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Kayaking can be a fantastic way to spend time outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your family or you’re looking for a great workout, kayaking can be ideal for both. And it also lets you get out in the fresh air for some relaxation.
We know there are plenty of great reasons to get out in your kayak and here are just some of them.
7 Reasons To Paddle That Kayak
Kayaking Is Great For Weight Loss!
Kayaking can be a fantastic way to lose weight because it’s a fun activity that often doesn’t feel like a workout. This can mean you might be more likely to stick with it than other workouts that may feel like more of a struggle or hard work.
Kayaking is generally considered to be a low impact sport, which means there can be less strain on your joints. Kayaking can help to build muscle and burn fat, which can help you lose weight. The larger muscles you have, the faster your metabolism tends to be and the quicker you can burn fat.
Table Showing Calories Burned Per Activity
Paddling uses your arms and upper body, so kayaking can be a great workout for these areas. And because paddling requires most of your upper body muscles, your workout can target a variety of muscle groups at once, rather than focusing on just one area at a time.
Video: Kayaking For Fitness
However, it’s not just your upper body that you use while kayaking, your legs can also get a workout. You use your legs to help stabilize yourself as well as during turns, so while kayaking might not seem like an obvious leg workout, it can still work parts of your lower body.
Kayaking can burn around between 260 and 560 calories per hour, depending on your body weight. If you weigh more than 180 pounds you can burn even more than this. If your weight is less, you will burn less calories.
For successful weight loss, the American Council on Exercise recommends reducing your daily calorie intake by 250 calories, while increasing the amount of calories you burn by 250 calories. This helps to contribute to a daily reduction of 500 calories which can help you lose a pound a week.
It Maintains And Improves Your Physical Health
As well as helping you to lose weight, kayaking can also be a great way to maintain your physical fitness. It can help to keep your muscles toned, which can help to improve your strength and can increase your bone density. This can be even more important as we get older, as our bodies begin to lose muscle mass.
Increasing bone density and muscle mass can help keep your physical health by reducing injuries and falls as we age.
Kayaking can give you a good combination of aerobic and strength exercise, which can help to maintain healthy blood pressure and improve circulation.
It Reduces Stress And Boosts Mental Health
Being outside in nature has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress, depression and anxiety. And when you’re kayaking, you’re outside and often completely surrounded by nature.
Being on the water can have a positive effect on your mood and mental health, making you feel more relaxed and lowering your blood pressure. Even the sound of your paddle slowly sweeping through the water can have a relaxing effect.
It Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Kayaking can be a great activity for heart health. You can get the cardiovascular benefits of an aerobic workout as well as the blood pressure-reducing benefits of being out in nature.
Aerobic exercise such as kayaking can help to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels for improved cardiovascular health. This can then help to reduce the risk of heart disease and other illnesses, including diabetes.
You Can Develop New Skills
If you’re new to kayaking, learning can help you keep your brain healthy. This is because learning a new skill can actually improve your brain functions. Learning to kayak can help to stimulate your memory and improve your concentration, which can be even more important as we age.
Even if you already know how to kayak, the act of paddling requires you to think so that you can paddle the next stroke correctly and efficiently. Regularly practicing your skills to improve your paddling technique can also help to boost your cognitive health.
It’s Family (And Dog) Friendly
One of the great things about kayaking is that you can paddle with a bunch of people or with nobody at all. Kayaking can be an ideal family activity because just about anyone can join in, whether your kids join you as passengers or they want to help paddle. Even your dog can enjoy a day out on the water.
Read more about the best dog-friendly kayaks.
Because of the variety of locations you can kayak, there are lots of options to suit a range of skill levels, from flatwater lakes for beginners to whitewater for more experienced paddlers.
Make New Friends
Kayaking can be a social activity, even if you paddle on your own. Yes, you can choose to paddle with a couple of buddies but even if you don’t, there is a pretty large online community of paddlers where you can share your favorite trips, discuss gear or even ask for advice.
You may even find that kayaking helps to boost your confidence so that you can make friends more easily.
Essentials To Bring When Kayaking
When you’re heading out kayaking, there are a few things that you should always have with you, both for personal safety and comfort. These are in addition to your kayak and paddle, obviously.
- Kayak PFD (Personal Flotation Device) – this is usually required by law in most states
- Polarized sunglasses – to prevent glare
- Sun protection
- Insect repellent – stop those pesky no see ums
- Flashlight – if you might be out after sunset
- Dry bag
- Bilge pump – for sit-inside yaks
Kayaking can be a great way to stay healthy, whether you’re looking to lose weight, maintain your physical fitness or simply relax. The wide range of paddling environments means you can vary your workout for a change of scenery or intensity.
Kayaking can have many benefits and maybe you’ve found that it benefits you in a way that we haven’t mentioned. Leave us a comment to let us know, and if you want to encourage others onto the water, share this with them.