How Many Calories Can I Burn SUP Paddling
How Many Calories Can I Burn SUP Paddling

Imagine gliding across the water, feeling the gentle breeze on your face as you paddle your way to a better you. SUP paddling, short for Stand-Up Paddleboarding, is not only a fantastic way to explore the great outdoors, but it’s also an incredibly effective workout.

But how many calories can you expect to burn during this exhilarating activity?

In this article, we’ll uncover the hidden potential of calorie-burning while SUP paddling, giving you all the motivation to grab your board and set off on a calorie-burning adventure.

Benefits of SUP Paddling

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is not only a fun and enjoyable activity but also offers numerous benefits for our overall health and well-being. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, SUP can engage multiple muscle groups, improve balance, and provide a great cardiovascular workout.

Muscle Engagement

One of the significant benefits of SUP paddling is the engagement of various muscle groups throughout the body. Unlike other forms of exercise, SUP paddling requires using the arms and shoulders and the core muscles, back, and legs.

Standing and balancing on the board activates the muscles in our legs, while paddling recruits the upper body muscles, particularly the arms, shoulders, and back. Over time, this can increase muscle strength and tone in these areas.

Improves Balance

Maintaining balance on a paddleboard is crucial, and by incorporating SUP paddling into our routine, we can improve our overall balance and stability. Balancing on a wobbly surface while navigating through the water forces us to utilize the muscles responsible for maintaining equilibrium.

Regularly practicing SUP paddling can enhance our proprioception, which is our body’s ability to sense its position and movement in space. Improved balance benefits our paddleboarding skills and carries over into daily activities, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy heart and boosting our fitness levels. SUP paddling provides an excellent cardiovascular workout, as it increases our heart rate and promotes increased oxygenation of the blood.

The continuous paddling motion, combined with the resistance of the water, challenges our cardiovascular system, improving its efficiency over time. Regular SUP sessions can help strengthen our heart and lungs, improve circulation, and enhance our cardiovascular health.

Factors Affecting Calorie Burn

The number of calories we burn during a SUP paddling session can vary depending on several factors. It’s essential to consider these factors when determining the intensity of our workout and setting fitness goals.

Body Weight

Our body weight affects how many calories we burn while SUP paddling. Generally, the more we weigh, the more calories we burn during physical activity. This is because moving a heavier body through the water takes more energy. However, it’s important to note that this is just one factor to consider in the overall calorie-burning equation.

Paddle Intensity

The intensity at which we paddle also affects the number of calories burned. The more complex and vigorous we paddle, the more our heart rate and energy expenditure will increase. When aiming for a more intense workout, we can increase our paddle speed, put more power behind each stroke, or challenge ourselves by paddling against the current or wind. Incorporating bursts of high-intensity intervals into our paddling sessions can boost calorie burn even further.

Wind and Water Conditions

The wind and water conditions can impact the intensity of our paddleboarding workout. Paddling against strong winds or currents requires more effort and energy, resulting in a higher calorie burn. On the other hand, paddling with the wind or in calm waters may provide less resistance, resulting in a slightly lower calorie burn. While we cannot control the weather conditions, knowing how they can influence our calorie burn and adjusting our paddling pace accordingly is essential.

Average Calorie Burn Rate

The average calorie burn rate during SUP paddling sessions can vary depending on the intensity and duration of the workout. Here are estimations for different levels of paddle intensity:

Moderate Paddle

During a moderate paddle, where we maintain a steady pace and paddle with moderate effort, we can expect to burn approximately 305-430 calories per hour. This level of intensity is suitable for beginners or those looking for a leisurely paddle.

Vigorous Paddle

Increasing the intensity to a vigorous paddle, where we maintain a faster pace and paddle with more effort, can elevate the calorie burn to approximately 615-708 calories per hour. This level of intensity is suitable for paddlers who want a more challenging workout or are looking to burn more calories.

Race Intensity Paddle

The calorie burn can reach even higher levels for those participating in SUP races or engaging in high-intensity training sessions. The number of calories burned during a race-intensity paddle will depend on factors such as body weight, speed, and duration, but it can range from 708 to 1,023 calories per hour or more.

Calculating Calorie Burn

To calculate the number of calories burned during a SUP paddling session, we can use the concept of metabolic equivalents, or MET values. MET values represent the ratio of the metabolic rate during physical activity to the resting metabolic rate.

MET Values

The MET value for an activity represents the energy expenditure per hour of that activity relative to the resting metabolic rate. For example, a MET value of 1 indicates that the activity burns the same number of calories per hour as our resting metabolic rate.

METs for SUP Paddling

For SUP paddling, the MET value ranges from 4.5-10, depending on the intensity of the paddle and individual factors such as body weight. A moderate paddle typically has a MET value of around 4.5-6, while a vigorous paddle can have a MET value of 6-7.5 or higher.

Calculating Calorie Burn

To estimate the calorie burn during a SUP paddling session, multiply the MET value by our body weight in kilograms and the duration of the activity in hours. This will provide an approximate total calorie burn for the session. It’s important to remember that these are estimates, and individual variations can occur.

Tips to Increase Calorie Burn

If our goal is to maximize calorie burn during SUP paddling sessions, there are a few tips we can follow to increase the intensity and duration of our workouts:

Longer Paddling Sessions

Increasing the duration of our paddling sessions can naturally increase the calorie burn. Gradually extend the length of our sessions by adding a few extra minutes each time, ensuring that we have enough time to warm up and cool down adequately. Longer paddling sessions also provide more opportunities for exploring new areas and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Increase Paddle Intensity

We can increase the intensity of our paddle strokes to boost calorie burn. Focus on engaging the core, legs, upper body, and paddle with more power and speed. Incorporating intervals of high-intensity paddling, where we exert maximum effort for short bursts of time, can also contribute to increased calorie burn.

Incorporate HIIT Training

High-intensity interval Training (HIIT) can be incorporated into our SUP paddling routine to increase calorie burn further. Add short bursts of intense paddling, followed by periods of active recovery. This alternating pattern challenges the cardiovascular system and accelerates calorie burn. For example, paddle at maximum effort for 30 seconds, then paddle at a comfortable pace for 1 minute as recovery. Repeat this pattern throughout the session.

Safety Considerations

While SUP paddling is a safe and enjoyable activity, it’s essential to prioritize safety to ensure a positive experience on the water. Here are a few important safety considerations:

Wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD)

Always wear a personal floatation device (PFD) when SUP paddling. A PFD provides buoyancy and ensures our safety in case of unexpected falls, accidents, or fatigue. Choosing a PFD that fits properly and is suitable for water sports activities is crucial.

Be Aware of Surroundings

Before heading out on the water, familiarize yourself with the area and any potential hazards or obstacles. Be aware of other watercraft, swimmers, and wildlife in the vicinity. Monitor changing weather conditions and avoid paddling in adverse weather, strong currents, or unfamiliar waters.

Paddle with a Buddy

Whenever possible, paddle with a buddy or a group. Not only does it enhance the overall experience, but it also provides an extra level of safety. In case of emergencies or difficulties, having someone nearby can be reassuring and assist in case of need.

Other Health Benefits of SUP Paddling

Apart from the calorie burn and physical fitness aspects, SUP paddling offers additional health benefits that contribute to our overall well-being:

Stress Reduction

Immersing ourselves in the peacefulness and serenity of the water can have a calming effect on our minds and bodies. SUP paddling allows us to disconnect from our daily stresses and enjoy the present moment. The rhythmic movement of paddling, combined with the tranquility of nature, helps to reduce stress, lower cortisol levels, and promote a sense of relaxation.

Improved Core Strength

Maintaining balance on a paddleboard requires engaging the core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back. Regular SUP paddling can strengthen and tone these muscles, improving core strength and stability. A strong core enhances our paddling abilities, supports better posture, and reduces the risk of back pain.

Enhanced Mental Well-being

Spending time in nature and engaging in physical activity has been linked to improved mental health and well-being. SUP paddling allows us to connect with nature, enjoy the beauty of our surroundings, and escape the pressures of daily life. It can boost mood, increase happiness, and promote a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence.

SUP Paddling and Weight Loss

If our goal is weight loss, SUP paddling can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle. While it alone may not be a magic solution for shedding pounds, it can contribute to our overall weight loss journey.

Supplementing a Healthy Diet

To effectively lose weight, a healthy and balanced diet is essential. Pairing SUP paddling with a calorie-controlled diet can enhance calorie burn and create a calorie deficit, resulting in weight loss. By incorporating SUP paddling into our routine, we increase our energy expenditure, helping to create a sustainable calorie deficit.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is vital when it comes to weight loss. Aim for regular SUP paddling sessions, ideally two to three times per week, and other forms of exercise. Consistency helps to maintain a higher metabolic rate, improve overall fitness levels, and promote weight loss.

Tracking Progress

Please keep track of our progress to stay motivated on our weight loss journey. Record the calories burned during each SUP paddling session, monitor body weight or measurement changes, and track improved paddling skills and endurance. Having visible proof of our progress can be empowering and inspire continued dedication.


SUP paddling is a versatile and beneficial activity for individuals of all fitness levels. SUP paddling offers numerous advantages, from engaging multiple muscle groups and improving balance to providing a cardiovascular workout and enhancing mental well-being.

By considering factors that affect calorie burn, utilizing HIIT training techniques, and prioritizing safety, we can optimize our SUP paddling experience.

Whether our goal is weight loss, stress reduction, or improving overall fitness, SUP paddling is a fun and effective way to achieve our goals while enjoying nature’s beauty and the water’s tranquility.

So grab your paddleboard, head out to the water, and experience the countless benefits of SUP paddling firsthand.

Diana Hanson
Hi there! I'm Diana Hanson, a SUP enthusiast and paddler with over ten years of experience. I have a deep love for exploring new places and trying out new things on my SUP board. Whether it's gliding across a peaceful lake, navigating a fast-moving river, or riding the exhilarating waves of the ocean, I'm always up for an adventure. As the author of the website, I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience with others. My goal is to help beginners learn the skills needed to paddle safely and confidently. I understand the challenges that novices face when starting out, and I'm dedicated to providing them with valuable tips and advice. But my passion doesn't stop there. I also strive to assist experienced paddlers in taking their skills to the next level. Through, I constantly update the site with the latest SUP gear reviews, insider tips, and expert advice. My aim is to ensure that everyone, regardless of their skill level, can get the most out of their paddling experience. I take great pride in my work, and I have been fortunate to receive recognition in the form of prizes and rewards for my contributions to the SUP community. It's an honor to be able to share my passion for this incredible sport with others, and I hope that through, I can inspire and empower fellow SUP enthusiasts to embark on their own unforgettable journeys. Join me on, and let's dive into the exciting world of SUP together!