7 Benefits of Kayaking – Row, Row, Row Your Boat to a Healthier You

Looking for a full-body workout that can burn up to 400 calories per hour, improve cardiovascular health, and build muscle without straining your joints?

Welcome to the world of kayaking.

This low-impact water sport is more than just a paddle in the park… it’s a hidden gem for those trying to get fitter.

From weight loss to mental wellbeing, kayaking offers some mighty impressive benefits that cater to all ages.

So grab a paddle and let’s dive into the extraordinary benefits of kayaking.

Quick Summary

  • Benefits of kayaking include; burns calories, improves cardiovascular health, improves upper body strength, improves core stability, reduces stress, boosts mental wellbeing, and is gentle on joints.
  • Beginners may want to join a local club to get started.
  • There’s a big difference between kayaking on a fast-paced river and a calm lake.

7 Kayaking Benefits

Burn Calories

Kayaking burns, on average, roughly 400 calories per hour (if paddling at around 5mph).

The low-impact nature of the activity allows enthusiasts to spend multiple hours on the water, turning it into a calorie-burning haven.

It’s not just about the numbers though… it’s about the experience. The rhythm of the paddle, the connection with nature, and the challenge of the waves all contribute to a unique workout that doesn’t feel like a chore (or exercise).

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, you control the intensity. Paddle harder and longer, and you’ll burn even more calories.

Cardiovascular Health

This water sport is a rhythmic dance for the cardiovascular system, where each paddle stroke enhances aerobic fitness.

Unlike traditional cardio exercises, kayaking offers a unique blend of resistance and endurance, engaging the heart in a continuous workout. The consistent paddling increases heart rate, improves circulation, and boosts overall cardiovascular function.

It’s not just about getting the heart pumping… it’s about sustaining that rhythm, building stamina, and enhancing heart health in a natural, enjoyable way.

If you don’t enjoy running, swimming, or walking, an activity like kayaking could be a great way to ensure you’re getting some moderate-intensity activity into your fitness routine.

Upper Body Strength

If you’re looking for a gym alternative that packs a punch, kayaking is your answer. The upper body gets a full workout, with the back, chest, shoulders, and arms all working in harmony to paddle the kayak.

Unlike traditional weight training, kayaking offers a natural resistance that challenges the muscles without straining them. It’s a functional workout that translates into daily life, enhancing not just strength but also flexibility and coordination.

Whether you’re navigating calm waters or battling rapids, kayaking can be a simple way to strengthen your muscles, all while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.

Core Stability

Is kayaking good for working your core?


Forget the monotonous crunches and sit-ups… kayaking can be a great core workout in its own right. As you paddle, your stomach muscles are constantly engaged, working hard to stabilize and rotate your upper body.

It’s a dynamic exercise that turns every stroke into an opportunity for core development. But it’s not just about flat abs… it’s about functional strength.

The core is the body’s center of gravity, and kayaking enhances its stability, improving balance and posture. It’s a workout that resonates with daily life, making everyday tasks easier and more efficient.

Reduced Stress

Wave goodbye to stress with kayaking.

Stress is a common ailment in today’s fast-paced world, but kayaking offers a natural remedy. Whether you’re navigating river rapids or gliding on calm lake waters, kayaking is a proven stress reducer.

It’s not just the exercise, it’s the entire experience. The gentle lap of the water, the whisper of the wind, and the embrace of nature all contribute to a calming effect on the mind.

Instead of reaching for that glass of wine after a stressful day, consider heading for the water. Kayaking is a mindful practice, a way to disconnect from the chaos and reconnect with yourself.

It’s a moment of tranquillity in a turbulent world, a paddle stroke towards peace and relaxation.

Mental Wellbeing

Welcome to the “blue gym,” where water and mental health flow in harmony.

The association between water and mental wellbeing is strong, and kayaking taps into this natural connection. Whether you’re kayaking alone or with friends, the experience is uplifting.

The release of endorphins, the dose of Vitamin D, and the joy of social interaction all contribute to positive emotions. It’s a way to escape the mundane and embrace the extraordinary.

Low Impact

For those who struggle with joint issues, finding a suitable exercise can be challenging.

Kayaking offers a solution. It’s a low-impact activity that doesn’t put unnecessary pressure or strain on joints, making it ideal for individuals with bad knees or ankles.

But, don’t mistake low impact for low intensity. Kayaking can be as intense as you make it.

Paddle faster and harder, and you’ll create a challenging workout that gets the muscles and heart working hard.

It’s a balance between intensity and gentleness, a way to push yourself without punishing your body.

Getting Started with Kayaking – Tips for a Smooth Sail

Kayaking is an accessible and rewarding activity, but proper preparation and awareness are important. Whether you’re exploring a tranquil lake or navigating ocean waves, these tips will help you embark on a safe and enjoyable kayaking adventure.

When starting on your kayaking journey, comfort is paramount. Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics that dry quickly, and in cooler weather, consider wearing layers. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat for sun protection.

The essential equipment includes a suitable kayak, paddle, life jacket, and safety whistle. Beginners may also want to consider a bilge pump and paddle float for added safety.

Inform someone of your plans, and if you’re new to the sport, consider taking a basic kayaking course.

Understanding the differences between rivers, lakes, and the sea is also really important. Rivers, often narrow and fast-flowing, require attention to currents and potential obstacles. Lakes, generally calm and ideal for beginners, offer a serene kayaking experience. Sea kayaking, on the other hand, is more challenging due to tides and waves, and is best suited for experienced kayakers or guided tours.

Many local clubs offer lessons and guided trips, providing a supportive environment for beginners. Joining a club or taking a lesson can be a great way to get started.

Bottom Line

Kayaking is a low-impact activity that can burn up to 400 calories per hour, boost cardiovascular health, build muscle, and promote mental wellbeing.

It’s a full-body workout that’s gentle on the joints and tough on the muscles.

If you’re looking for ways to keep fit, kayaking could be exactly what you’ve been searching for.

Related Articles

Wild Swimming Benefits

What is Forest Bathing?

Walking 5km Vs Running 5km – Similarities and Differences