We’re so excited to introduce you to our new weekly feature, “Ximena’s Fit to Lead”. Our intern Ximena (pronounced C-mena) is a college student living in South Florida. You can also call her Z. (We do!). She is a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast University, hoping to be accepted into the Social Work program. She comes from Lima, Peru, loves to listen to loud music (ideally Spanish music), and in her own words, she loves anything “high intensity”. In her spare time you can find her at Zumba or creating her own choreography, dancing to her own beat, “busting her butt” at Crossfit, or at the beach. As she says, “Yes, I like to keep busy, in case you were wondering.”
As you might have guessed, Z is already pretty into fitness. She tells us that her fitness helps her keep her sanity as a student and her focus in the classroom.
Each Tuesday, Z will be taking us on the next stop on her fitness journey. She might be ice skating. She could be dancing. She could be rock climbing or even cliff diving. With her spirit of adventure you just never know. She’ll be sharing with us what the activity is like, why you might want to try it, and what she got out of it, both mind and body.
Today…Paddle boarding. The perfect summer beach workout, paddleboarding (aside from the calories burned lugging your paddle board as Z points out) burns as much as 850 calories an hour (you better plan on paddling hard and fast to get to that burn though). Beyond that, Z found that it’s good for your soul too:
“It’s amazing how quiet the water actually is. If you thought running alone was quiet this is 40x more. Out on the water it was really just me and my imagination which made for some time for deep thinking and some funny moments too! A few shark attack stories popped into my head. Don’t get carried away when you see a shadow somewhere in your view. I saw something to my left that looked like a floating pizza. It turned out to be a huge ray! Later on my second attempt I saw a Barracuda, and yes I got scared, but I kept on going. There’s nothing wrong with being scared. I just try not to let my fear make me give up on something I want to do. Check out the view of the Boca Raton South Inlet on my video featuring me and my friend Elizabeth (she also helped me carry the paddle board back to my car)!
Normally when I go paddle boarding, I go in the inter coastal. About 95% of the time I go with my boyfriend and he insists on paddling. So pretty much it’s a hitchhiker situation for me and I sit in the front and enjoy the view. The other day I took my paddle board to the beach instead. It was South Florida Hot. 91 degrees and humid, add the beach sand to that and it was so much hotter it burned my feet. I hauled a 40 lb. board from the parking lot to the shore. The water was 84 degrees and as clear and blue as the Caribbean. If my forearms weren’t killing me before they were now. The goal of paddle boarding is keeping your feet parallel and balancing as the waves and current try to push you in the opposite direction and towards shore. Your hands death-gripping the paddle as you try to head out. Trust me, getting sea legs is not as easy as it seems, I started off on my knees, and once I got past the waves on the shore, standing up was no big deal. Actually standing up though made me feel great. It gave me this great sense of accomplishment. Paddling in the open water is much different than the inter coastal. In the intercoastal, you have an ideal goal of where to go. In the open water, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you’re moving or actually where you’re headed, because there is SO much more to explore!”
So for great exercise, a confidence building chance to take on a physical challenge, and an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature while you take some time alone with yourself to “listen to your heart” (as we like to say), we suggest you give paddle boarding a try!