How kayaking can benefit your cardiovascular and overall health

Kayaking has become one of the most popular water activities in the world. This is something that all types of people can do no matter their budget or geographical location. Although kayaking has become a staple activity, many people forget that it is a super beneficial aerobic exercise. It is so much fun that you often don’t even realize you are exercising.

What is aerobic activity?

As defined by Healthline, “[a]eorbic exercise is any type of cardiovascular conditioning. It can include activities like brisk walking, swimming, running, or cycling.” And kayaking. The repetitive motion that works your cardio is an aerobic activity. These activities raise your heart rate and your breathing gets heavier. Aerobic exercises focus a lot on the heart in a very healthy way.
Kayaking is an aerobic exercise because it is a slow, but constant burn, where you are always pushing yourself. This allows you to enjoy yourself while getting a workout in at the same time.

Anaerobic benefits?

Generally kayaking is an aerobic excercise. The general slow repetitive nature of the movements is more of an aerobic excercise than anaerobic excercise. So what is anaerobic and how can can kayaking benefit this form of cardio.
Anaerobic means ‘without air’ and refers to the body producing energy without oxygen. This is typically exercise that is performed at a higher intensity. There are two ways that the body can produce energy anaerobically. These are categorised into energy bursts and slow release.

One anaerobic energy system is known as the ATP-CP system and provides immediate energy for instantaneous burst of exercise such as for a throw, sprint, jump or in this case a deep and powerful paddle stroke and can last from 0 - 10 seconds. For example to accelorate quickly from a static position in a kayak, this would take a similar effort to a jump or a throw and this is one example of how kayking can benefit your anaerobic stamina and fitness.

The other anaerobic system, known as the lactic acid system, provides energy for very hard efforts lasting roughly 10 - 120 seconds and is associated with the feeling of burning in your muscles due to the build-up of lactate and other metabolites within your muscles. So by increasing the pace of your kayaking this directly positively affects your anaerobic system because you will feel the lactic acid building up in your arms, shoulders and upper back.

How is kayaking physically beneficial?

Kayaking works in a few different areas. Like we have already established, kayaking is an aerobic and anaerobic activity and that brings tons of benefits. For example, you will have improved lung capacity, lose weight, and have overall stronger cardio. In turn, this helps prevent heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.

You will also feel improvement in your muscle strength and stamina because of the paddling motion and regular lactate build up in your muscles. Your arms, chest, and shoulders are constantly being worked, so you will actually see results. Kayaking also will strengthen your core. Although you are almost exclusively using your upper body, the tightening of your core is something you will notice.

Not to forget about your joints

Plus, kayaking is so laid back that your joints will not be under a ton of stress. When doing an activity like lifting weights or running, there are points of stress depending on what lift you are doing. When kayaking, this isn’t the case, so you can still get a great workout without giving your joints a lot of wear. In fact kayaking will help strengthen the supporting tendons and ligaments in your joints.

How does kayaking affect you mentally?

Kayaking doesn’t only bring physical benefits. Many see this activity as a form of meditation. When life gets rough, being in nature is one of the best medicines. Packing up the kayak, hitting the water, and just being peaceful can be crucial to be mentally healthy.

In such a busy world, you probably have a lot of stressors. Kayaking is a fantastic way to remove these stressors and find a sense of peace amongst the chaos. Thankfully, kayaks are becoming much affordable and more accessible, so there are so many more opportunities to engage in the activity.

Overall, it is up to you to find an activity that can benefit you on many levels. Kayaking is one of these activities. You can lose weight, have fun, build a stronger and leaner boy and clear your mind all in one spot. This activity is so enjoyable that you often won’t even notice you had a workout until you wake up sore the next day!

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