paddleboarding such a good thing to be doing? Here are five reasons why paddleboarding could be the ideal activity for both physical and mental health this year:
- It’s done on the water. Water has amazing qualities. It’s therapeutic and peaceful and has a different impact on your body than other forces. Falling into water is (usually) less painful than hitting a patch of concrete or tarmac, though you should still take care of hazards and wear appropriate safety clothing. Water is often located in places away from modern stresses amongst nature, and indeed the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this year revolved around how vital to well-being nature and outdoors can be.
- It’s easy to get into. You need a paddleboard, which you can hire if you’re not sure about buying straight away, and some suitable clothing. That’s about it. The rest is a little practice. It doesn’t matter if you’re not good at it straight away, and that’s part of the fun.
- It’s a good overall physical workout. It works your arms and your core, and helps with balance and co-ordination.
- The SUP community is really friendly and welcoming. You never know, you might make a new friend or three in the process.
- It’s good for social distancing and it’s always outdoors, so much less worry about virus transmission. Unlike contact sports, it’s an activity that thrives on distance from other people and it can be done with as many or as few people as you like.
Where can you paddleboard in the UK?
The UK is abundant with inland waterways and plenty of coastline. There are lots of water sports centres in and around the UK where you can learn to paddleboard, though you don’t need to have lessons. You can just find your own waterway and teach yourself, however, you will need to check that you’re allowed to use it. Check out the information from the Canal & River Trust and British Canoeing for more information about accessing the UK’s waterways.
Check out these articles for more ideas about where to paddleboard near where you are:
While paddleboards are inflatable and don’t take too long to inflate and deflate, if you keep yours inflated and prefer to travel ready to go, our HandiRack is ideal for when you just want to load up and go. Our inflatable HandiRack roof bars can be fitted to most cars in minutes and can help to safely transport you and your paddleboards, kayak or canoes wherever you need to go. The British summer can be unpredictable at times, it’s always important to find ways to maximise your leisure time.