April 17, 2024

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Is Kayaking Good Exercise? Things To Know

8 min read
is kayaking good exercise

Learn the benefits of kayaking for yourself and how enjoyable it is.

It’s not surprising that kayaking is becoming increasingly popular. Kayaking is a fun activity that you can do by yourself or with a group of friends to pass a few hours or an entire day.

Is kayaking an effective workout? Yes, kayaking strengthens your core by requiring you to rotate your torso. Paddle strokes exercise your upper body. Through quick, heart-pounding movement, it strengthens your cardiovascular system.

Additionally, it challenges your mental state as you must figure out how to navigate various whitewater maneuvers, face your fears, and dispel any self-doubt. For more information, continue reading.

Is Kayaking Good Exercise?

Kayaking can be a great workout if done correctly. You won’t get any exercise, however, if you simply float down the river without making any paddle strokes.

Kayaking needs to be treated like exercise if you plan to use it as such.

Sprinting is the best exercise for kayakers on flat water. Paddle at full “race pace” for one minute, rest for 20 seconds, then paddle at “race pace” for another minute. Repeat this exercise as many times as necessary until your core becomes weary.

Catching as many eddies, doing as many ferries, and surfing as many waves as you can is the best way to work out when you are kayaking downriver in a creek boat. If you are paddling a class II rapid, you should try to find moves that will make it feel like a class III rapid.

If you are paddling class III, try to find moves that make it harder and more like class IV. When you push yourself to the limit each time you are out on the water, your strength, endurance, and skill will all improve.

You will almost certainly work out if you are kayaking in a playboat on a standing wave. Due to the fact that you must maintain core stability while surfing waves, freestyle kayaking is a fantastic core workout.

is kayaking good exercise

Kayaking as much as you can is the best way to get stronger from it. Your strength and skill will advance more quickly the more time you spend paddling, sprinting, and riding waves in your boat.

Can Kayaking Help You Build Muscle?

Although not in mass, kayaking is a workout that will increase muscle tone. You will develop a solid base of strength while kayaking because it is such a fast-paced sport and a large portion of the workout is cardio. However, it is unlikely that you will gain much muscle mass. Kayaking is beneficial for internal muscle growth and resiliency.

What Muscles Does Kayaking Work?

Kayaking provides a full-body workout that hits several muscle groups in addition to calorie burning. Those who have joint problems might still be able to participate in the sport because it has a very low impact.

Kayaking exercises 12 major muscle groups, including the abs, biceps, triceps, lats, deltoids (shoulder), quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings (backside), quads (front side), glutes (buttocks), and calves.

Because it requires repetition, kayaking is a great way to build arm, back, shoulder, and body muscles. You’ll see a growth in muscularity and strength after each session because the sport uses every muscle in the body. Adding muscle will boost your caloric burn and hasten your weight loss.

The back and shoulders get an excellent workout from kayaking movements. To row, you must lift the paddle forward and to the front, shifting weight from your lats to your shoulders and focusing on your anterior, lateral, and rear deltoids in a quick, single movement. Since this is an isometric movement, your muscles are being worked statically.

As it is performed standing against gravity with both arms making opposing motions at the same time, it also provides a complete upper-body and core workout. As you stabilize yourself on waves or choppy water to avoid falling or capsizing, this strengthens the entire torso region.

Is Kayaking Good for Your Heart?

is kayaking good exercise

You can choose your level of intensity when kayaking, which is a great cardio workout. For someone who is new to exercise or only wants moderate aerobic exercise, a leisurely paddle on a slow-moving river or a calm lake is ideal. All you need for better physical health is 150 minutes of exercise per week.

All you have to do to really get your heart pumping if you’re looking for something a little harder is pick up your paddling. High-intensity sprints are a great way to change it up. 30 seconds of as hard and quickly as you can, followed by a 10-second break. After six repetitions, pause for a moment. Taking ferries or paddling upriver are both options if you’re on a river.

What benefits does paddling have for your heart and overall health?

In addition to strengthening your heart, aerobic exercise also lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Heart disease and stroke risk are decreased by a heart that is stronger and healthier as well as a cardiovascular system.

Kayaking was cited by Men’s Health as one of the best cardio exercises because it focuses on the upper body, making it one of the few.

It’s good news for people with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance that engaging in a quality cardio workout also lowers blood sugar levels.

Is Kayaking a Good Way to Increase Endurance?

Do you wish you had more vigor and endurance during the day? Do you get exhausted after a short block walk? Kayaking is a great activity for increasing your endurance because you paddle for long periods of time.

Soon you will learn that you can kayak farther without getting tired. Additionally, you’ll notice that you have more energy throughout the day and that tasks around the house are simpler.

Is Kayaking Cardio (aerobic) Or Strength (anaerobic)?

Kayaking is a strength- and cardiovascular-training activity.

As a cardiovascular exercise, paddling takes energy, making the heart pump more forcefully and faster. Additionally, it will make you breathe more quickly, allowing more air to enter your lungs and supply your body with the additional oxygen it requires.

is kayaking good exercise

As a result of your muscles’ increased oxygen needs, this keeps your blood vessels dilated. Additionally, research has demonstrated that paddling increases the number of capillaries in the muscles.

As an aerobic exercise, kayaking strengthens your entire body. Paddling engages nearly all of your muscles as you maintain stability and balance. In order to turn your torso during the proper paddling technique, your back and core muscles must be engaged. These muscles get stronger with each stroke because of the exercise.

The other arm is stretched and contracted as you row back with the other. Your arms and chest muscles are engaged as a result. Your triceps and biceps are worked as you row in with one arm and counter with the other, building a strong, bulky arm that adds to the strength of your upper body.

Additionally, think about carrying your gear from the house to the car, then from the car to the river, to get an even better workout than just paddling. Setting everything up and taking it down can be a workout in and of itself, even if you have a lightweight inflatable kayak!

This series of exercises work the muscles in both your upper and lower body, which helps you burn more calories and increase your strength. For a more effective workout, you can change the speed and force of your paddling strokes.

How Many Calories Does Kayaking Burn?

Kayaking burns 300-420 calories per hour of paddling. Harvard Medical School found that the amount of calories burned depends on the kayaker’s weight:

  • A 125 lbs person will burn 300 calories per hour of kayaking
  • A 155 lbs person will burn 360 calories per hour of kayaking
  • A 185 lbs person will burn 420 calories per hour of kayaking

You can see that paddling is an enjoyable way to burn off stubborn fat.

Your weight has an impact on how many calories you burn. When kayaking for an hour, a 150-pound person can expend more than 350 calories. You will burn more fat if you weigh more because it takes more energy to move a heavier person.

is kayaking good exercise

Of course, you have to actually paddle for it to benefit your body. It is impossible to burn calories by simply floating down a river.

Is Kayaking a Good Ab Workout?

For good posture, balance, and stability, you need a strong core. Injury risks, particularly to your back, can be decreased by it. Daily tasks become simpler when you have a strong core. Throughout the entire kayaking experience, your abs are working to keep your body balanced and upright.

Your obliques are worked by the twisting motion. As you exercise, you work the muscles in your lower back in addition to strengthening your abs. You’ll get six-pack abs much faster from a fun day of paddling than from hours of crunches and sit-ups at the gym.

Conclusion: Go Kayaking Now!

Paddling isn’t typically associated with fitness when it comes to kayakers, but it actually benefits your muscles and cardiovascular system more than you might realize.

Along with your upper body, your legs and hips are also worked out. Additionally, it speeds up your metabolism, aiding in the removal of body fat from numerous locations, leaving you lean and flexible.

Kayaking is an outdoor activity that will never get boring, unlike other workouts that get boring because of how repetitive they are.

Kayaking can help you lose weight and is a great workout, but it can’t do everything. It is a beneficial form of exercise, but if you want to lose weight, you’ll also need to adjust your diet and lifestyle in conjunction with a doctor or dietician.


What Are the Disadvantages of Kayaking?

  • Shoulder, possibly resulting in a strain or sprain.
  • Wrist: Overuse injuries to the wrist joints can develop as a result of the repetitive motion of moving the paddle.

What Are the Three Golden Rules of Kayaking?

The three golden rules are a set of rules that, when followed, will let you paddle the most efficiently and help keep you safe on the water: All of your strokes must utilize the strength of torso rotation. A suitable paddling location must be selected. You need to have a plan in case you capsize.

What Should You Not Do in a Kayak?

  • A first kayak trip shouldn’t be undertaken in rough water.
  • The weather shouldn’t be something you don’t know.
  • Wearing a personal protection item is required at all times.
  • You shouldn’t believe that nothing negative will occur.
  • You shouldn’t keep your kayaking plans to yourself.
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