1. It works all the major muscle groups.
Kayaking builds strength across the shoulders and tones the upper back and arms. That repetitive side-to-side motion of paddling twists the torso, all the way down to the feet. It may burn a little, but the burn will be worth it.
2. Sitting up straight and controlling the movement of the boat with your lower body helps work the core, stomach and lower back area, flattening the tummy and tightening the waist. The paddling action of alternate side twists works the waist and obliques far more than running or walking will.
3. It’s a full cardio workout.
Kayaking elevates the heart rate, burning up to 500 calories an hour.
4. The resistance of the water deepens the effort needed to propel yourself forward. The faster the water flow, the greater the resistance. And the greater the resistance, the greater the burn. Toned muscles, incoming.
5. It’s low-impact. Of course, in a kayak, you’re sitting down, so there’s no jolting of the ankles or knees, which makes it great for anyone with issues in these areas (e.g. those who can't run).
6. Anyone can do it. It’s just as good for beginners as it is for the super-fit. It’s up to you how hard you push it, from a calm paddle across a lake, to a challenging day-long escapade down a fast flowing river.
There’s no joining fee for the blue gym, and those rolling monthly fees are nowhere to be seen.
8. It's a different workout every time.
Nature doesn’t like to repeat herself. You’ll see different people, sights and sounds every time you go out, even if you take the same route.
9. It’s not just your body that has to engage, your mind is constantly assessing where you are, how you are doing, where you will go next, and all sorts of other questions. The best part about it? You won’t even notice you are exercising most of the time, which can only be a win-win.
Kayaking can be an endurance sport just as much as running or cycling. Long days on a river will certainly test your endurance and overall cardio ability.
11. It’s good for your balance.
It’s often overlooked, but keeping a kayak upright takes co-ordination and balance The rougher the water, the more you need to be able to balance yourself. This in turn will improve your core, the better your core, the more improved your squats and other compound and functional movements will be.