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The Health Benefits Of Kayaking

Updated On February 10, 2021

Kayaking offers physical as well as mental health benefits it can be done for exercise as a hobby or for rehabilitation purposes

healthbenefitskayak 1The physical and health benefits are toning and strengthening of the back arms shoulders chest and core muscles of the abdomen.

According to NGR outdoors and event an advertising company and the Penn State Hershey Center for nutrition and activity promotion kayaking uses most of a person’s upper body muscles in paddling and uses many of the lower body muscles in balancing while you’re in the kayak.

It has also been proven to improve joint health through low-impact movements such as paddling and improve and maintain healthy joints.

The act of paddling itself improves range of motion while improving flexibility which keeps joints fluid and lubricated.

Some people with tired and achy joints just want to put them up on a pillow and relax which is one of the worst things that you can possibly do. Because then it keeps them stiff and immobilized.

A statement from Web M.D. claim that kayaking is aerobic activity which increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart muscles and long-term kayaking can:

  • lower the blood pressure
  • decrease cholesterol
  • decreased blood sugar levels
  • decrease body fat
  • decrease anxiety and depression while also
  • decreasing fatigue


Since kayaking can be an act that encourages weight loss I found that kayaking for three or four hours per day can burn up to 1000 Cal. Statistics have shown that for a 120 pound person to steadily kayak for one hour they can convert up to 300 Cal for a 180 pound person to kayak steadily for three hours they can convert nearly 450 Cal

Celeste Riddell a fitness professional with thatsfit.com states that rowing and paddling are great for upper body workouts that can also help you to improve flexibility circulation and joint health plus getting out onto the water takes away the stresses of everyday life and can really boost and rejuvenate your spirit.

There are also many mental health benefits. As previously stated kayaking has been proven to reduce stress. Kayaking also allows for a decrease in anxiety, depression as well as promoting relaxation which provides a sense of calmness and peace. If you have ever been in a boat by the water or in a kayak and you have listened to your surroundings and watched the rhythm of the water, the birds flying in the sky, the trees(or palm trees) whistling, it has a meditation and harmonizing quality to it. Ofcourse you can go on a yacht adventure or charter a boat, but kayaking has the added benefit of physical as well as mental benefits.

NGR outdoors with the Western Tennessee University have developed a rehabilitation program similar to a program that of the Walter Reed Army medical Center. It allows disabled veterans to learn how to kayak. Those people who have had amputations or had spinal cord injuries kayaking is their physical and emotional healing.

This method has been very successful so far. Although some spectators may say that kayaking is a lazy activity it actually does have great physical and mental qualities. It takes a lot of balance and strength and power to move around for long distances. Anything that can get someone off of the couch out and away from the television is great in our books.

Personally I enjoy kayaking not because I think of it as exercise but because it gets me out of the house. It lets me put myself an environment that allows me to think and meditate and enjoy my surroundings. The added benefit that it is exercise is just a bonus to me while I’m sitting on the water or paddling through and enjoying life.

Kayaking is a somewhat inexpensive activity after the initial purchase of the kayak going out onto the open water is free. It does have an advantage over going to the gym because you don’t have to pay the monthly membership and it allows you to get out of the stuffy condensed room with some people that aren’t always the best smelling (not pointing at any gym out in particular hehe).


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About the author 

Anthony Brown

Andrew is a seasoned kayaker with 15 years of experience under his belt. He began kayaking as a way to reduce work stress but quickly became an avid kayak fisher and lure expert. He currently enjoys both lake and ocean kayaking and loves to write and share his experiences.