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How SUP Can Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety

September 22, 2022

Stress and anxiety are on the rise.

According to an article on Psychiatry Advisor, “During August 19–31, 2020, through December 9–21, 2020, significant increases were observed in the percentages of adults who reported experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder (from 31.4% to 36.9%), depressive disorder (from 24.5% to 30.2%), and at least one of these disorders (from 36.4% to 42.4%).”

This was of course exasperated by the massive changes in our day-to-day lives over the last few years.

Due to this increase, it is obvious that we now need new ways to understand and relieve stress and anxiety if we want to live healthy, optimal lives.

Some popular techniques to relieve stress and anxiety include meditation, yoga, and time in the gym. These are all great ways to help reduce these negative feelings.

While we advocate you take these actions yourself, we also want to shed light on an activity that incorporates parts of these practices while adding in a few additional stress-relieving factors.

That activity (of course) is SUP.

Stand up paddle boarding is an activity that completely alters your state of mind and physical body.

In this article, we discuss how SUP alleviates your stress and anxiety and why you should consider it your go-to option!

Exercise

It’s a well-known fact — exercise helps to relieve stress and anxiety. And it does so almost instantly.

According to the American Insitute of Stress, “Any physical activity improves the capability of your body to use oxygen and it also leads to better blood flow. More significantly, both these things lead to a direct positive effect on the brain. Exercise increases the production of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the neurotransmitters that are responsible for the “feel good” effect you feel. And they also provide you with the much-desired “runners-high”. Simply put, it is the sense of euphoria or wellbeing people receive after performing the exercise.”

As such, exercise should be a part of your daily routine.

However, time spent inside a gym can become dull. After a few sessions, it’s difficult to conjure the motivation to keep going.

Instead of skipping out on exercise, change the way you do it! This will keep your motivation high and will help you look forward to getting your daily sweat in.

One of the best ways to keep things fresh is by spending time on the water. When you paddle a SUP, you work your entire body — from the balance receptors in your feet, your legs, core, all the way up to your shoulders.

And the best part is, the amount of calories you burn and the amount you sweat is completely contingent on how much effort you decide to put into your paddle.

If you want to burn maximum calories you can do a sprint workout. Or, if you want to use SUP on an active recovery day, you can opt for a leisurely paddle on the water.

However you decide to use SUP for exercise, by implementing it into your life, you’ll be able to keep your routine fresh, exciting, and dramatically reduce the occurrence of stress and anxiety.

Natural Light

Modern humans spend too much time indoors. And we definitely spend way too much time in front of computer screens.

At first, this might not seem like a problem.

But if you investigate further, you find out that computers, telephones, and even televisions, give off a frequency of light called blue light.

This frequency can greatly affect your health — and more specifically your sleep.

In this Harvard Health article, researchers, “conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).”

Without proper melatonin, your body cannot enter a deep sleep state and recover. This leads to short-term increases in stress and anxiety as well as long-term issues in heart and metabolic health.

The best way to counter relieve this stress and anxiety? And reduce your blue light exposure? Spend more time outdoors! And one of the best ways to have fun outside is on a SUP.

When you spend time outside on a SUP, you increase levels of Vitamin D, which helps regulate sleep cycles including melatonin production. It also helps boost your productivity, helps to reduce the risk of nearsightedness (especially in children when exposed to natural light vs. blue light), and increases serotonin levels which is a natural hormone that fights depression.

Connect With Nature

Nature is a natural (and free) way to relieve stress and anxiety.

A Stanford study states, “Two groups of participants walked for 90 minutes, one in a grassland area scattered with oak trees and shrubs, the other along a traffic-heavy four-lane roadway. Before and after, the researchers measured heart and respiration rates, performed brain scans, and had participants fill out questionnaires. The researchers found little difference in physiological conditions, but marked changes in the brain. Neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, a brain region active during rumination – repetitive thought focused on negative emotions – decreased among participants who walked in nature versus those who walked in an urban environment.”

When you paddle a SUP, you are immersed in the natural world around you. The sun shines on your skin, the wind blows through your hair, you can hear the birds in the trees, and because the activity involves balance, you automatically must remain present – or you might fall in!

If nature is the prescription for stress and anxiety, an Atoll iSUP is the daily pill to erase all symptoms.

Use your SUP as the vehicle to leave the man-made structures behind and reestablish a strong connection with the natural world around you.

Blue Mind

By spending time near or around water, our bodies naturally release stress and anxiety.

To find out why, researchers decided to understand what happens on a physical level when humans spend time near the ocean, rivers, or lakes.

What they came up with was the term, “blue mind.”

Blue Mind is the term used to describe the state of water-associated peace. Some of the ways water can produce physical and mental health benefits include:

  • Bodies of water trigger involuntary attention, which is essential to problem-solving and creativity.
  • Water increases the neurotransmitters dopamine, sometimes called the feel-good hormone; serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone; and oxytocin, described as the cuddle hormone; and decreases cortisol, described as the stress hormone.
  • Water is a source of awe that expands a person’s compassion.
  • The color, sound, and feel of water can lower pulse rate and increase feelings of calmness.”

Pretty amazing.

And what better way to connect with the natural bodies of water that surround us than by standing on top of an Atoll iSUP?

We can’t think of any better alternatives.

Conclusion

Stress and anxiety are real problems. And ones that have seen a dramatic rise in large portions of the population.

This modern problem will require new, innovative ways to help keep people healthy. And while we always advocate to try out what works best for you…

We believe one of the best ways to live a happier and healthier life is by spending time on a SUP, standing on the water, surrounded by nature, and next to a great friend or two.

Have any questions on how to get started? Send us a message and we will gladly help you decide on your next Atoll iSUP!

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