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Winter paddle boarding benefits both the body and mind

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Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a sport that is becoming more popular on the quaint and beautiful lakes in in the south. To many the sport of paddle boarding might be considered only a warm weather sport however paddle boarding can be done year round with few if any plunges into the water.

The wonderful health benefits gained from paddle boarding year round is also good news to the retailers in Polk County who sell paddleboards, canoes, and related products. Brooke Walton, co-owner of Terra on Trade, says that her biggest frustration with the sport of paddle boarding is not finding the time to escape from her store and go to the lake.

Walton said that the advancements in fall and winter sportswear allow for her customers to enjoy the sport of paddling year round. Walton said that wearing layered polypro material and fleece keeps the paddler warm even after a soggy mishap. Polypropylene lightweight tops and bottoms coupled with liners and fleece gloves sets up for a cold weather exercise which yields extraordinary physical and metal benefits.

Walton said that material like Polypro and fleece do not retain water like other materials do and keeps the person warm and comfortable. Walton said that for an investment of $800 to $1,200 a person can equip themselves with an 11.6 foot board, paddle and lifejacket. Walton’s store also sells a host of accessories that a paddle boarder could go overboard with but don’t need to.

From the shore paddle boarding appears quiet peaceful, requiring a relaxed demeanor, gentle strokes and an awareness to balance. The surprising payback from the seemingly docile activity of simply standing upright on a board and dipping the face of the paddle in the water is astounding.

Lydia Juenger and Jenny Surrett of Polk County have spent their lives in the equestrian sports world but have now embraced the sport of paddle boarding as a refreshing sport away from the stables. “It strengthens your core and balance which is so vital to riders of all ages,” says Juenger, a trainer and equine sports massage therapist. Surrett, who works in the field of physical and occupational therapy, said that paddle boarding improves overall balance, flexibility and strength.

Surrett said that paddle boarding improves a person’s proprioception or one’s sense of how their limbs are oriented in space. From a weight loss standpoint both Juenger and Surrett have each lost between seven and ten pounds in a very short time, with each seeing noticeable changes in muscle tone.

Juenger said that paddle boarding requires all of a person’s independent aids which include legs, seat and upper trunk. “This simple pain-free exercise improves your intercostal muscles and creates a more flexible trunk,” said Surrett. The constant and gentle stroke of paddling strengthens abdominal muscles and improves both fine and gross motor skills.

For the many residents of Lake Lanier, Adger and Bowen, once the temperature drops out go the boats leaving quiet and peaceful. Paddle boarding just might offer that special opportunity to enjoy these beautiful resources year round.

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