6 Water Sports for Fitness & Fun

Hot summer weather is the perfect opportunity to hit the beach and enjoy some fitness-promoting water sports. For that matter, even a winter vacation to somewhere with a warm beach can be a great opportunity for water sports that double as a source of fitness and fun!

1). Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is like surfing, only much easier and safer.

In fact, it’s more like a cross between surfing and kayaking. Instead of needing to catch a wave all the time, you stand on a long and wide paddle board, thus the name.

Stand up paddle boarding combines the best aspects of surfing and kayaking: the core strength you can develop through balancing – with paddling. This also promotes core muscles, as well as arms, back, abs, glutes, hamstrings, calves and feet.

Paddle boarding is great for SUP yoga, and you can also carry kids or dog on the board while paddling!

The long and the short of it, is that stand-up paddle boarding is both an excellent strength- promoting exercise, a great source of cardio and relaxation. Plus, you get to enjoy the water, and you don’t even need ocean surf – in fact, a placid lake or slow-moving river is even more optimal.

And since paddle boarding is more fun with a friend, you may want to opt for a paddle board 2 pack deal.

2). Swimming

We’ve talked before about performance training, and this certainly fits the bill. Swimming requires no special equipment, and you can enjoy it in your hotel pool, in a local lake or river, or, depending on the locality and how warm it is, even the ocean!

Swimming is a highly fitness-promoting activity. It is one which works out muscles all over your body while also offering you the opportunity to escape the heat. And like most water-based sports and fitness activities, swimming is low-impact, meaning it’s easy on your joints.

3). Rafting

If you have a river, lake, or other substantial body of water nearby – or nearby on your vacation! – give rafting a try.

It’s an excellent workout, one which builds strength in the upper body, including the arms, the back, and the shoulders. Rafting is also good for the core, building strength and contributing to stability.

In addition to being an amazing workout, rafting is also, of course, a great deal of amazing fun. If you and your friends or family are up for the challenge, try taking on some rougher waters – safely, of course. In addition to an even better workout, you’ll get to experience a real thrill.

4). Surfing

Surfing is easily one of the most iconic sports out there, and it’s easy to see why: it pits the surfer against the power of the ocean itself. In addition to being an incredible thrill and an amazing experience, surfing is also a world-class workout.

Surfing starts with swimming out into the ocean with a surfboard to catch the waves in the first place, something which takes a great deal of upper body strength. Then there’s the balance required to stay on the board long enough to ride the wave.

All in all, surfing is fantastic for promoting fitness in the arms, the legs, and the core. Between the fun and the fitness, what more could one ask for?

5). Windsurfing

Windsurfing is, in essence, surfing combined with sailing. The board is fitted out with a sail, and you get to balance on the board like a surfer while directing the sail, as one would with a sailboat.

As a result, you get a workout that is good for your core – because you need to balance to stay on the board – and also good for your upper body, including arms down to lower back. Over time, you’ll find windsurfing is a great cardio workout as well.

For that matter, even if you fall off the board a lot early on, heaving yourself out of the water and back onto the board is good exercise in and of itself.

6). Scuba Diving

Scuba diving may seem counter-intuitive as a leisure activity that can also promote fitness, but in fact, it combines much of what is so fitness-promoting about swimming with the added challenge of carrying around all of that equipment – which can weigh over 50 pounds, making it potentially a very good workout indeed.

In addition to the great workout, there’s also the fact that scuba diving is an excellent way to experience the incredible wonder of undersea environments. It’s hard to beat a combination like that!


The water is a timeless source of both fun and fitness. In addition to offering many wonderful ways to cool off and be refreshed, water-based sports and activities can be incredibly fitness-promoting, allowing you many opportunities to burn calories, build muscle, and get some of the best cardio workouts possible.

So, whether summer is calling or you’re looking to escape colder weather for a warm-water vacation on some sun-kissed tropical beach, enjoy the water and the workouts!