by Kealy McNeal
Paddling is often thought of as an activity for the young and highly active, but that is not always the reality. Paddling destinations around Sanibel are often calm and great for people of any skill level. Paddling activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and the increasingly popular local favorite of stand-up paddleboarding can be low impact while improving your health.
If practiced consistently, paddling can increase muscle strength in your back, arms, shoulders and chest. Paddling activities can also be a great cardiovascular workout to increase stamina and promote weight loss. No matter your fitness level, we think becoming healthier by getting out on the water and enjoying the natural world sounds a lot better than going to the gym.
One more health benefit offered by paddling is the dose of Vitamin D provided by the sun. Prolonged exposure to the direct sun increases your chance of getting sunburned, but the right amount of Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and promotes strong bones. Be sure to always protect your skin by applying sunscreen before and during your paddle. It is also encouraged to wear sunglasses and a hat to protect you from strong UV rays.
If you are interested in paddling but aren’t sure where to begin the process, Ocean Tribe Paddlers organizes meet-ups each month for paddling enthusiasts to enjoy the community of a group paddle, share tips, and meet new paddling friends. Learn more about our upcoming events at oceantribepaddlers.org. You can bring your own equipment or you can borrow some of ours – come explore with us.