Gina Bradley (aka the Paddle Diva) shares tips for staying healthy and fit throughout the winter.
Championing innovative athletic methods and an empowering spirit, stand up paddle boarding (or SUP) is an ancient form of surfing from the Hawaiian Islands that focuses on core muscles, upper body, and legs. We chat with Gina Bradley, better known as the Paddle Diva, about her dedication to SUP, her tips for staying in shape, and more.
What would you tell someone who is out of shape and looking to get fit? GINA BRADLEY: Start slow! Walking is the best way to get fit. It takes the least amount of preparation and is the best thing to get started. From there, start eating right, think about what your body needs versus [what it] wants. Then, fuse in some sort of stretching and core building work like SUP, or, if that is not available, yoga, Pilates, or stretch classes.
Do you have to be flexible or have any prior athletic experience to try stand up paddle boarding?
GB: Just the willingness to try! If you can get from a kneel to a stand that is great, as that is one of the ways we get people up and moving on the boards. But, that is not required. We have tricks and ways to get everyone up and paddling freely along.
What are your top tips to stay in shape for the winter?
GB: Move every day for 30 minutes. Housework, shopping, and walking the dog count. Eat healthy. Laugh and smile at least ten times a day... mental health is as important as physical health.
If you could change anything about the fitness industry, what would it be?
GB: I try to encourage my clients to love their bodies exactly where they are and not aspire to anything but feeling good from the top down (brain to toes) and do things that they love to do.
It seems like the Paddle Diva experience is equally spiritual and physical. How do you cultivate such a motivating atmosphere?
GB: I am genuine. Paddle Diva is a place where people find compassion, inspiration, and acceptance because the sport is so forgiving and allows for anyone willing to try to take it on. We don't promote anything but having a great time, learning how to paddle safely and properly, so the best kind of fitness can be achieved. I walk the walk and talk the talk, that is key to being a leader in the SUP industry.