Is Kayaking Good Exercise? Benefits and How to Get Started

Is Kayaking Good Exercise

When I first started kayaking, I was … ahem … out of shape. And I wondered, is kayaking good exercise? Because how much health benefit can you actually get from a sport that only uses your upper body, right? As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.

So, is kayaking good exercise? Kayaking is an excellent form of exercise providing benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, strength training, and stress relief. Kayaking increases your heart rate and helps build muscle strength in the arms, back, and core. It’s a great way to explore nature and get some fresh air.

Whether you’re looking for a low-impact workout or are just getting started with your fitness routine, kayaking offers plenty of benefits. But what exactly makes paddling in a kayak good exercise? Is kayaking really all it’s cracked up to be when it comes to physical activity?

In this article, we’ll explore the key exercise benefits of kayaking . We’ll cover everything from types of exercises suitable for beginner paddlers through setting up your own personalized routines – so read on if you want find out more about why Kayaks are such effective pieces of “gym equipment”!

Benefits of Kayaking as Exercise

Kayaking is an excellent form of exercise that offers a variety of benefits. It can be used to improve cardiovascular health, strength training, and stress relief.

Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular health is improved through regular kayaking as it increases your heart rate and strengthens the muscles in your arms, back, and core. Kayaking also helps you burn calories while providing low-impact aerobic exercise that’s easy on the joints. This makes it an ideal activity for people with joint issues or those who are just starting out with exercising. Additionally, kayaking provides a great way to explore nature while getting some fresh air at the same time!

Strength Training

Kayaking requires you to use your upper body muscles for propulsion and steering which helps build muscle strength over time. You can further increase this effect by doing exercises such as paddling against resistance (upstream in a river) or using weighted paddles during practice sessions. Doing these types of exercises will help strengthen not only your arms but also your core muscles which will help improve overall balance and stability when out on the water.

Stress Relief

Finally, kayaking can provide a great way to reduce stress levels after a long day at work or school. Being out on the water allows you to take in the beautiful scenery while being surrounded by peaceful sounds like birds chirping or waves lapping against shorelines, all without having any distractions from technology such as phones or computers.

Additionally, if you paddle hard enough it can give you an endorphin rush that will leave you feeling energized afterwards.

Kayaking offers a great way to get in shape, improve your cardiovascular health, and strengthen your muscles. With different types of exercises available, you can customize your kayaking workout for maximum benefit.

Paddling Technique Drills: Paddling technique drills are a great way to improve your kayaking skills and increase the efficiency of your strokes. These drills involve focusing on specific aspects of paddling, such as keeping an even stroke rate, using proper body rotation, and maintaining good posture while paddling. Practicing these drills can help you become more comfortable in the water and make it easier to maneuver your kayak.

Core Strengthening Exercises: Core strengthening exercises are essential for any type of exercise routine, including kayaking. Core exercises focus on developing strength in the abdominal muscles, which helps with balance and stability when out on the water. Some core exercises that can be emulated while kayaking include planks, crunches, leg lifts, side bends, and twists.

Balance is key when it comes to staying upright in a kayak or canoe, so agility exercises should also be incorporated into any exercise routine for those who want to get better at their sport. Examples of agility exercises that can be done to improve your strength while out on the water include:

  • Lateral shuffles (moving from side-to-side)
  • Jumping jacks (jumping up onto one foot then back down again)
  • Mountain climbers (alternating between pushing off with each foot)
  • Burpees (squatting down then jumping up)

All these movements will help build strength as well as improve coordination and balance when navigating through choppy waters or tight turns.

Kayaking is an excellent way to get a full-body workout, with various types of exercises available depending on your needs and preferences. In the next section, we’ll explore the equipment needed for kayaking exercise routines.

Equipment Needed for Kayaking Exercise Routines

When it comes to selecting the right kayak and paddle for your exercise routine, there are a few things to consider. First, you’ll want to choose the right kayak for your weight and height. If you’re new to kayaking, look for a kayak with good stability so that you can get used to paddling without tipping over and possibly sinking. You’ll also want a paddle that is lightweight yet strong enough to provide power when needed.

Safety Gear and Accessories: Safety should always be your top priority when exercising in a kayak or canoe. Make sure you have all the necessary safety gear such as life jackets, whistles, flares, first aid kits, etc., before heading out on the water. Additionally, accessories like rod holders or storage compartments can help make your workouts more enjoyable by allowing easy access to fishing gear and snacks or drinks while paddling.

It’s important to dress appropriately for kayaking exercises since they involve being in contact with water most of the time. Wear clothes made from quick-drying materials such as polyester or nylon blends so that they don’t become heavy after getting wet during your workout session. Additionally, make sure your kayaking footwear has good grip on slippery surfaces like boat decks or river rocks so that you do not slip while paddling around.

Having the right equipment for your kayaking exercise routine is essential to ensure safety and comfort while exercising. Now that you have an understanding of what type of gear you need, let’s look at how to set up your own kayaking exercise routine.

Setting Up Your Kayaking Exercise Routine

Creating an Effective Workout Plan: When creating a kayaking exercise routine, it’s important to plan ahead. Think about what type of workout you want to do and how often you want to do it. Consider your fitness level and any physical limitations that may affect your ability to perform certain exercises. It’s also helpful to set goals for yourself, such as increasing the distance or intensity of your workouts over time.

Especially if you’re not in good physical condition when you start, you should ease into paddling. Kayaking will use muscles that may not have seen much stress or exercise, so take it easy on your first few paddling trips. Go for 30 minutes or less and work your way up to longer paddle trips. Your shoulders, back, and arms will thank you.

Choosing the Right Location for Your Workouts: Where you choose to kayak will depend on several factors, including the type of exercise you are doing and the difficulty level of the water. For example, if you are focusing on technique drills, flat water is best; however, if strength training is more your focus then a slightly windy day will give you a challenge paddling against it.

Make sure that wherever you go has adequate safety measures in place before embarking on any kayaking excursion.

Another way to stay motivated while exercising in a kayak is by setting realistic goals and tracking progress towards them with each workout session. Additionally, having someone else join in can help keep things interesting and provide motivation when needed; just make sure they have similar skill levels so everyone stays safe. Finally, don’t forget about taking breaks when necessary; even short ones can help refresh your body and mind during long paddling sessions.

Creating an effective workout plan, choosing the right location for your workouts, and staying motivated are all key components to setting up a successful kayaking exercise routine. In the next section, we’ll look at whether or not kayaking is actually good exercise.

Conclusion: Is Kayaking Good Exercise?

If you’re looking for an exciting way to get in shape and enjoy the outdoors, then kayaking could be just what you’re looking for! Not only can it provide a great workout that targets your arms and core muscles while improving balance and coordination. But kayaking also provides an opportunity to explore nature like never before!

The Pros of Using Kayaking as Exercise: Kayaking is a great form of exercise that can provide a full-body workout. It’s low impact, so it’s easier on your joints than running or other high-impact activities. Additionally, kayaking allows you to explore new places and take in the scenery while getting some exercise. You can also enjoy the company of friends and family while paddling together.

The Cons of Using Kayaking as Exercise: While kayaking offers many benefits for physical fitness, there are some drawbacks to consider before taking up this activity as an exercise routine. For example, if you don’t have access to open water such as lakes or rivers then it may be difficult to find suitable locations for kayak workouts. Additionally, depending on the type of boat used, kayak storage and transporting your kayak may be an issue when considering using kayaks for exercise purposes.

Ultimately, whether or not you should use kayaking as an exercise option depends on your individual needs and goals. If you’re looking for a low-impact way to get active outdoors, then this could be a great choice for you. However, if convenience is important, then perhaps another form of physical activity would better suit your lifestyle needs instead.

Regardless, kayaking itself is an excellent form of exercise. It can provide a great full-body workout and help you stay in shape while enjoying the outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely paddle or an intense workout, there are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up while paddling around on the water. With the right equipment and some dedication to setting up a routine, kayaking can be a great way to stay fit and have fun at the same time. So if you’ve been wondering “is kayaking good exercise?” then rest assured that it absolutely is.


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.

Related Articles