As the weather starts to get warmer, I’m thinking about all the things I want to do this summer. And, although I live in a place that’s short on water, I’m dreaming about stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). I woke up the other morning, after my tenth night in a row dreaming about SUP, thinking that exercise has changed for me big time over the decades. At forty-something, exercise is not what it used to be. And food is not what it used to be. And, let’s be honest, a bra is not what it used to be.
In my twenties, I was a jogger. I used to jog around the park with all the other urban exercisers and devour a bag of Twizzlers as a treat when I got home. I didn’t worry about food then. In my thirties, I had babies and my body changed. I started bootcamp classes to get my tummy, butt and thighs back into my pre-baby clothes but ended up giving them to Goodwill anyway. Sadly, the Twizzlers and I parted ways.
In my forties, I’m doing more yoga and ballet barre classes. I jog every once in a while but my lower back and knees hate me for it. I gave up bread and cheese, the best friends a girl could ask for, in favor of a mostly whole foods diet. As I lose my tried-and-true food friends one by one, I’ve gotta have something to look forward to. SUP’s a pretty good replacement.
So why SUP instead of a million other sports that don’t require such large equipment and a body of water? I think it’s because most of the exercise I get is inside in a class whose sole purpose is tightening and toning. While I love the way I feel after a barre class, I wouldn’t call it 60 minutes of fun.
SUP is childishly fun. I laughed until my stomach hurt when my 6’4″ husband got on a paddleboard and fell like a tree into the water after 2 minutes. SUP gets you outside (so many benefits to that), it’s a total body workout that strengthens the core (a big problem after birthing babies) and it doesn’t feel like exercise.
I could dream about long walks outside with push-ups, squats and lunges thrown in. But who wants to fantasize about that? SUP originated in Hawaii as an offshoot of surfing. It has all the dream appeal of its native state. And it doesn’t hurt to imagine some eye candy on the board next to you.
As summer gets closer and springitis gets worse, I want to think of warm days on the water. And if Laird Hamilton says it’s the next coming, shouldn’t we at least give it a try?