If you want to stay fit, enjoy the outdoors and fancy trying something new then paddleboarding will tick all the boxes. London based coach – Jason Bergin from Urban Recovery – tells us why paddleboarding can be a great way to experience a city...
I have been teaching water sports professionally all over the world for over 10 years now. During the past five years the sport of paddleboarding has exploded and for good reason. It's relatively easy to learn and it offers incredible health benefits! It really is a full body workout meaning almost every muscle in the body is used at some point during the activity. Because of the balance required, leg muscles will be hard at work attempting to stabilize your centre of gravity, while the arms, back and shoulders are used to propel the paddle & paddleboard in the water. The core, back and abdominal muscles are constantly at work to maintain your balance. Paddleboarding is also low impact, therefore, it is unlikely that you will do damage to the tendons and ligaments of your joints. It's particularly useful for runners that are experiencing shin splints or knee and hip pain, yet still need a good exercise to do while healing!
Beyond the fitness benefits, paddleboarding also reduces stress and allows you to connect with nature. Water naturally soothes the body and exercise helps to reduce stress. Add to all of that the soothing sounds as you glide through the water, the sensation of actually walking on water, and the rhythm of your stroke, and the stress you feel starts to loosen its grip on you and melts away. Being out on the water is calming, and engaging with nature can have a positive effect on your mental health and attitude. In addition, getting some extra vitamin D from the sun is really good for you! Just because you choose to live in a city rather than a coastal town doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sport. London has an incredible amount of useable waterways and exploring them on a paddleboard is truly one of the best ways to experience the capital’s rich history! Here at Urban-Recovery we offer some incredible paddleboard tours throughout the city and surrounding area which are suitable for different levels and experience.
For example you can tour the Regents Canal starting at Little Venice and ending in Docklands. It was named after the Prince Regent, later George IV, and is part of London's Grand Union Canal. It’s a quiet and atmospheric waterway, passing by parks, a zoo, Camden Market, Victorian warehouses and celebrity hangouts. It was originally built to link the huge Grand Junction Canal's Paddington branch with the River Thames, but now is mainly a place of leisure for Londoners and visitors alike.
If you’re a beginner or enjoy yoga you can join us at Royal Victoria Dock in east London for tailor made sessions. The Royal Docks are London’s unique and historic water space. They were once the largest enclosed docks in the world and today the 250 acres of water provide a spectacular setting for the area’s transformation into a vibrant 21st century destination to live, work and play.
For those wanting to experience the best of the River Thames there is a tour from Shepparton to Twickenham. Highlights include: Sunbury Lock, Hurst Park, Hampton Court Palace, Kingston, Teddington Lock, Eel Pie Island and Richmond. This tour takes approximately 5 hours with a tasty lunch stop at a popular riverside pub close to Hampton Court!
If you’re interested in taking up the sport (and know how to swim!) contact Jason Bergin to arrange a beginner lesson in the Docks. The Docks offer clean, flat, sheltered water which promotes fast learning and a more relaxed experience. Once you’ve learnt all the basic skills and feel more confident you’ll be ready to explore more of London’s glorious waterways.