Trying a new nature activity: SUP

One of the joys of becoming more active & of correcting any long-standing aches & pains is that it opens up a world of opportunities for new forms of exercise/movement/enjoying the outdoors. Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) has been around for several years, and is a nice way to experience a calm lake/reservior/bay – it’s what it sounds like: you stand on a board and paddle. The ever-adventurous Christa, my mom (of the Turkish Get-Up training this winter), got an inflatable one from Amazon, and since we live near several reservoirs, we’re going to give it a try.

woman in white tank top and black leggings standing on blue and orange surfboard
Photo by Kindel Media on

Of course, as the typically-obsessed personal trainer, I needed to read up on how to prepare for this activity with exercises/stretching & focus on protecting weak/problem areas that might get sore or painful. They would cause SUP to be a lot less fun, and I want it to be FUN (see the second-to-last paragraph for some additional advice on inflatable SUPs & air pumps). I found a pretty great training routine on, so that’s our starting point. And then I’ll be making modifications based on some equipment we have (kettlebell, dowel, BOSU), and also adding perhaps changing up the exercise types for others more appropriate for Mom (and me and other breast cancer survivors, who may have upper body/shoulder challenges). I’ll post them on Instagram/Facebook and probably here as well – just remember that these will be custom workouts for me & my mom, and may not be appropriate for you.

I’m looking forward to this – not that I’m not already busy, but somehow it’s the busy times when I start cranking up to being even more busy! It’s hard to remember to get up, change position, grab a walk, but it’s more important than ever to balance desk work with movement – I’m trying to be a good example for people around me, too.

Note to readers who might consider getting a SUP that’s inflatable: the pump is huge, heavy, and it takes a ton of effort to fill up the air chambers. If you have upper body issues like lymphedema, the repetitive arm effort while using the air pump might be the wrong kind of exercise. Delegate it to someone else, or grab an battery-operated air pump that can give you a psi readout, and save your strength for the paddling! Pumping up the SUP is the opposite of a good time, in my book. On a hot day, in the sun? 1/5 stars, for sure.

Here’s a link to the REI training for SUP:

Think about what outdoor activity lives in your dreams right now, and not your reality. What could you do to bring that dream closer to life? For my mom, it was getting a stronger core this winter/spring, and learning more about her shoulder issues. (For me, it was some of the same, too – I’m always learning.) Humans were made to be out in nature, so let’s get out there!