10 Amazing Health Benefits of Kayaking
Whether you ache to live in front of the ocean or find the sound of raindrops on a roof soothing, you’re not alone.
Water has always captivated humans.
Ever since ancient times, in fact, we’ve looked to the water for its healing and transformational properties.
In both Indian culture and Chinese traditional medicine, the water element is crucial for balance and harmony, rebirth and spiritual cleansing.
What better way then, to spend your spare time than kayaking at a calming lake, on a rapid river, or even in the open ocean?
Kayaking gives you a much-needed chance to connect with nature, view wildlife up close and cleanse your soul of the stress and strain of the work week.
Maybe you’ll even go to a place with no cell phone reception and give your mind the much-needed rest it craves from being always alert to incoming messages.
Whether you’re a scenic kayaker and enjoy going gently down slow flowing rivers, or white water rafting is your thrill, kayaking is great for your health.
If no cell phone reception wasn’t enough to convince you, then check out these ten amazing health benefits of kayaking here.
1. Lose Weight
Kayaking is a great way to keep in shape and shed a few pounds if you need to.
Because as enjoyable as the sport may be, to maneuver a kayak around requires quite a lot of effort, especially if you’re new to the sport.
According to the American Council on Exercise, the average sized person in the US (at around 180 pounds) burns close to 400 calories an hour kayaking.
Compared to other activities, like cycling, kayaking burns more calories per hour.
So if you’re looking for a sport to keep you trim, try adding kayaking to your list or get into keto diet.
2. Work Your Upper Body
There’s no other sport so efficient at giving your upper body a complete workout other than kayaking.
You don't need any more to spend hours and hours lifting weights at the gym.
Each time you stroke your paddle through the water, you’ll be actively engaging all the muscles in your upper body.
In just one hour of kayaking, you’ll probably do around 1,500 repetitions, which will almost certainly outnumber your target at the gym.
According to Livestrong, in just one hour of kayaking, you’ll work out your upper body harder than you could in any gym and have fun at the same time.
Your back, shoulders, arms, hands, chest and abdominal muscles are all in for a tough ride during this adventurous and enjoyable exercise.
3. Work Your Lower Body
A lot of people count kayaking out as their chosen sport because they wrongly believe that they’ll get an uneven workout.
But while it’s true that kayaking is particularly proficient in working out your upper body, it’s pretty effective at working on your lower body too.
This mainly includes your legs. The pressure you apply on your feet to keep your kayak balanced helps to tighten the muscles.
You’ll be giving your lower body a workout without even realizing it as you rely on your legs to turn and twist your kayak.
And keep you from ending up face down in the water.
4. Combat Stress
Not only is kayaking a beautiful way of disconnecting with outside noise and reconnecting with yourself, but you’ll also your combat stress levels.
Kayaking allows you to be in harmony with your surroundings with every windmill stroke.If you’ve ever tried pure meditation, then you’ll know that you’re often instructed to focus on something to avoid your mind wandering.
You may be taught to concentrate on the in and out of your breathing or counting from one to ten.Kayaking gives you an amazing way of meditating by focusing on every stroke you make.
You can take your mind off of all the clutter that it’s filled with and connect with the activity that you’re doing.
Learning to live in the moment and take time for yourself are some of the key ways of reducing stress.
5. Reduce Joint Impact
Kayaking is a great aerobic sport, as you get a complete cardiovascular workout without having to place a strain on your joints.
When compared to other activities, like running, kayaking reduces the risk of wear-and-tear on your joints and tissues by being a low impact exercise.
It might not feel “little impact” as you battle your way through rapids, but the point is that you won’t be subjecting your knees or ankles to the relentless bashing they get while running.
6. Strengthen Your Heart
The brisk strokes needed to power along your kayak get your upper body working hard, and this includes your heart.
The continuous movements help to raise your heart rate and therefore improve your cardiovascular health.
The next time you get into your kayak, try to increase your paddling pace and you’ll notice that your heart rate starts to pump up.
Putting your heart under strain is the best way to keep it healthy as you go through life.
And you have to admit, being out on the water at one with nature is far more appealing than battling with an elliptical machine.
7. Strengthen Your Core
Maneuvering your kayak relies on continuous shifting and turning off your core body area. Every time you turn your kayak, you’re building up your core body strength.
This includes your upper and lowers abdominal muscles. What’s so great about that?
Well, improved core strength helps to enhance your balance and stability, and makes it easier to carry out most physical activities.
A strong core will help your body stay fitter for longer.
8. Build Your Stamina
Regular short sessions of kayaking help to build strength and give you more energy to carry out other activities in your life.
Regular exercise of any kind, in fact, contributes to increasing your energy levels.Making sure that you get a few sessions of kayaking in a week will improve your performance in every area of your life.
And you’ll no longer find yourself dropping off over your desk at 4 pm.
9. Get Your Vitamin D
Any time spent outdoors, with the right sunblock and skin protection, of course, has the added benefit of exposing your skin to necessary vitamin D.
A lack of vitamin D can cause your bones to become weak and soft. In extreme cases, vitamin D deficiency can even lead to deformities and cause bone pain and tenderness.
Since vitamin D is very hard to get from food alone, with around 90% of our vitamin D coming from the sun, spending time outdoors is important.
So if you’re pumping iron in the gym, you’re missing a chance to top up on the much-needed sunshine vitamin.
10. Boost Your Confidence
Kayaking can significantly help to increase your self-confidence and promote a healthy and positive self-image.
Unlike many other sports, kayaking gives you the unique opportunity to overcome challenges, such as whitewater rapids, or only push yourself harder and paddle further each time you go out.
Practicing kayaking has been proven to lead to an improved sense of self and an overall boost in self-confidence.
So at the same time as exercising, you’re not only getting physically fitter, but mentally stronger as well.
Kayaking is bursting full of amazing benefits for your health.
From strengthening your heart, core muscles, upper and lower body, and reducing stress, to only taking a time out on the water, this popular sport has something for everyone to enjoy.