As any avid kayaker will tell you, it’s just not just about kayaking exercise when they’re out on the water, but it doesn’t hurt! Many avid kayakers enjoy the sport as it combines fun on the water with healthy exercise. However, many kayakers starting the sport or aiming to count their regular exercise calories burned often want to know just how effective kayaking exercise can be.
Luckily kayaking is fantastic calorie-burning tool for you to regularly partake in.
Number Of Calories Burned While Kayaking
On average, kayaking can burn anywhere from 100 to 300 calories per hour of paddling. The more rigorous your paddle stroke, the more calories that you’ll burn.
Kayaking Is Good Exercise – The Numbers
According to health and fitness experts, kayaking is good exercise. On average, the American Council on Exercise has estimated that a 125-lb. person can burn up to 283 calories per hour of kayaking.
A 150-lb. person can burn around 350 calories per hour while a 175-lb. person can burn up to 400 calories. Finally, the average 200-lb. person burns around 450 calories. As you would expect, it can take more effort to paddle through the water as you increase the weight of the kayak, gear and person aboard.
Unlike other forms of exercise, kayaking is generally seen as very low impact. Compared to running or jogging, you don’t need to worry about your knees and joints feeling the brunt of impact over and over again. Kayaking is much more about the control of major muscle groups and staying engaged with your paddle over a 2-3 mile stretch.
Depending on the type of body of water that you’re tackling, you’ll have different things to expect from the open ocean, lakes and saltwater marshes. Keeping the water flat and staying out of the wind will make your kayaking exercise more predictable. Kayaking into the wind may take more effort (and burn a few more calories), but is generally not as fun of an experience.
Muscle Groups That Benefit From Kayak Based Exercises
If you’re looking to learn more about the specific muscles that benefit most from kayaking, check out the following section. Of course, as you can imagine, paddle-based kayaking is great for your shoulders, arms and back. While the muscles that are worked more actually depend on the type of kayak you’re paddling, the general principles stay the same regardless of type.
Kayak exercise primarily helps with the following muscle groups.
Paddling for around 2~ hours will give you a strong high-intensity workout for all of these muscle groups. Ideal for men + women!
Tools To Track How Far You’ve Paddled
While we all love to estimate how far we’ve paddled, the truth is that we’re often bad estimators. Depending on the location of your paddling session, slightly different paths can yield very different lengths. To help with this problem while you’re working on your kayaking exercise, you can use some (not-made-for-kayaking) smart phone apps!
With Strava, you can use your kayak to track the distance you have paddled and the pace that you are going in your kayak. Free for iPhone and Android phones.
Nike Plus is a distance tracking app for you that you can use on your phone or supported connected device. Free for iPhone and Android phones.
Stress Relief: The Real Benefit Of Kayaking Exercise!
As many avid kayakers will tell you, it’s not just the health benefits physically that keep us kayaking: there are mental health benefits too. In a world where many of us are hunched over a computer desk for hours on end, you can see very real benefits of going out on the water and paddling for two or three hours. As close as you can get to the water, kayaking is ideal for those who want to explore nature and get a solid workout in too.
Being near the water can actually improve your mental state and well-being. Spending time on the water to allow for relaxation means it often doesn’t even really feel like you’re actually working out. Now that you’ve got a great overview into the benefits of kayaking, we want you to make sure that safety is first when heading out to the water.
Tips To Stay Safe
While we hope that you enjoy exercising while kayaking, you’ll want to stay safe. Make sure to:
- Drink plenty of water. You should pack out at least 120oz of water for every two hours you plan to paddle.
- Take note of the weather. Both wind and heat/cold can impact your ability to regulate your speed and body temperature. Wear layers!
- Let someone know where you’re going. If you have a general idea of your paddle path, make sure to let someone (a friend or family member) know where you’re going and when (roughly) you plan to be back. Of course, check-in when you arrive safely back to the launch.
- Wear A PFD. Wearing a thin-PFD won’t impact your stroke and is required (legally in some states) to stay safe. Always, always, always wear it!
Most of all, have fun! Kayaking for exercise is very rewarding and fun, a truly enjoyable way to stay in shape.