Can Older People Paddleboard? How It Works and Why It’s Perfect

Paddleboarding has become very popular over the last few years. When you see people gliding through the water it looks like a relaxing and fun activity. Perhaps you would like to join in on all the fun and you might wonder, can older people paddleboard?

Paddleboarding is a perfect activity for older people because it’s easy to learn and has many health benefits. It’s a low-impact full-body workout that improves strength, flexibility, and balance. And it’s a mindfulness exercise that reduces stress and improves your mood. You can learn at your own pace from first sitting (on your knees) to standing up. The risk of injuries is low and the only requirement is knowing how to swim.

As I paddleboard enthusiast I see many older people paddle boarding and having fun on the water. And that is why I’ve done some research into why paddleboarding is great for older people. In this article, I share in-depth information on all the benefits of paddleboarding at an older age, which paddleboard is best for seniors and tips for beginners. So continue reading. But first, some proof. Here is a vlog video of a senior paddle boarding for the first time. Make sure to continue reading below and find out why paddle boarding is one of the best exercises for older people.

Why Paddle Boarding Is Great For Older People

At first sight, paddle boarding perhaps looks like a sport for young people. But as I briefly stated above, it’s actually perfect for older people. It has become very popular amongst seniors and retirees. And that’s mostly because you don’t have to be superfit and athletic to be able to paddleboard. Anyone and everyone can do it. It’s easy to learn and this form of exercise doesn’t exhaust you, and it will gradually strengthen your body as the soothing environment of the water will make you feel relaxed too.

Retirees love to bring an inflatable paddleboard wherever they go on their retirement trips. Also, according to experts, paddleboarding is probably one of the best exercises for seniors because of the many health benefits and low risks involved. And I’m here to tell you all about it.

As you get older staying active is extremely important for your health. Learning new things and being physically and mentally active on a daily basis all contribute to a healthy and happy life. Did you know that the key ingredients for a successful retirement are the combination of daily physical, mental, and social activities? So you wanting to paddleboard at an older age is only bringing you good things in the future.

Physical Benefits Of Paddle Boarding For Older People

  • Improves Balance – The main goal of paddleboarding is staying on the paddleboard. And standing on a board with the instability of the water is an exercise that will improve your balance. You might fall a couple of times in the water on your first attempt, but you quickly will learn how to keep your balance. And having a better balance and coordination helps you maintain independence as you age.
  • Increases Strength – Stand-up paddleboarding is a great exercise that gradually increases your strenght. Trying to keep your balance builds abdominal and core strength quickly and paddling through the water strengthens your arms, legs, back, and shoulders. Regular strength training for older adults plays a vital role in healthy aging and preventing and treating chronic diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis, according to CDC.
  • Low Impact Full Body Work Out – Paddleboarding is a fun exercising activity that gives you a total body workout at a low impact level. Every muscle in your body from head to toe is needed to stay on the board while you move through the water. The low-impact part means that you can’t do any serious damage to your body. And that’s one of the great reasons why it’s a perfect activity for older people. The risk of injuries is very low while you enhance your overall strength and performance.
  • Enhances Flexibility – As you age your joints become stiffer. Paddleboarding enhances your joint support and overall flexibility.
  • Weight Loss – The human body changes as we age. Even when you’re healthy your metabolism slows down and your body fat increases as you get older. And a full-body workout such as paddleboarding helps you lose weight and builds lean muscle tone. You especially strengthen the abdominal muscles and that’s usually the area with the most body fat. The dream of getting that six-pack maybe becomes true after all.
  • Helps With Recovery Of Injuries – Paddleboarding is often used as physiotherapy. Many runners with an injury use paddleboarding to recover from their injury because the muscles needed for paddleboarding are similar to physiotherapy exercises. So when you’re suffering from an injury, ask your physiotherapist about paddleboarding.
  • Prevents DiseasesAccording to the University Of Michigan, “Physical activity is one of the best things you can do to help prevent a heart attack and stroke.” It keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy and lowers blood pressure and controls blood sugar. They suggest doing 2,5 hours of moderate exercising per week helps you to get and stay heart-healthy. Paddleboarding is a moderate way of exercising and that will help you improve your cardiovascular health and prevent the risk of relatable diseases.
  • Decrease Risk Of Falling – As your balance and coordination improve with paddleboarding, the risk of falling decreases. And as you become older recovering from an injury takes much longer and is often harder as well. Not falling helps you maintain your health but also your independence as you get older.
  • Increased Bone Strength – Your bones become weaker and brittle as you age. Exercising and doing strengthing activities such as paddleboarding increases bone strength and overall health according to the National Institute of Health.
  • Boosts The Immune System – As you age your immune system becomes weaker. Exercising is the best cure to improves your overall immune system. But exercising outdoors boosts your immune system even greater. Exposed to sunlight you get your much-needed dose of vitamin D that is essential for a well-functioning body. It prevents osteoporosis, and it reduces inflammation according to this study.

Mental Benefits Of Paddle Boarding For Older People

  • Reduces Stress – Just as being around water decrease the stress hormones in the body, exercising reduces the stress levels of the body’s stress hormones as well. Also, the body releases endorphins during exercising, which are the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.
  • Boosts Your Energy – Breathing in fresh air and exercising gives you an energy boost that ten cups of coffee can’t do. When you want to get rid of some negative energy, go paddleboarding. The fresh air and the water alone will help you get rid of your negative attitude.
  • Improves Cognitive Functioning – According to Harvard Medical School “Practicing a new and challenging activity is a good bet for building and maintaining cognitive skills.“ It even lowers the lower risk of dementia.
  • Nature Improves Your Mood – You feel better emotionally after being in nature. And that is because of negative ions that are present in the mountains, at sea, lakes, and in forests. They stimulate the supply of oxygen to the brain and activating the mind and the body as well as bringing more mental energy.
  • Optimal Environment For Meditation – The soothing environment of the water and the focus you need while paddleboarding is a great environment for meditation. The concentration and awareness that are needed to stay in balance will get you in a “flow” state of mind where your mind is only occupied with the present moment. It takes you away from your thought and feelings which makes you feel calmer and brings you peace of mind.
  • Curbs And Prevents Depression – The combination of being outdoors, surrounded by water, exercising, and your mind occupied in the present moment are all ingredients that help to curb and prevent depression. As you get older loneliness and depression can sneak up on you and paddleboarding is a great remedy that keeps you in a positive spirit and staying socially connected.

What Is The Best Paddleboard For Seniors?

Paddleboards come in all shapes and sizes, so you probably wonder which paddleboard is best for you.

When you’re going to buy a SUP board (stand up paddleboard) there are a couple of things you need to consider first:

  1. What is the primary purpose of your paddleboard?
  2. What’s your height and weight?

Types Of Paddleboards Explained

You have three different types of paddleboards. The all-around paddleboards are more oval in shape and give you a combination of good balance and speed and are great for beginners and versatile use. Touring paddleboards are longer and narrower and have a sharper nose and are used when you want to go faster and make long touring trips. These boards are mostly used by more experienced paddleboarders. And there are activity paddleboards that are wider, thicker, and have a round-shaped nose for more stability which are great for yoga or other water-based fitness on your paddleboard. And when you’re looking for a paddleboard to enjoy together with your whole family, there are 10-person paddleboards available too. So knowing the primary purpose of your paddleboard helps you to select the perfect shape of your paddleboard.

What Size Paddle Board Do You Need?

When it comes to choosing the right paddleboard, size does matter. As you might understand keeping your balance as a big person is much harder when you’re on a short and narrow paddleboard. A lot of people make this mistake. They think that there is a one size fits all paddleboard. But it doesn’t work that way. You’ll have a bad experience which spoils all the fun. Depending on your size and height you can pick out a paddleboard that is between 10′ and 11′ feet and between 30″-“32 wide and 6” thick. The longer, wider, and thicker the board the more stability you’ll experience.

If you want to have more background information about how to choose the right paddleboard I recommend visiting Bluefin Website. They build award-winning paddleboards and can thoroughly explain the difference between paddleboards and guide you step-by-step in choosing the right paddleboard for you.

Best All-round Paddleboard For Older People


The best paddleboard for older people and beginners is this all-around inflatable Bluefin Cruise Paddleboard. It’s the most stable and versatile paddleboard on the market which makes it the most perfect paddleboard for older people. It’s even #1 voted as the most stable paddleboard out there. So if you worry about keeping your balance, this board makes paddleboarding a breeze especially if you’re older. This way you only have to worry about enjoy the ride as much as possible. And the 10’8″ size has a maximum capacity of 330 lbs, but with the 12′ size paddle board you have 385 lbs of maximum capacity, which makes it possible to paddleboard with your friend or partner and your dog at the same time.

Bluefin makes their paddleboards from 1000 Denier Exo Surface Laminate PVC & Pro Weave Drop Stitch which makes their paddleboards the most rigid and durable paddleboards on the market. Also, the paddle is made of ergonomic fiberglass and weighs 45% less than standard paddles, which makes paddling easier.

This paddleboard package comes with a portable and travel-friendly backpack, 2-piece paddle, center fin, leash, and a double-action pump, which means that on both you inflate the board with pumping up and down. And a padded kayak seat so you can turn the paddleboard into a kayak within seconds. And the board has an integrated GoPro mount on the nose so you can capture all your paddleboard adventures with your action camera. Want to know more about this paddleboard, click here.

Paddleboard Beginners Tips

To get you started the right way check out this video that shows you how easy it is to paddle board.

Kirsten Veldman

Since 2017, my husband and I have been location-independent retirees. With hundreds of articles written, I'm passionate about helping other retirees!

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