As we launch into a New Year full of resolutions, growth and challenges, one goal we all can’t help but seem to aspire to is better health, mind, body and soul. For this ongoing life pursuit, many agree that kayaking is the sport of choice. Here’s why dipping that blade in the water and propelling yourself forward into 2023 is one of the best full body workouts we can give our bodies.
Easy on the body
In general, kayaking is a fairly low impact sport. Of course there are all kinds of ways to kayak and styles that may not be low impact. But given a leisurely to slightly challenging pace, good form, good gear and an already well functioning body, it’s easy to get the heart rate up without over exerting or damaging the present state of your body. It’s great for an active but relaxing day, or you can crank up the intensity if that's what you're looking for!
Head to toe
Like yoga or pilates, other sports which require balance and full body engagement, kayaking draws on many muscles at once and requires them all to work in tandem to produce a result. These types of sports are nice because the time it can take to isolate muscles and work each one out separately is a scheduling luxury we can’t all afford.
Alright, alright, we agree the initial overhead cost to get into the kayak game can be intimidating to some budgets. However, once you get your gear and get on the water, you will be hooked. Just keep dividing the original cost by the number of outings you have had and see the cost dwindle for years to come.
Transcendental, life changing experiences
A full body workout includes your mind. In no setting is it more likely to have an ah-ha or wow moment than on the water in a vessel you are moving with your own personal power. Seeing wildlife, identifying flora, connecting with the landscape and yourself are just a few inspiring and healthful moments to look forward to.
In a recent New York Times article, François Billaut, an exercise physiology professor at Laval University in Quebec, notes two solid reasons that kayaking is a good exercise choice. It’s one of the few sports that exercises the upper body [back, arms, shoulders, and chest] which makes it a good cross training sport. Since you are seated, it doesn't engage the biggest muscles in your body [as much as running or cycling] therefore it’s a nice way to ease into exercise.
For more tips on technique, see Kayaking: An outdoor adventure and a full body work out by Erik Vance. Canoeing and kayaking - health benefits, an article put out by the Australian government is also a good read on this topic.
See you down river - working up a sweat!