Kayaking is a rewarding sport on many different levels. The relatively small size of the craft enables water sports enthusiasts to get out on virtually any body of water while enjoying the surrounding land or seascape. Only basic skills are necessary to learn the sport. In addition to being a great hobby, kayaking is a great way to relax, socialize and get physically activity. Spend the day in a fishing kayak or explore the waterways with a friend or loved one in a tandem kayak like these here. Paddling offers the chance to get low-impact cardiovascular exercise and a complete body workout.
Upper Body Fitness
Depending on the speed at which one desires to glide through the water, on average, a kayaker performs approximately 500 strokes for every mile. If traveling at 3 mph for one hour, approximately 1,500 strokes are made. Each time the paddle enters the water, muscles in the arms, shoulders, back and chest are working. The sport relies on these large muscle groups just to paddle. After gaining some experience, using a heavier paddle increases the workout and enhances results. Additionally, strength is needed to load and unload the vessel from a vehicle, or to transport the kayak to and from the water.
Core strength helps improve overall balance while helping to ensure a strong, healthy body. Kayaking covers both of these aspects and is more enjoyable that doing crunches or sit-ups. The core consists of 30 abdominal muscles that extend from the ribs to the hips. These muscles support the back and many other areas. Core muscles are necessary for coordinating the movements between the upper and lower body. They are required for virtually every body movement. A weak core often results in muscle aches and can lead to injury. Kayaking provides a great way to improve core strength. The more time spent kayaking, the tighter the muscles become, which also creates a thinner waist. Strong core muscles are also necessary to roll the kayak back over in the event that it overturns.
While paddling, the torso turns back and forth, which works the abdominal obliques, but also engages the hips and legs. Kayakers soon learn effective paddling includes applying pressure using the feet while simultaneously moving the legs up and down with each stroke. Leg motion also helps balance and turn the kayak. These actions naturally cause the muscles to tighten and release, providing an isometric workout. Over time, the leg muscles become stronger with little effort.
Weight Loss Potential
Propelling a kayak through the water at 5 mph burns an estimated 400 calories every hour. Anyone spending four hours on the water touring, burns approximately 1,600 calories. The body must burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Kayaking two or more times weekly aids in weight loss. With practice and experience, kayakers capably increase speed, perhaps participate in racing events. The faster the paddling effort, the more calories burned.