Paddle your way fit

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Looking to get fit and have fun at the same time? Grab a paddleboard and hit the water.

"The growth of the sport has been tremendous," said David Clifford of Charleston Watersport.

Perhaps you've seen them. Chiseled, tan bodies perched upon a paddleboard, gliding in the tidal pools of Sullivan's Island or Shem Creek.

"Stand up paddleboarding promotes a longer and leaner muscle," said Clifford, an avid paddleboarder himself.

"Paddle strokes can be altered to emphasize working a particular muscle group, for instance a slight torso twist helps develop the abs and obliques."

Clifford calls it a complete body workout, that's less stressful on the joints and promotes balance.

It also has quite a cardiovascular kick. Just try standing and paddling a couple of miles. You'll quickly find yourself trying to catch your breath.

If that's not enough, some yoga instructors have even taken their body lengthening stretches and poses to the board.

"We've a teamed up with Island Paddle Adventures to provide stand up paddling exercise classes, along with Yoga Lily and Turnleaf to offer more options," said Clifford.

The sport has also become quite competitive with Charleston playing host to several races, including the Third Annual Shem Creek Stand Up Paddleboarding Shootout.

So, how do you get started?

"That's a great question, first time paddleboards should consider an all around type board based on their height, weight and who will be paddling, " said Clifford.

"For instance, if a family is looking to buy one board for the entire family we'd recommend something in the 10'6" to 11'6" range, depending on the physical stature of the entire family."

Clifford says more families and more women are buying boards, in a sport that shows no signs of slowing down.

"I expect the sport to continue rapid growth for the foreseeable future, especially locally with the type and amount of water we have in the low country. "

Who knew working out could be a day at the beach?

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