How Does Stand Up Paddle Boarding Compare to Biking and Running?

You’ve probably seen stand up paddle boarding in various advertisements and montages for travel destinations. It’s a great sport because it promotes balance as well as strength, and endurance - the holy trifecta of any sport. Nowadays there are many other variations of paddle boarding: stand up, surfing, yoga, fishing etc. Because of this, it’s being offered more and more all over the world.


If you haven’t experienced stand up paddle boarding, you’re missing out! It’s a ton of fun, you’re guaranteed to get wet, and get a great workout in at the same time. But how does it compare to other sports, like running or biking? This article will break down the differences between stand up paddle boarding and other sports.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand up paddle boarding can be done anywhere as long as it’s on a body of water deep enough for the board. It should also be deep enough that if the participant falls, they don’t hurt themselves by falling into shallow water.


In this sport, individuals stand on boards similar to surf boards and use a paddle to drive themselves forward. Just by standing on the board on the water, a lot of balance is needed.

What muscles does stand up paddle boarding use

Stand up paddle boarding is a full body water sport. It’s low impact, meaning that individuals with knee or joint issues and pain can partake without it damaging their body. As mentioned above it uses the body’s ability to balance, tests your endurance, as well as strength.


Stand up paddle boarding uses a large amount of muscles including core (which is why it makes for great balancing exercise), legs, arms, shoulders, neck and back. It’s a form of exercise that anyone can participate in, regardless of age, weight and athletic ability.

How does it compare to biking?

Maybe you have the opportunity to spend the weekend either stand up paddle boarding or biking or fill in the blank sport. How do you make that decision? Which one is better and how does it compare?


Whichever sport is better truly depending on your own preference. If you simply don’t like water sports, then stand up paddle boarding probably isn’t the right fit for you.

Stand up paddle boarding can be as challenging as you want to. If the weather isn’t ideal, as in windy, then that can create a literal balancing act. Additionally, there are some boards that make it easier to stand than others. This can also impact how hard your core is working.


Biking for example is an aerobic activity that focuses on building leg strength and endurance. Stand up paddle boarding is mostly a core workout, which also depends on leg strength. However, unlike biking, it’s not necessarily an aerobic sport. Biking doesn’t utilize much arm or core strength which are imperative for stand up paddle boarding. Biking can get quite expensive between a safe helmet, a performance bike and clothing. A good helmet alone can cost $100-$150. Comparatively, stand up paddle boarding is cheap. You can get started with excellent equipment with just $500. There’s no specialized clothing for paddle boarding. Last but not least, when you’re biking it’s hard to do it while conversing with others, while when you’re paddle boarding you can have a lot of fun with others.


Let’s discuss the caloric output. On average, an hour of biking will usually cause a person to burn between 400 and 800 calories. Stand up paddle boarding comparatively burns between 600 and 700 calories per hour.


That may sound similar in how many calories are burned, but in reality it’s a big difference. There’s a huge gap between 400 and 800 calories. Let’s say you’re a slower biker and burn less calories, compare it to the 600 calories you could burn by paddle boarding - clearly, one works your body out more than the other!

How does stand up paddle boarding compare to running?

When comparing running to stand up paddle boarding, the biggest difference is wear on joints and staring athleticism. When running it’s helpful to already be at a healthy weight to lessen the impact on the joints. Running is not considered a low impact exercise and can cause pain if done incorrectly. Stand up paddle boarding on the other hand is accessible for all weights and athletic abilities, as well as is low-impact meaning your joints won’t feel it. At the same time, running is once again primarily an aerobic activity but doesn’t work on balance like stand up paddle boarding does.


Back to the caloric comparison - running for an hour on average burns between 400 and 900 calories, which is an even bigger discrepancy compared to biking. It’s difficult to truly compare the two when weight, and physical athleticism play a big role in how many calories are burned.

On the other hand, when compared to running, paddleboarding is more than an excise, you get to explore and see more beautiful places that are off the usual roads. Without a doubt, for those are think running is boring can definitely find more joy in SUP.


Stand up paddle boarding is a fantastic option for those who have weak joints, are just getting into sports, are looking for a fun activity to burn calories with, and are great if you want to get a full body workout in. Running and biking are great options as an addition for cardio and aerobic activity with those who already are in good shape and have a baseline in fitness.

SurfStar is a stand up paddle boarding company focusing on the production and design of high quality paddle boards. SurfStar aims to become a trusted brand in the inflatable paddle board industry with innovative new products coming out each year.


Each of SurfStar’s boards is covered by 1-year warranty. SurfStar aims to make stand up paddle boarding accessible and fun for everyone!




To purchase SurfStar boards on Amazon, click: 



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