It wasn’t until pregnancy that I really discovered the benefits of standup paddle boarding (SUP) and became slightly addicted. Although it doesn’t provide the same adrenaline filled rush that I’m used to with downhill skiing and biking, it compliments those activities nicely, provides a different perspective from the water, tones the arm muscles (a body part I tend to neglect) AND it’s a blast to do as a family!
During pregnancy I developed a nasty case of pelvic symphysis disorder which put a lot of restrictions on the types of activities that I could do. I still wanted to get outside and move during the summer so decided to give SUPing a try. We rented some inflatable boards in Fernie and spent the week checking out different lakes—it was the perfect activity for my 7 month belly in the middle of summer!
If you’re pregnant over summer and looking to switch things up, here’s 8 reasons to consider stand-up paddle boarding:
- Beat the Heat—When you’re in the thick of pregnancy and clothes aren’t comfortable and the heat is killing you, heading to a remote lake lets you relax your feet in some cool water and strip down. Sometimes I’d soak in the water along shore and just enjoy the cooling sensation while taking in the surroundings.
- Benefit From Water—Not only is the water cool, it also provides compression for your aching ankles, calves, belly, back (oh man, the list goes on…)
- Exercise Safe—Compared to running, climbing, weight lifting, etc. SUP is gentle and doesn’t place a lot of stress on your pregnant body. Be sure to double check with your Doctor because I’m not certified to give anyone exercise advice but it helped get me moving while protecting my bladder, ligaments, abs, and pelvic floor. You can even try to incorporate some pregnancy safe yoga moves.
- Stress Less—Compared to other activities where I’d always find myself franticly searching for a bathroom mid-way, being on the lake provided access for a “quick dip ” (if you know what I mean). This might not appeal to everyone but when I could enjoy myself for long periods of time without needing a toilet in sight, I was pretty happy.
- Enjoy Low-Maintenance—Once you’ve scouted out a couple of locations, it’s pretty easy to get out and going (especially if you don’t have to rent boards and paddles). There’s no cost for tickets, no reservations required, no set times, and if you keep a bag packed of sunscreen, bug-spray, water, and a change of clothes, there’s hardly any pre-packing effort!
- Make it a Day!—Depending on how much time (or energy!) you have, it’s easy to just plan for an evening sunset paddle or make it a whole day event. Some days we would head out after work to cool off and other times we’d pack a cooler and enjoy a lakeside BBQ in between paddle sessions.
- Bring Good Company—Since paddle boarding is relatively user-friendly, almost anyone can enjoy it. Big/small, slow/fast, weak/strong…you don’t have to worry about rounding up a certain type of friend to get out and have fun. Plus, you can always turn around and head back to shore if needed. I typically went out with my husband so that he could tow me back if I went too far and exhausted myself…
- Get Outside—And most importantly, it gets you outside of the house when it’s so easy to stay in and binge watch Netflix. We SUP’d near town, in the mountains and wine country, and also brought the boards camping. We explored over 11 different lakes and had a blast! Depending on your vehicle situation, you can consider both fibreglass and inflatable boards to help ease with transportation.
Stand-up paddle boarding checked all the boxes for me while pregnant. Although some women manage to run marathons and keep up in their spin classes, I found myself running low on energy and constantly over-heating.
I never imagined that pregnancy would introduce me to an activity that I love so much—but it didn’t stop there! This past summer we were also able to share our enjoyment for SUPing with our 1.5yr old. He loved getting on the board and it was a great activity for those hot afternoons camping or at the beach. Make sure to read my article on ‘SUPing With Kids‘ and give it a try!