Is Bodyboarding Good Exercise?

Table of Contents

Bodyboarding is a thrilling water sport that involves riding waves on a small foam board. The sport has grown in popularity over the years and is considered a great workout that provides numerous health benefits. In this article, we will examine the benefits of bodyboarding as a workout and answer some frequently asked questions about the sport.


What muscles does bodyboarding work?

Bodyboarding primarily works the muscles in the upper body, as well as the core muscles. The key muscle groups that are engaged during bodyboarding include:

  1. Deltoids and Rotator Cuff Muscles: These muscles in the shoulders and upper arms are used to paddle and propel yourself through the water.
  2. Pectoral Muscles: The muscles in the chest are involved in paddling and provide stability and power during bodyboarding.
  3. Biceps and Triceps: These muscles in the upper arms are utilized when paddling and also provide strength for maneuvers such as duck diving and popping up onto the board.
  4. Latissimus Dorsi: The “lats” are large muscles in the back that assist in paddling and generating power while riding waves.
  5. Core Muscles: The abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis) play a crucial role in maintaining balance, stability, and control while bodyboarding.
  6. Glutes and Quadriceps: These muscles in the lower body help with stability on the board and assist in generating power for maneuvers.
  7. Forearms and Grip Strength: Constant gripping of the board and maneuvering the bodyboard in the water work the muscles in the forearms and contribute to grip strength.


How many calories does bodyboarding burn?

Bodyboarding is a water sport that involves riding waves while lying on a buoyant board. The number of calories burned during bodyboarding can vary depending on several factors, including the intensity of the activity, duration, and individual characteristics such as weight and fitness level.

On average, bodyboarding can burn between 250 to 350 calories per hour for a person weighing around 150 pounds (68 kilograms). However, keep in mind that this is just an estimate, and the actual calorie expenditure may differ.

It’s worth noting that the calorie-burning potential of bodyboarding is relatively lower compared to high-intensity activities like swimming, surfing, or intense land-based workouts. Bodyboarding primarily engages the upper body, particularly the arms, shoulders, and core muscles, while the legs are generally less active. For a more accurate estimation of calorie expenditure based on your specific circumstances, you may consider using fitness tracking devices or consulting with a professional trainer.


Does bodyboarding improve cardiovascular fitness?

Yes, bodyboarding can improve cardiovascular fitness. Bodyboarding involves paddling through the water using your arms, which engages the upper body muscles and increases your heart rate. The continuous paddling and maneuvering against the resistance of the water provide an effective cardiovascular workout.

When bodyboarding, you are essentially performing a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. The repetitive paddling movements engage the muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest, and back, helping to build strength and endurance in these areas. Additionally, the leg muscles are engaged when kicking and maneuvering the board, further contributing to the overall workout.

Regular bodyboarding sessions can improve your cardiovascular fitness by increasing your heart rate, improving lung capacity, and enhancing overall endurance. It can also help burn calories and contribute to weight management. However, it’s important to note that the intensity of the workout will depend on factors such as the conditions of the water, the duration and intensity of the activity, and the individual’s fitness level.

To maximize the cardiovascular benefits of bodyboarding, it’s recommended to maintain proper technique, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your sessions, and incorporate other forms of exercise, such as swimming or aerobic activities, to create a well-rounded fitness routine. Additionally, it’s important to warm up before each session and cool down afterward to prevent injuries and promote recovery.


Is bodyboarding low-impact?

Bodyboarding can be considered a relatively low-impact water sport compared to activities like surfing or waterskiing. However, the impact level can vary depending on various factors such as the size of the waves, the intensity of maneuvers performed, and individual technique.

The nature of bodyboarding involves riding waves while lying on a small, buoyant board and using fins for propulsion. It generally puts less strain on the body compared to activities that require standing or constant impact with the water, like surfing. Bodyboarding can provide an excellent cardiovascular workout and improve core strength and balance.

That being said, certain circumstances can increase the impact and risk of injury while bodyboarding. Powerful waves, especially in large surf conditions, can exert significant force on the body, potentially leading to injuries if not managed properly. It’s important to be aware of your skill level, the conditions, and take necessary precautions such as wearing appropriate safety gear, assessing wave conditions, and practicing proper technique.

As with any physical activity, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before engaging in bodyboarding or any other water sport, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns.


Is bodyboarding suitable for all fitness levels?

Yes, bodyboarding is suitable for individuals of all fitness levels. Whether you are a beginner or have some level of fitness, bodyboarding can be enjoyed by people with varying physical abilities. Bodyboarding involves riding waves while lying on a board, which requires core strength, balance, and coordination. However, the intensity and level of physical exertion can be adjusted based on an individual’s comfort and fitness level. Beginners can start with smaller waves and gradually progress to larger ones as their skills and fitness improve. Furthermore, bodyboarding can be a great way to improve overall fitness, as it engages muscles throughout the body, particularly the arms, core, and legs. Ultimately, bodyboarding can be a fun and accessible water sport for people of all fitness levels to enjoy.


Are there any safety precautions to take when bodyboarding?

Yes, there are several safety precautions to take when bodyboarding. Here are a few important ones:

  1. Use the right equipment: Ensure you have a properly sized bodyboard that matches your weight and skill level. Additionally, always wear a leash to keep the board attached to you.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings: Before entering the water, take note of the conditions, including wave size, currents, and potential hazards such as rocks or reefs. Avoid areas with dangerous rips or undertows.
  3. Warm up and stretch: Like any physical activity, it’s important to warm up your muscles before bodyboarding to prevent strains or injuries.
  4. Wear appropriate safety gear: Consider wearing a wetsuit in cold water to stay warm, and use fins to increase your swimming and maneuvering abilities. Additionally, wearing a rash guard or sunscreen will protect your skin from sunburn.
  5. Know your limits: Bodyboarding can be physically demanding, especially in challenging conditions. Only take on waves that match your skill level and experience. Start with smaller waves and gradually progress as you become more comfortable and skilled.
  6. Maintain good body position: Position yourself properly on the board with your weight centered and your feet toward the back. This will help maintain control and stability while riding waves.
  7. Respect other beach users: Be mindful of swimmers, surfers, and other bodyboarders in the water. Always follow the etiquette and rules of the beach to ensure everyone’s safety.
  8. Stay hydrated: Remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially during hot weather or prolonged bodyboarding sessions.



In conclusion, bodyboarding is an excellent workout that offers numerous health benefits and is suitable for people of all fitness levels. It provides a full-body workout that can burn significant calories, improve cardiovascular fitness, and tone muscles. Safety should always be a top priority when bodyboarding, and with the right precautions, it is a fun and exhilarating sport that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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