Kayaking is an aerobic activity. This low-impact sport has many other benefits as well, from improving your mental health to enhancing your social life.
Although some aspects of it require more practice and extra training, you can easily learn the basics of kayaking in a single day. Despite having such a short learning curve, kayaking offers you a lifetime of benefits.
Exercise, weight loss, upper body workout, core
One of the greatest benefits of kayaking is physical activity; people usually burn approx 400 calories per hour when paddling at approximately 5mph. That means that a full afternoon of kayaking can result in no fewer than 1,600 calories being burned.
This per-hour rate is lower than other, more intense forms of exercise—running or swimming, for example. However, kayaking more than makes up for that because it’s often done for hours on end. Very few people run for more than one hour while many kayakers head out for outings that last several hours.
1. Upper Body Workout
The only way to move forward when kayaking is using your arms, back and shoulders. These are the main muscle groups that you use when paddling. Executing a proper stroke requires basically every muscle in your upper body.
On average, you’ll do about 500 strokes per mile. This means, of course, that if you kayak three miles in an hour, you’ll have executed 1,500 repetitions. Needless to say, this will eventually have a major effect on how your upper body looks.
2. Relieve Stress
Kayaking, even though it requires muscle movement, is a relaxing and rewarding activity. Do it for a few hours each week and you’ll quickly notice a drop in your stress levels.
3. Heart Health
As an aerobic sport, kayaking greatly improves your heart health. Your heart demands exercise. It’s pretty much the only muscle in your body that works constantly. It craves exercise. Giving it what it wants only strengthens it.
The continuous paddling involved with kayaking increases your heart rate. As such, your cardiovascular health will improve, too.
4. Core Muscles Strength
One of your body’s most important muscle groups, your core muscles —better known as abs— are what keeps your body upright. As it happens, kayaking is one of the best exercises to strengthen your abs.
Sitting in the cockpit, turning your chest from one side to the other as you paddle, turning the kayak. These things can only be done with the help of your core muscles. Each stroke and each turn is actually a mini-crunch. These repetitions will greatly increase the strength of this part of your body.
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