Maroochy Quays

Paddling to better health – Stand-up watersport keeps couple at one with nature

Stand-up watersport keeps couple at one with nature

Keeping fit and healthy is one of many benefits associated with stand-up paddleboarding, according to enthusiasts Melissa Parkinson-Lee and Alister Lee.

The GemLife Maroochy Quays residents, who first moved to the Sunshine Coast with their children in the 1990s, took up the activity a decade ago, after gaining inspiration from their son-in-law and well-known professional surfer and stand-up paddler James `Billy’ Watson, who was a regular at events such as the 32-mile paddleboard race from Molokai to Oahu in Hawaii.

“James married our daughter Bianca, who was a high-achieving Australian ironwoman. They both love to paddleboard and it looked like such fun, we just had to give it a go, especially as we were living on a canal at the time,” said Melissa.

The popular water sport requires a system of paddling which is much like that used in a canoe or kayak but instead of sitting down and rowing, enthusiasts stand up on the board and dig into the water with a long paddle to move along, according to the fit grandmother of five.

“It is not only great for fitness but can be so graceful, and a beautiful way to explore our waterways,” said Melissa.

“The health benefits are many with stand-up paddleboarding also assisting people with their balance. It can relieve the stress of everyday life too because suddenly you are surrounded by the calming effects of nature. At the same time, you are exercising your whole body. What could be better?”

Melissa said there are many places on the Sunshine Coast to enjoy the popular activity including the Maroochy and Mooloolah Rivers, lakes, canals and even GemLife Maroochy Quays’ Eudlo Creek waterway which is close to home.

The couple, who have been paddleboarding for the past ten years, keep a hectic work, life and exercise schedule which would challenge a person half their age, with Alister cycling 500kms each week and Melissa working out at the gym.

Paddleboarding is something they both enjoy.

“The freedom of being out on the water is something really special, and it draws us back again and again,” said Melissa.

Benefits of Paddleboarding

  • Exercises the entire body: Paddleboarding works the torso, shoulders, legs, arms, core and back muscles.
  • Low impact: Paddleboarding is a low impact workout and, as such, can help people increase their strength or recover from injuries.
  • Helps with balance: It takes balance to stand up on a paddleboard. This requires building up leg and core strength for better overall balance.
  • Assists with weight loss: Studies have shown that paddleboarding can assist in lowering body fat.
  • Improves mindset: In addition to a range of health benefits, paddleboarding can also improve cognitive function, focus and mood.
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