Kayaking isn’t just a lot of fun out on the water in the great outdoors. It also has a whole host of benefits in every area of well-being: body, mind, soul, and spirit. While it may not be as convenient as heading out on a run or lifting some weights, kayaking has some incredibly appealing physical and psychological benefits. Keep reading to learn about how kayaking can benefit your physical and emotional health.
Kayaking exercises your body and brain while letting you create fantastic memories out on the water. So let’s learn all about kayaking and its benefits here.
What is Kayaking?
Kayaking is one of the most popular water sports where you use a double-bladed paddle to control a small boat. Some of the best kayaks are lightweight, but there are different types and sizes of kayaks available on the market, but they usually just hold one or two people.
Kayaks are incredibly versatile and can be used on most bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, and even seas.
Key Benefits of Kayaking
Now you have an idea of what kayaking is, let’s look at the health benefits associated with the activity.
We’ll start with physical benefits, and then I’ll talk about how kayaking benefits your spirit and soul with its emotional and mental benefits.
As kayaking is a physical activity, it’s no big surprise that it has several potential physical health benefits.
Strengthen Your Heart
Kayaking is an aerobic activity, so it’s excellent for improving your cardiovascular health.
Something as dynamic as kayaking can give profound results. The heart is a muscle and needs exercise, and the core activity of paddling a kayak is just what it needs.
Tone Your Upper Body
A lot of the physicality of kayaking involves the upper body. You use your arms, back, shoulders, and chest constantly as you propel your boat through the water.
Basically, your core and upper body get an intense workout. Combined with a healthy diet, kayaking can help tone your upper body.
Weightlifters and personal trainers will often say that working out your core is the best way to shed weight and gain muscle. You exercise entire muscle groups instead of just a single muscle.
Kayaking is one of the most complete exercise activities because it constantly works out your core muscles and arms.
Strengthen Your Legs
Maybe you’d already guessed that kayaking gives your upper body a great workout. But did you know that it works out your legs, too?
This may seem counterintuitive, as you’re sitting down as you kayak. But it’s true.
Your leg muscles end up playing a much more important part in kayaking than you think.
Kayakers use their legs to apply pressure to the inside of the boat, making them fundamental to your kayak’s balance and maneuverability. Constantly tightening and loosening leg muscles is a workout in itself so expect muscle definition and strength in your legs.
As well as strengthening your muscles, you can also lose weight from kayaking.
Even just regular paddling speed burns a substantial number of calories each hour. While it’s not quite as much as some other fitness activities, such as swimming or running, kayaking can certainly help you lose weight.
Also, kayaking doesn’t cause as much physical strain as activities like running. This means that you can probably do it for longer.
Alongside an appropriate diet, kayaking can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Make sure you eat before you go kayaking. You need plenty of energy to tackle the water.
Emotional and Psychological Benefits
Kayaking also offers meaningful emotional and psychological benefits.
Exercise is always a great stress reliever, and so is spending time in the outdoors. Kayaking combines these into a single activity.
Kayaking will help to relieve stress and boost your sense of well-being.
Navigating through the water is both cathartic and satisfying.
It requires focus and control, which is surprisingly relaxing as you’ve got to focus on what you’re doing instead of the stresses of life. In order words, kayaking promotes mindfulness.
Activities like kayaking, or any aerobic exercise, can help improve overall mental health. Studies have shown exercise releases endorphins in the brain that can boost your mood and promote confidence.
Meet New People
Kayaking also gives you the chance to meet people and make new friends. Take the first step with a kayaking course.
Find a kayaking course with a certified instructor. You’ll get to meet other kayaking beginners and learn the skills you need to stay safe on the water.
Check to see if there’s a kayaking club in your area. If there is, you should definitely consider joining it.
Kayaking clubs are great for meeting fellow kayaking enthusiasts and picking up new tips on this popular recreational activity.
Kayaking Can Benefit Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
As an experienced kayaker, I know well how much this sport can improve your life. For some people, it’s simply transformational.
Kayaking has both physical and emotional benefits that offer holistic benefits for your overall health and well-being.
So, are you going to start kayaking? It all starts with the right kayak, so make sure you know the different kinds available.