Kayaking is a wonderful outdoor sports activity that is enjoyed by a lot of people. It has huge benefits for your joints, heart, and your upper body strength.
No matter whether you are a recreational paddler or an athlete, kayaking has so much to offer for better health and fitness. Here is everything that you want to check out about this wonderful and heart-pumping water sports activity.
Kayaking is a water sport that mainly involves using the double-bladed oar for paddling the small boat known as a kayak. There’re different kayaks out there in the market–recreational, sit-on-top, inflatable, fishing, whitewater, touring, and tandem kayaks, among many more. Each one of them is made for the type of kayaking activity that you want to do. The majority of the kayaks can accommodate just one person, however, some designs (like tandem kayaks) will hold 2 or 3 people and pets too.
You can go kayaking at any water body, like rivers, lakes, and oceans. But, ensure you don’t overestimate your skills. Suppose you are a beginner, it will be good, to begin with, the flat-water kayaking. It means you must have the first session on your preferred water body, which is sheltered from the wind and doesn’t have big waves. Or, you will have a little difficulty in manoeuvring through waters and might end up getting in an accident.
Before you get started, it is better to do a little reading on how you can get in the kayak & how to kayak properly in the first place. Whereas it might appear very simple, having the foundational understanding of the right techniques and form can be a life-saver.
Equipment Required for Kayaking
Before heading out for the aquatic adventure, it is important that you equip yourself with the best gear. For the right kayaking experience, ensure that you have the following items with you:
- A double-sided paddle for every person
- Kayak to seat a wide number of people
- Water bottle
- Spray skirt (to keep the lower body dry)
- Life vest and another flotation device
Health Benefits of Kayaking
Along with just being an enjoyable and fun activity, kayaking has several physical and health benefits.
1. Perfect Weight Management
If you are looking to lose weight, then kayaking is the best activity. Kayaking will burn over 500 calories in an hour if you are paddling at a speed of 5MPH. Also, it is so much fun to stay out on the water for over 60 minutes and then stay indoors on the treadmill and aerobic machine. Suppose you spend your afternoon kayaking, through the rewarding and scenic kayak tour, you will burn over 1,500 calories.
2. Improves Upper-Body Strength
In kayaking activity, you have to use your arms and muscles to move over in the water. When you kayak for a very long time, you may start building up the muscles in your arms. Muscle exertion you use for paddling extends to your upper body muscles like the shoulders, back, and chest.
As your back and arms muscles are toned, the forearms and grip are tested by paddling and handling the kayak. It is very much like pull-ups, your hands will fatigue & your forearms will get tested. So, to put this in another perspective, while kayaking for over 1 km, probably you will need around 500 strokes which depends on many factors. By going for a 2km trip, you will require around 1000 strokes. It improves your upper body strength.
3. Decrease Stress
In the fitness circles, it’s a popular fact that exercise plays an important role in reducing your stress. With that in mind, there are various benefits of kayaking to participants as it not just improves your muscles strong as you use these paddles to row over the water, but also a fact that you’re rowing over the nice freshwater lake and river is one big bonus. Clear and calm waters will be highly beneficial to people who are highly stressed. Besides relaxing water sound, the natural environment and fresh air will help you to recuperate.
You can make your kayaking day experience and bring an electric cool box filled with food and drink so that you are nourished while you are the long way out from the dry land and want something to drink, eat, or stop and enjoy a picnic whenever you want.
4. Increases Your Muscular Endurance
For many people, kayaking is almost a half-day activity. Even as a beginner, probably you will spend one or two hours maximum out in the water and progress to half-day or full-day, and sometimes multiple days in the water. The research shows that more repetitions of the low-resistance exercise only 2 to 3 times a week is an effective method to improve your muscle endurance. The resistance exercises include the motion of pulling the paddle through the water.
Luckily, the effects of kayaking on your endurance are simple to measure. If your muscles are stronger, the more and more you can paddle without even stopping.
5. Improves Your Stamina
Just like other physical activities, the more you do this you get better. Kayaking is the same. As there’s not any time limit in Kayaking, you may provide what you want and each time you take up a new challenge. When you kayak more you can tune in on how you behave & depending upon that you will come to know how much you can paddle. This is definitely the most enjoyable way to increase your stamina. It means you will not get bored with such activity and is the best way you can achieve your goals.
6. Low-Impact Action Simple on Your Joints
The high-impact exercise is not perfect for everybody. Actually, in a few seasons, and for people with some health conditions, the low-impact workouts will be the better choice for you. Unlike tennis, running, or other team sports, kayaking does not involve pounding the limbs against the ground. The low-impact workout is very gentle on your joints and making it best for people with arthritis and those at the risk of injury.
The low-impact activities generally come with an additional benefit of less recovery after a workout. It is proved that the low-impact workout helped in cognitive health among older adults.
7. Get Your Daily Vitamin D Source
We all require Vitamin D that will help us to live a healthy and well-balanced life. Fortunately, kayaking is the best way you can get Vitamin D. many of us do not realize this fact but it is true. Kayaking increases your sun exposure which helps in improving your overall health as well as prevents various diseases.
Kayaking is the most enjoyable method of exercising. As we all know vitamin D is a difficult vitamin you can get only from the food. Thus getting outside & hopping on the kayak can help in several unexpected ways.
8. Improved Endurance
Hours you spend kayaking will add up to improving your endurance and stamina. Kayaking becomes simple the more you paddle which means you can travel much longer distances without even getting tired as fast. Kayaking just 3 times every week will increase your energy levels by over 20%. The added benefit of increasing the endurance levels is you will have higher energy to perform daily activities.
9. Emotional Advantages
For a lot of, kayaking offers a peaceful and meditative activity where they will traverse rivers and streams where only people can be found. Some enjoy the time spent with nature since kayaks allow for a close look at the natural habitat of several birds and animals. It is simple to combine with various other activities for example fishing that will offer mental health advantages. For people who engage in the kayaking activity with the family, these activities will bring kids and parents much closer whereas offering educational advantages for the former.
10. Higher Self-Image
Like other sports activities, kayaking has got the potential of improving your self-image beyond something you have ever imagined. Right from breaking the personal speed, time records and distance to conquering rapids, every success even small, can help in enhancing in the way you feel.
Kayaking on the regular basis will result in a boost in your self-satisfaction and increases your social confidence & improves your self-image.
Top Tips for Kayaking
- Suppose you do not have any experience in paddling, it is good to get a few lessons from qualified instructors before you head out on the water. They are the experts when it comes to paddlesports thus you can feel totally free to get in touch with them.
- Check out weather conditions before you leave. Get prepared for the heavy rain and hot sun.
- Ensure you bring your phone to get contacted.
- Bring a spare paddle.
- Wear buoyancy aid and a life jacket.
- Stay dehydrated, bring plenty of water.
- Ensure you know the waterway you’re paddling on.
Kayaking is Fun
Last but very important, kayaking is challenging, fun, and refreshing activity. It does not only take you out of your house but away from traffic, roads as well as crowded urban areas. The kayaking activity brings you much closer to nature as well as provides a chance to learn some new skills underwater. Visit your nearest waterway & try the kayak activity yourself!