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Stand Up Paddle Boarding for Mental Health

Mental Health and Paddle Boarding

When the team at Bluefin asked me to write a blog for them, I was ecstatic to say the least! I absolutely love my Bluefin SUP, and wanted to write the best blog post possible. 

I’ve had many adventures on my board so far. We’ve been on trips down our local canal, to the docks, out in the bay – in lakes, llyns, lochs and tarns. But after all my amazing experiences, one aspect of paddleboarding in particular has had a huge impact on me. And it’s what I want to share with you the most. 

SUP Wellbeing

Just a bit of background: I’m a mental health nurse when I’m not out adventuring with my SUP. As a result, I work in a relatively high-stress environment and have to place a lot of emphasis on maintaining my own mental wellbeing. Alongside supporting other people to maintain theirs. 

Now you don’t have to be a mental health nurse or a psychiatric consultant to recognise the benefits of being in the great outdoors. In fact, studies have shown that just 17 minutes a day outside can significantly improve your sense of wellbeing.

If we add in the positive stats of being in and around the water too (coupled with the benefits of exercise), paddleboarding is looking like one seriously awesome activity!

Beautiful Sunset Paddle Boarding

The Mental Health Benefits of Paddleboarding

The benefits I’m talking about here aren’t just an improved sense of wellbeing. You can gain a serious reduction in stress, better quality of sleep, improved memory, and increased core fitness & balance. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

Many of us often find ourselves consumed by negative thoughts. This makes it super difficult to enjoy moments to the full, and can lead us down a path to depression and anxiety if we allow ourselves to become consumed. 

But research is now showing that spending time in nature decreases these obsessive, negative thoughts by a significant margin. And what better way to enjoy nature to the full? SUP of course.

Testing Times

Times have been pretty tough for everyone this year. Many of us have faced serious physical, emotional and financial hardship. 

I’ve found that getting out with my SUP has been so easy and enjoyable, and has really helped me get through these recent challenges. My Bluefin board is so simple to set-up and pack down, and can be transported anywhere with its accompanying backpack. It’s also super easy to fit in the boot of the car, making it the perfect accessory for a short canal adventure after work. Or a full day exploring in the lakes!

What Makes SUP Different

The thing that sets this activity apart for me is the immense sense of peace it gives. When I’m out on my board gliding across the water, listening to the waves, birds, and rustle of the trees, I’ve found remarkable tranquility. It’s like my very own personal ecotherapy programme! 

And what’s ecotherapy? It’s the name given to treatment programmes designed to improve wellbeing via exposure to nature. Such activities involved may not be specifically advertised as ecotherapy, but it’s important to remember that the benefits can be drawn from any outdoor pursuit. 

There’s just something special about stand up paddleboarding. It forces you to stop and slow down, allowing you to focus on the moment, your senses, and the environment around you. I’ve had some of the most enjoyable ‘me time’ out on my board. It’s helped me think through a busy day, reflect on life in general, and calm my thoughts when I’ve had big decisions to make. 

Five Ways to Wellbeing

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know I’m a big advocate of the outdoors. But, I’m even more of an advocate of the five ways to wellbeing. These are to connect, be active, be mindful, keep learning, and give. 

Paddleboarding is an active and mindful activity. And with the recent changes in many lifestyles, I’m finding more and more people are making the jump to purchase their own SUP. It’s hands-down my new favourite activity to enjoy with others!

My advice to everyone is to be open to trying new experiences and learning new skills. Get outside, be active, be mindful, and allow yourself to have fun with it.

Ellie Cox

Passionate collaborator who thrives on connecting with ambassadors and fostering vibrant communities. With a dedication to building meaningful relationships and empowering voices.

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