Kayaking is an aerobic activity by nature, but the benefits extend far beyond that of aerobic health.
Kayaking is a hidden gem when it comes to fitness. As well as the physical benefits of paddling the kayak out in open waters, the activity is also proven to have a positive impact on mental health too.
Kayaking offers a plethora of benefits for all ages and can help over 50s live a happy and active life.
This article delve into the top 7 benefits of kayaking and illustrates why we think everyone looking to achieve lifelong fitness should think about getting in their weekly dose of kayaking.
7 Benefits of Kayaking
Kayaking burns roughly 400 calories per hour (if paddling at around 5mph). Although this might be lower than other forms of exercise initially, due to the low impact nature of kayaking, most people can often go out on the water for multiple hours at a time. This makes it a really effective way to burn calories and hit weight loss goals.
In terms of weight loss, the calories burnt depends so much on how hard you want to push yourself. Paddling harder and for longer will simply burn more calories.
The aerobic nature of paddling a kayak means it helps improve and develop your cardiovascular system. This helps promote a healthy heart.
Upper Body Strength
Kayaking packs a punch in terms of muscle usage and development. If you’re looking for an effective way to build strength or an alternative to weight training, kayaking is great way to get your muscles working hard.
The upper body gets a full workout, with the back, chest, shoulders, and arms, all working hard to paddle the kayak.
If you’re looking for an effective way to trade belly fat for flat abs, forget sit ups and crunches, kayaking will engage your core for the whole duration. This means your stomach muscles are constantly working hard to help stabilise and rotate your upper body for paddling.
Kayaking, whether in river rapids, or calm lake waters, is considered to help reduce stress. Exercise in the great outdoors and within nature is proven to be an effective way to combat stress.
Instead of grabbing that glass of wine after a stressful day, heading for the water could be a much better solution!
Dubbed the “blue gym” water has often be strongly associated with mental health benefits. From open water swimming, to kayaking and canoeing, being around natural water is considered to offer individuals a multitude of mental benefits.
Outdoor exercise and activities also provide you with a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
Kayaking can also be a very social activity. People often kayak as part of a club or class, and you can even get double kayaks so you can chat and socialise with a fellow kayaker in the same vessel.
On top of this, any type of aerobic exercise helps promote the release of endorphins, triggering positive and happy emotions. Kayaking is no different and will provide these positive endorphins.
Unlike other forms of exercise, kayaking is a relatively low impact activity for joints. Particularly for those who have bad knees or ankles, running and constantly pounding on your joints can cause discomfort.
Kayaking on the other hand, doesn’t put unnecessary pressure or strain on joints, meaning there is reduced chance of picking up injuries often associated with high impact sports and exercise.
Low impact doesn’t mean it is low intensity. Kayaking can still be a very intense form of exercise, getting the muscles and heart working hard, but the low impact nature of it means it protects joints from excessive pressure or strain.
If you want to push yourself, you can simply paddle faster and harder, creating a more intense workout, without changing the fundamental low impact nature of the activity.
This is why it is such a great activity for over 50s looking to stay active.
The Positive Impact of Kayaking and Water Sports
The video below highlights real stories from people who have seen these benefits of kayaking for themselves.
Be warned, watching this video will most likely lead to you immediately buying a kayak and heading for the water!