When you start riding your board, you engage your core muscles to maintain your balance. Performing maneuvers will use other muscle groups related to your movement. When you wipe out (and you will), then it’s certainly swimming for you.
All these moves contribute to a whole-body workout. One of the most important benefits of this activity is the loss of weight when accompanied by a sensible diet. You have to be fit to participate in this sport fully. This does not mean you have to have a pro’s lean body, but you must be in reasonable shape. Bodyboarding consistently will keep your weight at an acceptable level and geared up for a great ride.
Is Bodyboarding a Good Workout?
No, it’s not a good workout. It is a super workout! It’s cardio. It’s physical. It’s mental. And it’s all done in the great outdoors on beaches in particular. It couldn’t get any better than that. Like swimming, which you do more than half of the time in bodyboarding, it is a full-body workout that will have you gasping for breath if you do it right.
It works out your entire body starting from your legs, your trunk, arms, and upper body muscles. Not to mention the off-water exercises you must do to keep in shape for bodyboarding. So yes, it’s more than a good workout.
What Are the Benefits of Bodyboarding?
There are two main benefits to bodyboarding. The first one may not be too obvious, but it may be the more important one. Bodyboarding will do wonders for your mental well-being. Engaging in bodyboarding will relieve stress since you have to focus exclusively on the task at hand and stop worrying about anything else at the moment except for the wave in front of you. Add to that a successful ride, and you cannot put a price on that.
The second is the physical benefit you get from it. It is strength training, and cardiovascular training rolled into one watersport. Researchers recommend at least 2-3 hours of moderate exercise per week. A session or two bodyboarding more than adequately covers this recommendation. But why stop at 2-3 hours when you’re having fun?
Participating in any sport has been proven to reduce stress as the body releases serotonin, otherwise known as the “feel-good” chemical. To quote the poet John Locke “A sound mind in a sound body is a short, but full description of a happy state in this World: he that has these two, has little more to wish for ..”. As Yoda might say of John Locke, bodyboarder he probably is.
What Muscles Are Used in Bodyboarding?
The most conspicuous muscle at play here is the core group of muscles. It would help if you had your core muscles to maintain your position on the board and perform the maneuvers. The core muscles are basically the muscles in the middle of your body. That includes the abdominal muscles, back muscles, glutes, and obliques.
You also get to work out your leg muscles during the paddle out and when riding the board. Aside from the leg muscles, you also utilize your biceps, triceps, chest, and back muscles during the paddle out. The paddle out is a strenuous part of this activity, so you will have the opportunity to work out those muscle groups more than half the time. All in all, it’s a total body workout.
Does Bodyboarding Build Muscle?
Bodyboarding not only tones but also builds muscles. When paddling out, the swim builds up and strengthens the arm muscles, the chest, and the upper body muscles. The back muscles also get their share of exercise. The paddle out is a rigorous activity that you do more than half the time when bodyboarding, so you get a really intense workout.
The ride itself works another group of muscles, the core. Strengthening and building up these muscles helps you with maintaining balance on the board. A strong core helps you to do tricks and maneuvers.
Is Bodyboarding Good Cardio?
Much like swimming, bodyboarding will strengthen your cardiovascular system. Your heart rate will go up, and the lungs will work overtime to provide oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. This is as good as a cardiovascular workout your body will get.
As a bonus, you get the same cardio benefits from running and similar exercises without the stress on your joints. The water alleviates the impact of exercise on the body’s joints. Let’s face it; you have to have a great cardiovascular system when you wipe out while bodyboarding. You need to hold your breath for a significant amount of time, especially if it’s spectacular.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Bodyboarding?
One hour of bodyboarding burns about 400 calories, 500 if you’re riding waves in cold water beaches. Of course, this will also depend on how intense your workout is. You may take it easy when paddling out, or you may choose to make it more dynamic and burn up those calories faster.
The important thing here is you are enjoying the sport of bodyboarding while getting rid of unwanted calories. No more boring, repetitive gym workouts if that is not your thing. Combined with a sensible diet, bodyboarding will have you looking trim if not ripped in no time.
Can You Lose Weight Bodyboarding?
Bodyboarding is a fun way to lose weight. Aside from the exercise that burns off fats, it introduces you to a surfing culture conducive to eating healthy. To keep fit for bodyboarding, you must unavoidably live a healthy lifestyle. This translates to a better body metabolism that keeps your motor revved which in turn burns all those calories efficiently.
Bodyboarding works out all muscle groups, and this results in a natural weight loss. Developing those muscles will have you burning calories rapidly, and you lose weight fast. Combining this with complementary activities like running, cross-fit, or any other form of exercise will push your weight loss journey to new levels. Other factors like a practical diet would push it further.
How to Train for Bodyboarding
First, be a capable swimmer. Make learning to swim a priority, as it would be a funny sight to see a bodyboarder being rescued by lifeguards after each wipeout. Being a competent swimmer means that you will be safe in the water. It would give you the confidence to stick with keep bodyboarding despite the expected setbacks. It will also give you the cardio endurance for the paddle out. Practice using your fins in shallow waters in the ocean or in the pool if allowed.
Stretches would help in preparing you for your next bodyboarding session. It keeps you flexible—an essential facility to have. Yoga also gives you the dexterity to keep your posture and balance. Light weights, like medicine balls, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc., will keep you in shape and promote arm and general body strength. Keep reps to where you can feel some resistance to maintain or increase your level of training.
The Best Exercises for Bodyboarding
As any athlete knows, the first and most important exercise is developing one’s mental strength. In bodyboarding, you might be facing a gentle swell that suddenly morphs into a monster wave threatening to swallow you up. Although this might not really happen, being prepared to deal with such an abrupt change could be the difference between an epic ride or disaster. Expecting unexpected conditions will keep you safe and sound.
Physical exercises to improve your bodyboarding include stretches. Stretching keeps you limber and agile. Another exercise to keep you supple is yoga as well as any twisting movements. Ab crunches, burpees, and lunges strengthen your core, a vital part of maintaining posture and balance. Skipping rope for cardio, push-ups for shoulder strength, and plank for core strength are all excellent exercises for bodyboarders.
Can You Bodyboard When Pregnant?
Bodyboarding, especially after the first trimester of pregnancy, might be too dangerous to the fetus as it moves to the front of the abdomen after the twelfth week. That means you will put pressure on it at this time. In fact, it might be dangerous even during the first trimester. Better yet, get a doctor’s opinion or even a second opinion if it’s safe for you to do so even during the first trimester. Each pregnancy is going to be different, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Another thing to consider is that there are other surfers out there over whom you don’t have control. Accidents could happen, and it’s not going to be worth it. You can get back to bodyboarding after giving birth and exercise your way to get your pre-pregnancy body back at the same time. That’s a win-win; you should take any time.
But if you REALLY must go bodyboarding while pregnant, these tips might help you enjoy that experience without getting too worried about your baby.
- Use a foam board for additional cushioning for your belly.
- Go small. Be content with a smooth ride rather than an exciting one.
- Avoid paddling out if at all possible.
- Have shorter stints than your usual surfing sessions.
- Avoid crowds. You don’t want anybody running into you in your present condition.
- Have someone with you just in case you need help.
Does Bodyboarding Get You Fit?
Let us count the many ways how bodyboarding gets you mentally and physically fit.
- Coordination: Your coordination improves. Maintaining your balance on the board will take all your concentration. You will have to make minute adjustments to keep on surfing.
- Lower body: Your leg muscles get a workout when paddling out.
- Upper body: So do your arms, upper body, and back muscles.
- Abs: Your core gets its turn to come into play. You involve it when you get on your board to ride the wave.
- Cardio: Your cardiovascular system, heart, and lungs work even harder to pump oxygen to your bloodstream, thereby strengthening it as a whole.
- Mental training: Your brain gets into the action as well. Split-second decisions have to be made, so all those neurons have to keep firing.
- Stress relief: Last but not least, bodyboarding clears your mind and relieves stress. It gets you to focus on the here and now. You reboot your mind and gives it a fresh start. This is an immeasurable benefit of bodyboarding.