How Many Calories Does Kayaking Burn?

How Many Calories Does Kayaking Burn?

Kayaking is a great way to get outside, get some exercise, and burn calories. There’s lots of information and formulas attempting to figure out how many calories kayaking burns.

The truth is that many factors will influence and determine how many calories you’ll burn by paddling a kayak. And it’s tough to put an exact number on kayaking caloric burn from one person to the next.

But if you’re looking for a low-impact, enjoyable exercise activity that burns calories, kayaking is a great option that does burn calories.

But just how many calories does kayaking burn?

How many calories does kayaking burn? Kayaking burns up to 500+ calories per hour. You’ll burn more or less calories kayaking depending on your weight, your kayak’s weight, and how hard you paddle. The heavier you are, the more your kayak weighs, the wind, water current and outside temperature are all factors in calorie burn.

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How Many Calories Does Kayaking Burn

Overall, there isn’t one perfect answer when it comes to determining exactly how many calories are burned during any given activity. However, understanding what variables play into it can help give us an idea about our own personal caloric burn rate while kayaking.

Factors That Influence Kayaking Calorie Burn

The amount of calories burned while kayaking depends on intensity level, duration of activity, and body weight: the higher your weight and the longer and harder you paddle, the more calories you’ll burn.

In kayaking, the weather and water conditions will also affect calorie burn rates.

How Hard You Paddle

Kayaking at a moderate pace will burn more calories than kayaking at a leisurely pace. If you’re looking to maximize calorie burning potential during your kayak session, it’s best to paddle hard for extended periods of time or take part in races or competitions that require high levels of physical exertion.

Paddling hard for an hour will increase the calories burned kayaking to between 600-700 calories per hour.

How Long you Paddle

It seems obvious, but the longer you spend out on the water paddling around in your kayak, the more calories you’ll burn. A 150-pound person can expect to burn up to about 500+ calories per hour when they’re actively paddling their kayak through open, relatively calm water.

How Much You Weigh

Your body weight also plays a role in how many calories you’ can expect to’ll burn while kayaking. Heavier individuals tend to expend more energy and thus have higher caloric burn rates compared with lighter people who weigh less.

For example, if two people both kayak for one hour but one weighs 200 pounds and the other weighs 120 pounds then the heavier individual would be expected to have burned significantly more calories over that same period of time.

Their increased body mass would require greater effort to propel the kayak forward during each stroke they make with their paddle.

Related to burning calories, a 150-pound person could expect roughly 400-500 total calories burned after spending one hour out on open water doing normal paddling, whereas someone weighing 250 pounds may burn from to 600-700 total calories after paddling for the same amount of time.

The Weather and the Water

Weather and water conditions can also cause you to burn more calories kayaking.

The Weather’s Effects On Kayaking Calorie Burn

Generally, colder than average weather causes you to burn more calories than you would at an average termperature of let’s say around 70 degrees. So if you’re paddling in 30 degree weather, your body will not only burn caliries from kayaking, but also from keeping your core temperature warm.

At the other extreme—hot weather—if the temperature is in the 80s, 90s or hotter, your body will burn more calories kayaking as it sweats to help cool down your core body temperature.

Then there’s the wind…

If you’ve ever tried to paddle upwind on a windy day, you know what I’m talking about. Paddling a kayak upwind will burn more calories to go the same distance than paddling in calm water.

The Water’s Effects On Kayaking Calorie Burn

Water conditions also have an effect on how many calories kayaking burns. Rough water, waves, and in the case of river kayaking, a strong current all influence how many calories your body will burn while kayaking the same distance and amount of time.

As you’d expect, paddling against rougher water as well as current flow, and even ocean waves will cause you to burn more calories while kayaking.

How Many Calories Does Kayaking Burn Per Hour?

An average person weighing 150 pounds will burn 300-500+ calories per hour when they are actively paddling in a sit-on-top or recreational style kayak at moderate speed for one hour.

The number of calories burned per hour while kayaking varies depending on the type of kayak used, your body weight, your paddling intensity level, and the environment—wind, water, and temperature—around you.

How many calories do you burn kayaking 10 miles?

It will take 2500 calories to kayak 10 miles. Since it takes about 30 minutes to kayak 1 mile on flat calm water, paddling 10 miles at a constant pace would take 5 hours.

Using our 500 calories burned per hour while kayaking number from above:

(5 hours to kayak 10 miles) X (500 calories per hour) = roughly (2500 calories to paddle 10 miles).

Once again, the amount of calories you’ll actually burn kayaking 10 miles depends on a variety of factors, such as your weight, the type of boat you are using, how hard you paddle and environmental conditions.

What Burns More Calories – Kayaking or Walking?

Kayaking and walking are both great ways to get in some physical activity, but which one is better for burning calories? It depends on a few factors.

Calories Burned: Kayaking vs Walking

Walking burns fewer calories than kayaking (around 200-300 per hour) but it’s easier on the joints since there’s less impact involved with each step taken. On the other hand, kayaking burns more calories than walking (up to 500+ per hour), making it a better choice if you want to maximize calorie burning potential in a shorter amount of time.

When it comes to the amount of calories burned per hour, kayaking has an edge over walking.

Intensity Level: Kayaking vs Walking

The intensity level of your workout also plays a role in how many calories you’ll be able to burn during either activity. If you’re paddling hard or racing against other kayakers, then the calorie count will be higher than if you were just leisurely paddling along a lake or riverbank.

Similarly with walking, if you increase your speed or add hills into the mix then that too will increase the number of calories burned compared to simply strolling down a flat path at an easy pace.

Muscle Workout: Kayaking vs Walking

In terms of what muscles kayaking works vs walking, kayaking gives more bang for your buck since it works out multiple muscles groups simultaneously including arms, shoulders and core muscles as well as leg muscles when using foot pedals for propulsion (if available).

Walking is more of a leg workout, unless you add exercises such as arm swings into each step.

Overall Benefits: Kayaking vs Walking

Kayaking is a great way to get exercise and it has a lot of fitness benefits, including burning calories.

Take a look…

But it’s important to know that walking can also be an effective calorie-burning activity. When comparing walking with kayaking for calorie burning potential, there’s no clear winner as both activities have their own benefits.

Walking and kayaking offer great health benefits beyond calorie burning such as improved cardiovascular health and increased muscular strength/endurance, so there really isn’t one that’s better than the other – they’re just different.

Ultimately what matters most is finding a physical activity that fits your lifestyle and makes exercising enjoyable.

If I had to choose a low-impact workout for just my lower body, I’d say walking. But if I wanted a more integrative, entire body workout that leaned more toward my upper body, I choose kayaking.

What Burns More Calories – Kayaking or Biking?

Kayaking and biking are both great for burning calories. Both activities provide benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, leg strength, flexibility and more.

But which one’s better?

The answer depends on a few factors, including the intensity of your workout and how long you spend doing each activity.

Calories Burned Biking

Biking is a great option for calorie burning with estimates ranging from 600-700 calories burned per hour depending on terrain type (flat or hilly) as well as intensity level (leisurely or vigorous).

In addition to burning calories, biking has many other benefits such as improved leg strength and endurance plus increased flexibility in your hips and lower back muscles.

Calories Burned Kayaking

Kayaking can be an intense aerobic exercise that burns around 500+ calories per hour depending on the speed and effort put in by the paddler. This makes it an excellent way to burn fat.

In addition, kayaking builds muscle strength in your arms, back, shoulders, chest, abs and legs. It also helps improve cardiovascular health as well as balance and coordination.

An average person weighing 150 pounds can expect to burn around 600-700 calories per hour when biking at a moderate pace, compared with up to 500+ when paddling at the same intensity level in a kayak. So from a pure calorie burning standpoint, biking has a slight edge.

But biking is a bit more leg intensive while kayaking is more upper body, core, and leg focused exercise. So it’s not an apples to apples comparison.

Tips for Maximizing Calorie Burn

You can maximize your kayaking calorie burn by using proper technique and increasing intensity levels. To maximize calorie burn while kayaking, focus on paddling at a moderate pace and using proper technique.

General Tips

  • Wear appropriate clothing that won’t restrict movement
  • Keep your core engaged throughout the paddle stroke
  • Use your full range of motion with each stroke
  • Vary speeds during different parts of your journey
  • Increase your paddling stroke rate – paddle faster!

Paddling Tips

To start, make sure you’re in the correct posture when paddling. Keep your back straight and arms slightly bent as you reach forward with each stroke. This will help ensure that all of your muscles are engaged during the activity for maximum efficiency and calorie burning potential.

Next, focus on increasing your intensity level while kayaking. You can do this by adding short bursts of speed or changing up the type of strokes used throughout a session. By pushing yourself harder than usual, you’ll be able to get more out of every paddle stroke which leads to increased calorie burn over time.

If possible, try incorporating interval training into your routine as well. Interval training involves alternating between periods of high-intensity exercise followed by low-intensity recovery periods; this helps increase overall calorie expenditure while also improving cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength at the same time.

Finally, don’t forget about good old fashioned hard work. The more effort you put into each paddle stroke, the higher amount of calories burned per hour—so don’t be afraid to push yourself outside of your comfort zone from time to time.

In addition to these tips for maximizing calorie burn while kayaking, it’s important to remember that nutrition plays an equally important role in weight loss/maintenance goals too. Therefore, make sure that you are fueling up properly before heading out onto the water.

By following these tips, you can maximize your calorie burn while kayaking and ensure that you get the most out of your time on the water.

Conclusion of Kayaking Calorie Burn

Whether you’re looking for an intense workout or just want to take it easy, kayaking burns calories—about 500+ per hour. Depending on your weight, how hard you paddle your kayak, and the weather and water conditions, kayaking can burn more or less calories than that.

Compared to biking and walking, kayaking burns slightly less calories than biking and slightly more than walking. However, kayaking gives you a better overall body muscle workout than either of them. And that makes kayuaking a great exercise option to add to your overall fitness plans.


I'm Steve, the research and technology workhorse behind Paddle Camp. I do tons of research on all our family's paddling gear before I buy or recommend anything. I grew up canoeing with my dad and brother. A few years ago I bought paddle boards for my daughters, myself, and my wife. Ever since then, we plan most of our vacations around kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boarding.

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