Last Updated on July 21, 2022 by Afsar
Participating in various types of exercise and sports is a great way to stay in shape. Many people go running or play basketball, with an even larger segment of the population opting for the gym. However, we are all familiar with how crowded gyms are becoming, and the workouts are often tedious and little fun. So why not participate in a much-celebrated but often overlooked form of exercise like kayaking? – An excellent low-impact activity that increases strength, improves aerobic fitness, and adds to your flexibility. But why opt for kayaking in particular?
Well, no one is likely to forget their first time kayaking. Gliding through water on a beautiful summer day as you take in all that nature has to offer, the benefits derived from this exercise are more than just physical, they are emotional and mental as well. And whether you want to do it solo or participate in a fun social activity setting, you can spend hours enjoying this activity. In fact, the basic skills you learn will stand you in good stead and provide you with a basis for fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Below, therefore, we take a look at 10 health benefits of kayaking as follows:
Table of Contents
10 Health Benefits of Kayaking
1. Helps you lose weight and increases stamina
Participating in regular, short kayaking sessions can help improve and increase your stamina, which should help you enjoy a more healthy and active lifestyle after some time. As your muscle strength and stamina increase, so will the amount of extra weight you shed.
2. Great for a solid core and toned muscles
Many people wrongly assume that when one is paddling in a kayak, they are only really working their arms. The truth, however, is that kayaking is considered a low-impact exercise and besides the arms, the rowing of the paddles utilizes various other core upper body muscles, including the chest, shoulders, abs, and legs. As you steer your boat through the water, all these muscles are exercised as well, toning them up and consequently improving the overall strength of your core.
3. Great for abs
Following on from the above, since the paddling action entails the paddle being continuously moved from one side to the other, the end result of this action is an effective torso twist movement that works on your abs and waist, strengthening and toning them in the process.
4. Reduced stress
In fitness circles, it is a well-known fact that exercise plays a major part in reducing stress. With this in mind, kayaking benefits participants in more ways than one because not only are your muscles being worked as you use the paddles for rowing across the water, but the fact that you are rowing over a nice freshwater lake or river is certainly a big bonus. Clear, calm waters can be especially beneficial to those who are stressed. Besides the relaxing sound of the water, the fresh air and natural environment can also help you recuperate.
You could even make a day of your kayaking experience and bring along a cool electric box full of drink and food so that you can stay nourished when you are a long way off from dry land and need something to eat, or just stop and have a picnic where you please.
5. Internal cardiovascular benefits
Besides the muscles, mind, and soul, kayaking is also highly effective in improving your heart health and cardiovascular system. If you are already accustomed to the waters of your favorite river or lake and take your kayak out for a row, pay special attention to your heart rate and then try and gradually increase the rate at which you paddle. You will soon notice your heart start to beat faster as you up the pace. Paddling in a kayak has a similar effect in this regard to engaging in other types of exercise, with the added bonus that it is, undoubtedly, more enjoyable than running on a treadmill or riding a bike. See these best heart rate monitors for checking your heart rate.
6. Improved mental health
Kayaking has been known to have a profound positive effect on mental health. Since your whole body is working together to navigate the waters, this allows you to clear your mind of unwanted or negative thoughts. Also, aerobic exercises such as kayaking release chemicals into the body that can lift your self-worth, confidence, and mood, as well as provide an overall sense of well-being. Those struggling with mental health disorders such as depression should seriously consider taking up a sport such as kayaking.
7. Improved overall strength
As mentioned above, many people believe that kayaking solely works the muscles in the shoulders, chest, and arms. And while this is true, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Kayaking is essentially a full-body exercise that tones the abs, bottom, and thighs. Using your body to maneuver and control the kayak requires considerable amounts of strength, and these muscles are developed by kayaking consistently.
8. Emotional benefits
For many, kayaking provides a meditative and peaceful activity where they can traverse rivers and streams where very few people are found. Many are known to enjoy this time spent with nature as kayaks allow for a close look at the natural habitat of many animals and birds. It is also easy to combine with other activities, e.g., fishing, which can also provide mental health benefits. For those who engage in kayaking with their family, the activities can bring children and parents closer together while also providing educational benefits for the former.
9. Improved overall health
Kayaking provides excellent aerobic workouts, which ought to be a key component of your fitness regimen. Some of the benefits of aerobic exercises such as this include better regulation of cholesterol levels, better lung strength, blood sugar control, increased endurance, lower blood pressure, and improved heart health.
10. A fitter you
Needless to say, most people seek physical activities that will burn enough calories thereby keeping the extra pounds at bay. If you can access a water body, proper kayaking equipment, and a kayak, this activity can play a crucial role in your efforts to lose weight and maintain a slimmer physique. Studies show that a 170-pound person burns over 230 calories during a 30-minute kayaking session. And while this may not be much in comparison to other forms of exercise, over the duration of a long excursion, it is quite easy to burn in excess of 1,000 calories.
These are the top ten most important health benefits of kayaking. These are 10 Ways Kayaking Improves Your Health. If you think there are other benefits that we forgot to list, please mention them in the comments section below. And, don’t forget to wear a kayak PFD.
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Afsar is an avid kayak blogger born near the coast. He has a passion for kayaking and started as a child. He has paddled in various conditions and locations and promotes responsible kayaking. Afsar’s blog is widely read, and they are a respected voice in the kayaking community, offering valuable content on kayaking trips, gear, tips, and tricks. Afsar collaborates with other bloggers and brands and continues to inspire others through their writing and social media.