Kayaking is Good Exercise

A kayaking vacation with Paddling Michigan will provide you with beautiful views and good exercise, too. Most people can kayak without any special skill or training, so it’s a great activity for the entire family. Even just being outside is good for you.


As watersport participation grows on The Great Lakes, kayaking offers a way to sightsee and add movement during your vacation. The natural resistance of water challenges muscles and burns calories!


Kayaking Burns Calories


According to the American Council on Exercise, a 125-lb person burns about 280 calories per hour while kayaking, and an 175-lb person can burn up to almost 400 calories per hour. That really adds up on a 2-3 hour excursion!


Kayaking Works Muscles


Although it may not look like it, kayaking is a total body workout. Here’s the muscles you use while kayaking:


Arms – It’s pretty clear that your arms muscles get a workout when you are kayaking, but did you know the paddling motion works your back, shoulders, and chest, too?


Wrists/Hands – Your hand muscles flex as you grip the paddle while your wrists stabilize the blade against the water. The tension created works those small but important muscle groups.


Core – As you rotate the paddle to each side of the kayak, your core muscles get a good stretch. In addition, your abdominal muscles constantly engage to keep you balanced in the boat.


Legs – Yes, your legs are also getting a workout while you kayak. When paddling, you apply pressure to the bottom of the boat for more power. And, like your core, your legs are continually tweaking your balance.


Heart – Don’t forget about the cardiovascular benefits of kayaking. Your heart rate increases as you paddle faster, especially through waves and currents.


Exercise Before Kayaking


While you will get a good workout kayaking, you may want to do a few exercises before you get in the boat. Hitting the gym prior to kayaking will increase your performance in the water and lessen the chance for sore muscles when you finish.


If you want to get in shape for kayaking, here’s a few types of exercises you can do before you are on the water:


Cardio – Any kind of cardio-building exercises will prepare you for your trip, including swimming or trail hiking.


Stretching – When stretching before kayaking, you may want to try lunging with a torso twist or side bends. These twisting actions mimic the kind of rotation you use when you paddle.


Balance – Prep your body for balance in the water. Yoga offers some excellent balancing practices.


Strength – Of course a good ‘arm-day’ at the gym will be beneficial before you get in your kayak. But don’t neglect your legs!


You don’t need to hit the gym to enjoy time in a kayak this summer. But for those of you who like to stay on your exercise routine while vacationing, you can feel confident that your kayak trip with Paddling Michigan checks all the boxes of a full body workout – with great views of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore as a bonus!


Matt Ricketts