Water sports have been gaining huge popularity over the past few years. Not only are they fun and thrilling, but water sports like swimming, scuba diving, paddleboarding, rafting, boating, snorkeling, and kayaking also come with a plethora of health benefits for the individual. Now, among the mentioned water sports, kayaking is increasingly becoming more and more popular. The sport basically involves cruising on water in a small craft that fits one or two people at most while using a double-bladed paddle to navigate the waters. It is a bit different from canoeing, in which the paddle is single-bladed.
Kayaking may also vary depending on the water body it is carried out from. Some variations include sea kayaking, river (wild water) kayaking, surf kayaking, slalom, sailing, and flat-water recreation kayaking among others. From improving cardio health to boosting mental wellness and enhancing physical fitness, the list of health benefits associated with kayaking is a rather long one. It’s good for your brain, heart, body, and overall wellness. But before we get to this, one of the most important things to know as a kayaker is that the overall experience depends on the equipment you choose, starting with the watercraft!
Choosing a Kayak
Kayaks come in a wide range of designs, shapes, and sizes. While some are designed to let you sit inside; sit-on-top versions are also available. Some are inflatable, whereas others are built using solid material. As you will discover from this site, David from Fantasy Kayak asserts that the best kayak for you will depend on two main factors; its purpose and stability. If you’re a beginner, the main factors you want to consider when choosing a kayak include:
- Water type: Ocean, a large lake, a small lake, a wavy river, a calm river?
- Kayak hull type: Flat hull, rounded hull, or other hulls
- Kayak design: Sit-on-top vs. sit-in vs. fishing kayak
- Kayak material: Composites, Polycarbonate, or Polyethylene
- Inflatable vs. tandem kayaks
- Weight capacity
This having been mentioned, kayaking is also a highly enjoyable sport that brings friends and family together, and this is especially evident in summer when everyone falls in love with water activities. In case you didn’t know, here are some health benefits that you can get from kayaking.
1. Mental and Emotional Wellness
Mental wellness is among the most important aspects of life, especially these days where potential stressors are too many. Whether it is from relationships, financials, personal, or work-related, different people handle stress differently. Some engage in constructive activities such as exercise, whereas others indulge excessively in stimulants, narcotics, and unhealthy habits to curb stress. Well, kayaking makes a great outdoor leisure activity to help anyone get their stress levels down. Nothing beats the strength of nature! As you float paddling along the water, coupled with the serenity of natural habitats, and watching the birds fly above the river as you enjoy your peaceful meditation can be extremely calming. Kayaking is also an aerobic activity; meaning that it helps release chemicals that boost mood, self-esteem, and confidence. Engaging in the activity regularly can make you a happier person.
2. Weight Control
Many people fret at the mention of the word weight loss. Some resort to fasting, cutting back on sugars, spending hours in the gym, limiting their portions, and any other method they hear of depending on how their frustration and desperation to lose weight takes them. Well, the good news is that kayaking can be good for weight loss and weight control. It is said that when paddling at the mere speed of about 5mph, one can lose up to 500 calories an hour when kayaking. This intense upper body workout helps you shed off some weight and increases your stamina as you enjoy the breeze and paddle down/against the waves.
Imagine how many calories you can burn if you decided to go out of your comfort zone and kayak more often? Now that the cat is out of the basket, why not start looking for the nearest kayaking spot near you if you’re looking to keep your weight in check?
3. Improve Cardiovascular Health
Did you know that your heart needs some workout? Yes, it does. A weak heart can lead to certain heart-related complications. When kayaking, keenly listen to your heartbeat and notice it increase with every row and paddle. You will be breathing intensely, putting your lungs to the test as well. Unlike the repetitive boring workouts at the gym or home, kayaking is fun, exciting, and adventurous, which makes you want more and more of nature’s service. Apart from this, these exercises help in regulating cholesterol levels, increasing endurance, lowering blood sugar, and improving lung capacity.
4. Improved Body Strength
As earlier hinted, kayaking is good for the upper body parts like the shoulders, chest, and arms. The lower body is not left out either. The abs, bottoms, and thighs are toned and made stronger. This is because when paddling your kayak, the core muscles get a good work out. The activity also demands a certain degree of balance and stability, leading to a stronger core and higher endurance levels.
Toning comes with physical exercises that aim at developing an attractive body physique. If you’re in search of a way to get noticeable muscle, a lean body, and impressive body shape, then kayaking might just be what you’ve been missing. The upper body muscles receive the most impact since they are the ones exercised when rowing.
In summary, you can never go wrong with kayaking as far as your health is concerned. The low-impact sport strengthens your core, improves aerobic fitness, and boosts your flexibility. It betters your mental health and helps keep your weight in control, not forgetting how amazing this outdoor activity can be when it comes to promoting family bonding, adventure, and meeting new people. Thanks to the pointers above, you now have more than just a few reasons to take up kayaking as your free-time activity or training routine if you’re an athlete.