Gyms and Fitness Clubs

The Health, Fitness and Weight Loss Benefits of Kayaking

Unlike many sports, kayaking has the allure of being a unique experience in addition to sculpting the human body into a lean, almost machine-like entity. Those who take up kayaking for fitness, whether it be sea kayaking or river kayaking, are often surprised by the internal benefits as much as the physical. While kayaking was originally used by natives of the Arctic and Pacific Northwest purely as a mode of transportation, it is now a way for people to get in optimum physical condition and exchange a crowded, stressful environment for a few hours of solitude among natural surroundings. Kayaking can be learned in as little as a day or two, giving the athlete a foundation to grow on and perfect their skills over time. It isn't easy, but kayaking is pretty simple and with a knowledge of the water (especially tides) and the ability to navigate, people enjoy days-long kayaking trips.

Losing Weight and Building Muscle While Kayaking

On average, kayaking burns around 340 calories per hour for a 150lb person. You can up your calories burned by paddling more briskly and with more effort, and of course lower it by doing the opposite. To achieve an acceptable level of general fitness and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease significantly, it is recommended that people partake in some form of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes three to five times each week. Aerobic exercise trains and strengthens the heart and lungs in order to deliver oxygen (used as energy) to muscles more efficiently and for a longer period of time. Achieving proper aerobic fitness results in endless benefits, a few of which are higher longevity due to lowered blood pressure, a low resting heart rate, and a heart that's able to do more for the body while working less. Kayaking is a superb way to develop and maintain aerobic fitness throughout your lifetime. Additionally, each time the paddle dips into the water to propel the kayak, your body is met with increased resistance requiring an extra burst of force from the muscles, which develops and strengthens your anaerobic system. Due to some difficult maneuvering and the overall substantial involvement of the entire body, kayaking greatly increases flexibility, which aids in the prevention of injury.

Muscles Involved in Kayaking

Kayaking utilizes several muscles. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles in the shoulder joint involved in all kayaking movements. It is surprisingly easy to injure by overworking or pushing yourself too hard, and many people are forced to stop kayaking altogether after their rotator cuff takes a hit. To prevent this, consult your physical trainer to come up with a series of exercises to build strength in the rotator cuff and perform them on a regular basis (even when you think you're strong enough). Covering two-thirds of the arm, the tricepts are involved in forward strokes while kayaking. The biceps rotate the forearm and flex the elbow, and like the triceps, aid in forward strokes while kayaking. Behind the arm and across the back is the latissimus, which rotates the arm inward and moves the arm back and down. In kayaking, rolls and braces rely on the lats. The trapezius, or traps, are involved in forward kayaking strokes and move the neck from side to side, move the shoulder blades backward toward the spine, and move the shoulder blades up and down.

Equipment Needed While Kayaking

When it comes time to purchase your own kayaking equipment, it should be done with care. Whether you bring certain kayaking equipment depends on how cold the weather and water is, but unless you only go kayaking in the summer months, you should pick them up. A personal floatation device is non-optional and must be worn at all times. A pump is a piece of kayaking equipment that removes water from the cockpit after capsizing, and a sponge will wipe off small amounts of water on the sides of the cockpit. A paddle float is essential for a self-rescue after the kayak capsizes. Watershoes give your feet traction and protection while kayaking. A spray jacket keeps any spray or rain off your body, keeping you warm. In addition, you will need a whistle, extra food and water, a set of dry clothing, gloves, sunglasses, and a hat. Your circumstances and the kind of kayaking you're doing will require additional kayaking equipment, and this list is general.