The Calorie-Burning Power of Paddleboarding - We Put it to the Test!

The Calorie-Burning Power of Paddleboarding - We Put it to the Test!

We all know that paddleboarding is a fantastic form of exercise. It's a great low-impact workout with many health benefits, which allows us to keep active in an easier way. 


However, there's a question that often floats to the surface: how many calories do we actually burn? What factors help us burn more calories? Is paddleboarding actually a really good exercise?


Well, we put it to the test to find out! We gathered our crew at Poole Harbour Watersports and hit the water for a laid-back paddle in our local area. Our goal? To track our activity levels and the time spent on this aquatic adventure.

Burn Calories Paddleboarding - Poole Harbour Watersports Burn Calories Paddleboarding - Poole Harbour Watersports Burn Calories Paddleboarding - Poole Harbour Watersports


Our Paddleboarding Trip

Picture a sun-kissed, relatively calm day in Poole. A trio of us headed from Hamworthy Lake Pier across the channel and down the Wareham River. Our journey included a pit stop at the Granary Pub for some well-deserved lunch. 


We made sure to wear our sports watches to track our route distance, speed, and calories burned. We paddled on touring boards ranging from 12’6” – 14’0” in length. This specific size and shape offer a perfect balance, aiding in gliding and cutting through the water - ideal for going up a river!


All in all, we paddled for 2 hours and 5 minutes and didn’t stop to break at all. While crossing the channel before entering the river, there was a bit of a headwind. This meant that for the first hour, we had to put in a bit more effort!


Over the 2 hours (and 5 minutes) we spent on the water, we paddled 8.76km and burned just under 500 calories - an impressive 250 calories per hour!


As a team, we felt like this was a relaxed-pace paddle and would consider this to be the average rate for anyone, who is recreationally paddling and socialising at the same time!

Calories Burnt Paddleboarding - Poole Harbour Watersports
Calories Burnt Paddleboarding - Poole Harbour Watersports


What fuels Calorie Burn during Paddleboarding?

The Position

The beauty of paddleboarding is that there are no set rules!  Whether you paddle on your knees for hours or stand the whole time - it's your call!

When on your paddleboard, standing up allows you to burn more calories. This is because you'll be working more muscles throughout your body. Your lower body and core come into play for stability, while your upper body powers the paddle strokes. So, for a boost in calorie burn, aim to stand up more often during your paddleboarding sessions!


Your Speed

Speed also plays a vital role in the overall calories you burn. If you're taking it easy and casually paddling, your body won't tap into as much energy. On the flip side, if you're going all out and paddling vigorously for an hour, your muscles are putting in greater effort. Your muscles working harder result in burning a greater number of calories.


The Wind and Conditions

You won't always have to go super-fast to burn more calories. If wind conditions pick up while you're out and you're facing a headwind, you will need to put in more effort to go against the wind, even if you're not moving as fast as before. The added effort through your stance, core, and upper body will also help increase calories burned.


The Preparation and Pack Down

It's worth mentioning that our watches didn't take into consideration the effort put in before being on the water. We didn’t use electric pumps for our boards; we manually pumped up the board, deflated it afterwards, and packed it away. On a bright, sunny day like that, we undoubtedly clocked in some extra calorie burn!

Paddleboarding Exercise - Poole Harbour Watersports

Paddleboard to the River Pub- Poole Harbour Watersports


 We hope this has helped provide an insight into the physical health benefits of paddleboarding and how it can be a great way to get outside, socialise with friends and family, whilst also doing exercise!

Don't forget also about the positive mental benefits it can have too, for more information check out our blog - 'What are the benefits of Stand Up Paddleboarding?'


To take a look at the kit we used on our trip, check out below - 

Inflatable boards - Starboard Touring Deluxe Sc 2023

SUP 3 piece paddles - Starboard Lima Carbon Paddle


If you have any more questions please let us know at

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