Health Benefits of Kayaking

kayaking in big lake

Are you looking for the perfect outdoor sport for your leisure time? Kayaking is an optimal choice because it offers physical and psychological benefits, as well as benefits associated with the sport itself. Kayaking is great for people of any skill level. Additionally, the kayak is an incredibly versatile boat that lets you slow down on calm waters and take in the breathtaking view and speed up to enjoy the adrenaline of rushing rapids. The many benefits of kayaking do not stop at enjoying great views and having fun, though. Keep reading to learn more.

Physical Benefits of Kayaking

Like many outdoor activities, kayaking is a sport. It requires you to get active and because of that, there are numerous advantages for your health.

  1. Increased Upper Body Strength– The upper body workout from paddling comes from putting the paddle into the water and following through with the stroke. This incorporates the abdominals, biceps, forearms, and more. In a single hour with a pace of three miles per hour, you will be able to do around 1,500 repetitions, resulting in toning and for some people, increased strength.
  2. Improved Cardiovascular Health– Kayaking is a fast-paced aerobic activity that gets your blood and heart pumping. The American Heart Association recommends five thirty-minute work-out sessions weekly to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Imagine what adding a few hours of kayaking on the weekend can do for your heart health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, aerobic exercise also helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, improves lung strength, and lowers blood pressure.
  3. Weight Management and Loss– If you row a kayak at five miles per hour, the paddling alone requires 0.1 hp of effort. This translates into burning 400 calories for every hour that you are kayaking. If you kayak regularly, it can be a great tool for helping you get in shape or stay in shape.
  4. Increased Leg Toning and Strength– Even when you are sitting down while kayaking, using your legs to press down on the floorboards is necessary to help balance and turn the kayak. This repetitive tightening of the muscles increases strength over time by working as an isometric exercise, which is commonly used for strength training.
  5. Strengthening of the Core Muscles– If the upper body and leg workout were not enough, you also benefit your core muscles while kayaking. It works with contraction and release of the muscles of the upper and lower abdomen. This means that each time you stroke the paddle and whenever you shift or turn, you are building on your core strength.

Psychological Benefits of Kayaking

The benefits of outdoor activities do not stop at just physical. Here are some other great reasons to do kayaking in your free time.

  1. It Can Expand Your Social Circle (or Not)– Kayaking is a great way to meet other outdoor sports enthusiasts and can bring you closer to family members and friends with these 2 person kayaks who are interested in the sport. Some people also choose to head out on the water solo. There’s nothing wrong with this- just don’t forget your life jacket!
  2. Improved Mental Health– When you exercise, the body releases endorphins and other hormones that stimulate the pleasure centers of your brain. This makes it great for releasing stress and getting that much-needed break that we sometimes need from life. Exercise can also boost the production of hormones like serotonin, which are necessary for managing and fighting depression.
  3. Exposure to the Outdoors– When you are stuck in a funk, the best medicine is usually to get outdoors. Not only does changing your scenery shake up the state of mind you are in, but it also gives you the chance to de-stress and separate yourself from your problems for a while. Going outdoors also can increase your intake of Vitamin D, which is essential for healthy hormone production (and other key processes).

health benefits of kayakingOther Advantages of Kayaking

Before you finish up, there are some advantages of kayaking over some other sports. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Versatility– When many people think of kayaking, they think of whitewater rafting or riding the rapids of a stream. However, there are also long-distance kayaks that are meant for a smoother ride. This variety means that you can choose the kayak that fits your destination, for the most efficient ride.
  2. Transport Dry Gear– Unlike a canoe, kayaks have edges that curve upward and cover the inside of the boat. Gear can be stored under the edge to keep it dry during your outing. This makes kayaks ideal for long distance trips, hiking, and camping.
  3. You stay dry– Not only will your gear stay dry as you kayak, so will you. It offers more water protection than other watersports, like canoeing. Another advantage is that kayaks are easy to maneuver and built to turn while you are riding. This makes it less likely that you will fall out or roll over.
  4. It’s Great for All Skill Levels– There is not a learning curve for kayaking. There are different skill levels and techniques that you will learn as you advance, but there is no special skillset necessary to get started. Even people who have never set foot in a kayak can learn a few basic skills and head out in the water for a great adventure.
  5. It Isn’t Restricted to Summer– When the wind gets chilly and the water of lakes and rivers chill, you do not have to head indoors if you are using a kayak. Since kayaking can be done on moving bodies of water that are less likely to freeze over, you can easily kayak year round with the right clothing and equipment.

Kayaking for Various Reasons

Kayaking is a great sport, whether for use when traveling to camping or hiking destinations or enjoying the adrenaline rush of exploring the rapids, there are many different types of kayaks that you can choose from such as inflatable blow up kayaks, beginner recreational kayaks, and even transparent canoes. If that were not enough, there are plenty of physical and psychological benefits that kayaking has to offer. Grab some equipment and start exploring it for yourself today.

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