Last summer I tried paddleboarding for the first time, and I loved it. Due to my hectic schedule, I’ve had a tough time planning out an afternoon to go this summer, considering it is a great distance from home. That is why I was ecstatic to find out about Stand Up Philly. This new program run by Melissa Clemens allows you to experience Philadelphia from the Schuylkill River. That’s right, the Schuylkill.
I ventured to Bartram’s Garden for my two-hour tour. After being suited up and shown how to get on the board from the dock, Melissa and Justin, an environmental scientist, led the way. The goal was to get to Walnut Street, then turn around.
Melissa, by day, is a counselor, but this is her ultimate therapy. She told me about a vet with PTSD who credits paddleboarding to his complete recovery. I understood immediately. The unpredictable current-its ebb and flow, the wind creating patterns on the water. Of course, exercise also boosts endorphins. I discovered that, at the toughest points of the journey, I encountered feelings of accomplishment after not being overcome by a wake, or having to fight against the wind.
Here are some benefits of SUP:
- You get a fun, full-body workout. The next day, my quads, abs, calves, shoulders, traps, biceps, triceps, hamstrings and glutes hurt-so basically everywhere.
- It’s a great low impact workout if you have an ailment (like my knee) that may prevent you from running or jumping
- It improves balance. My feet are sore, the way they are after I’m in the eagle pose for too long.
- It can be as easy or difficult as you want it to be, enabling you to burn up to 500-700 calories an hour