Can Kayaking Help Me Get Fit, Strong and Lose Weight?

Now 2020 is finally over we can only hope for a better time this year. A year full of lockdowns, social distancing, and closed gyms has had a profound effect on most of our mental and physical health. Some of us found motivation in these dark times and developed routines and home workouts that kept the body in-shape and healthy, others (myself included) instead found a few too many beers and Netflix programmes to watch. If the latter is also you, you are probably looking for a way to burn off those pandemic pounds and Christmas kilos ready for the new year ahead!

So, can kayaking help you lose weight? In short, yes it certainly can! In fact, it is one of the best all-round workouts you can do without a gym membership or a large home gym! Kayaking gets you out into nature and breathing in the fresh air while taking in the beautiful sights of the surrounding landscape. At the same time, it burns calories, gets your heart pumping, and tones up your body in ways you might not expect! In this article, we will be revealing how kayaking can help you turn your life around in more ways than one. Read on to find out why kayaking is one of the best ways to lose weight in 2021 and how just a few hours on the water can benefit your physical and mental health immensely.

Does Kayaking Burn Many Calories?

Depending on your current weight, kayaking can burn from 350 calories to 550 calories per hour, that’s around 400kcal for an 80kg male. That is a considerable number of calories burnt in such a short amount of time and the average kayaking session is unlikely to be as short as 1 hour either. My shortest session on the water lasts no less than 3 hours as I feel there is no point getting my kit wet for anything less! 3 hours on the paddle is a whopping 1200 calories burnt, so it is easy to see how you can lose weight with these numbers.

A short session on the kayak can easily put you in a calorie deficit which will allow you to drop that excess weight in no time. The beauty of kayaking compared to other exercise is how incredibly easy it seems to spend hours working out. When you have a beautiful view in front of you and plenty of areas to explore time quickly runs away from you and what do you know, you burned over 2000 calories! It is not so easy to say the same thing with jogging for example, which burns around the same calories per hour depending on how hard you push. Personally, I have never lost track of time when jogging, in fact, sometimes the minutes feel more like hours, on the other hand, I have lost count of the times the sun has started setting while out kayaking on my local lake. I know how I’d rather stay in shape, that’s for sure!

Kayaking Provides You with a Great Cardio Workout

Kayaking provides you with an excellent cardiovascular workout and it is fantastic for your overall health. Cardio should be seen as an extremely important part of anyone’s workout routine and day to day life. Cardio keeps the heart healthy and functioning as it should. Getting your heart beating every day is vital to keeping it strong which avoids heart-related diseases and complications with blood pressure, fatigue, and many other life-changing health issues. 

There are plenty of opportunities to do cardio and there are many exercises that work the heart (running, jogging, cycling, jump rope, etc) and get your blood pumping. The difference between some of these typical cardio exercises and kayaking is the repetition factor. A lot of cardio can be repetitive and boring like running on the treadmill or sitting on a spin bike; however, kayaking gets you out into the wilderness exploring infinite environments which is quite the opposite. Furthermore, there are so many different opportunities in kayaking, and you can head in so many different directions in the sport. Some people enjoy saltwater kayaking to explore our beautiful coastline, others enjoy feeling the adrenaline of powering through Whitewater, some people like a gentle paddle around a quiet lake, and others love the fishing freedom that a kayak brings. 

There is so much you can do on a kayak and no matter your age, interests, and energy levels I guarantee you will find a way to enjoy the water from your humble vessel. If you are looking to get your blood pumping and that heart of yours working but don’t want to sweat out some boring repetition at the local gym (if it’s open), then kayaking may be the sport for you.

Kayaking Helps Tone Your Body

Not only does kayaking burn an incredible number of calories and keep your heart happy and healthy it also provides a full-body workout that works your upper and lower body as well as your core. Not every part of your body is worked out evenly and you will certainly notice more improvement in some specific areas, but overall kayaking offers a very balanced workout that will tone most major muscle groups.

Your lats receive a fantastic workout from paddling, and this is probably the first thing you will notice after regular kayaking. If you are a bit out of shape, after your first day on the water you will notice your lower back muscles (your lats) aching from the strain that kayaking brings. As you row, your lats are heavily worked out as your body moves back and forth with each stroke. The same can be said about the core because much control is needed from the abs to move each stroke of the paddle. You will notice your core getting worked out not only when you are paddling but all the time, your abs are engaged 24/7 because you use your core strength to stay upright, stop the kayak tilting, and steer. 

Your arms and shoulders are the next things you will notice improvement on after kayaking regularly. Although you will not build huge amounts of bulk as you would from weight training, you will certainly build a lot of strength, gain muscle mass, and become a lot more toned and defined. When you look at a keen kayaker or better still a professional Olympic kayaker you will see that the proof is in the pudding! Most professionals have a sculpted back and shoulders with large biceps and triceps from the pushing and pulling of the paddle. 

Your legs see the benefits of kayaking much less but similar to the core they do see a constant strain from the natural stabilization of the kayak. You are not going to get rock-hard thighs and calves from kayaking, but you will certainly see some improvement. The only way your legs do get a workout is when you tow your kayak back and forth to the car, up the bank when you stop for lunch, and through shallow stretches when you bottom out.

If you are looking toward kayaking as your main way to lose weight and tone up, then you can expect to see a well-defined athletic upper body with a strong core and toned legs. Your stamina will be greatly improved, you will notice your overall health get better and your strength too! Kayaking is a brilliant way to equally tone up in the fresh air of nature while giving your body the well-needed cardiovascular workout it desires. 

Kayaking Relieves Stress and Aids Mental Health

It is not only our bodies that have suffered during the pandemic but our minds too. With mental health issues becoming far more common it is important to address why people are struggling and how we can overcome the stress and depression that lockdowns, social distancing, and local restrictions bring. I think we have all suffered in one way or another from this situation and it is important now more than ever to stay healthy in the mind, body, and soul. 

As we have established, kayaking is extremely beneficial to your health, can help you lose weight, and will help you tone up. The nature of kayaking will also improve your mental health, your outlook on life, and reduce stress levels dramatically. Kayaking offers you a remedy for stress, a way to relax, and a way to ground yourself in this busy and sometimes daunting world. 

When you head out on the water, just the feeling of floating alone is enough to calm you down. Pile that on top of the beautiful scenery, fresh country air, the silence of nature, and the endorphins released during exercise you have a recipe for a healthy mind and soul. Whether you are feeling stressed or down from work, home, or life in general, getting out on the water will help you focus your mind and let go of any unnecessary stress or worry.

What Are You Waiting For? Get Out There!

So, now you know exactly how kayaking can help you lose weight, what are you waiting for? Kayaking is one of the best ways to lose weight and tone your body from head to toe. It provides a full-body workout and even heading out for a day or two on the weekends will help you burn fat, build muscle, and quickly sculpt that summer body! It will also help you stay sane and destress in these most worrying of times. 

It’s easy to get started and once you have outlaid the start-up money to get a kayak, paddle, and life jacket it is an extremely cost-effective hobby. Once you have your kit all it will cost is the price of fuel (if you need it) to get down to the water and start paddling, that’s cheaper and healthier than heading to the pub every weekend, right? Kayaking not only benefits your mind, body, and soul but it also takes you to new places and encourages you to get outside in the fresh air exploring.

If you are looking for any information on how to get started, places to go kayaking in Ireland, or just want to know more about the sport and hobby, feel free to have a browse through our blog and store. Stay safe and well, happy paddling!

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