PaddleOn: remarkable effects of stand-up paddling on cancer recovery

For me, stand up paddling provides the mind-clearing benefits of my hot yoga class without having to contort my rather inflexible self into uncomfortable positions in unbearable heat and also the stress-busting effects that my money-sucking downtown bootcamp does…all in the great outdoors.  As a personal (and unscientific) advocate for the benefits of stand-up paddling, I was pleased to hear that my self-centric views of the sport’s health benefits are supported by research – and really important research.

Image source: Pinc and Steel Rehabilitation Trust
Image source: Pinc and Steel Rehabilitation Trust

I recently learned about a remarkable new program called PaddleOn established by the Pinc and Steel Rehabilitation Trust and supported by New Zealand’s Breast Cancer Foundation. In 2015, a pilot of the program was launched to study the effects of stand up paddling over an 8-week period for 62 women battling breast cancer. The results were incredible – with improvements in weight loss, balance and strength as well as psychological improvements in mood, memory and energy levels. The research also noted an increase in confidence levels for the participants as well as an opportunity to be on the water with a group of women facing similar personal challenges.

“I loved being on the water and getting to know other women who have experienced breast cancer. I felt relaxed and free on the water. Was a great way to start my day.” – PaddleOn participant

While the research was a pilot and the first of its kind, it will require further research and studies to further validate the results. However, as a stand-up paddling enthusiast, I was excited to hear that the sport has such potential to help people heal and recover. Do you think the Canadian Cancer Foundation should consider a similar cancer rehab program? I would love to hear what you think.

To read the full PaddleOn report, click here.

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