Imagine a sport that lets you paddle through spectacular fjords, navigate hair-raising rapids, or get near a migrating whale. These are just a few trips you can take if you are on a kayak, a small and maneuverable boat that is appropriate for just about every type of marine environment. And depending on the adventure and workout you’re seeking, you can change the environment to meet you needs-calm waters for a slow, easier, and less intense ride or fast flowing rivers for an intense workout and thrilling experience.

The sport provides a great physical workout and being on the water can help reduce stress and relieve tension. It’s also a sport that you can do alone or with a group of friends-although if you’re beginner you should go with other people the first few times.

Getting Started

When it comes to kayaking, you will definitely want to take lessons before getting out on the water. Most outfitters offer lessons before you rent a boat from them, but it may be worth your while to sign up for a class, especially if you plan on kayaking frequently. There you’ll learn kayaking basics like getting in and out of your boat, stroke and paddling techniques, and how to maneuver your boat when it gets knocked over. If you’re kayaking on a sunny day, make sure to apply a sunscreen of at least spf 15 or higher to all exposed areas of your skin.

Body Benefits

Kayaking is a great sport for building endurance and toning muscles, especially in the arms, shoulders and abs. It also provides an intense aerobic workout that can burn several hundred calories per hour. Considering you may be out on the water for several hours at a time, one kayak trip can burn more than 1,000 calories.

Warming Up and Cooling Down

It’s a good idea to warm up before you put the boat in the water. Go for a walk or light jog for about 5 to 10 minutes to allow your muscles to warm up and your heart rate to increase gradually. When you do get in the boat, take a few minutes to paddle slowly before going full force.

At the end of your ride, slow down your pace to cool down. If your workout was especially rigorous, you may want to walk around the shore for a few minutes after you’ve gotten out of the kayak.

Be sure to stretch your arms, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps before and after paddling to prevent injury and reduce soreness.


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