Kayaking From a Fitness Standpoint

Photo by Pete Nowicki/Unsplash

Practically any able-bodied person from ages 4 to 80 can enjoy the benefits of kayaking. However, whether you consider kayaking a sport or activity, a leisurely endeavor or active adventure, and at whatever level you participate in it, paddling a kayak involves some form of fitness. It is therefore very important to your well-being to be well educated on the health and safety factors inherent in the sport of kayaking. Here are some of the basics with regard to kayaking fitness to consider.

Kayaking Provides Great Exercise and a Healthy Lifestyle

Among other benefits, kayaking genuinely adds to a healthy lifestyle. Even if you don’t kayak for this advantage, it just comes with the territory. Being out on the water, in the great outdoors for usually hours at a time is just plain healthy. But, as with any physical activity, proper technique and form should be adhered to.

Kayaking Works Muscles in the Whole Body

Whether you’re seeking the exercise that kayaking provides or you just like the freedom that it affords, chances are you have still exerted your body while paddling, felt worn-out, and even sore. This is because kayaking works the entire body and not just the arms.

It is your torso rotation that drives your strokes. Your hips and legs help lean, balance, and even direct the kayak. And of course, your arms and shoulders transfer the power from your torso rotation to the paddle via the stages of the kayaking stroke. You’re whole bodies in action! Your whole body has the potential to be sore, overworked, and even injured.

Stretching Tips for Kayakers

So, given that kayaking is a physical activity that works the whole body, there are certain precautions that should be taken. One such step to take to ensure the proper functioning of your body is stretching. Stretching ensure a range of motion, flexibility, and muscle readiness which are all essential to paddling efficiency and safety.

So, if you’re any type of athlete you don’t need to be convinced as to the merits of stretching. The question remains, however, as to the best stretches for the sport of kayaking. Well, as kayaking employs the entire body, really you should take a head-to-toe approach. Start at your neck and work your way down your body, paying extra attention to those areas that you know require a little extra attention given your own physical needs and kayaking style.

Proper Kayaking Technique

When all’s said and done. After you’ve acknowledged that, yes, kayaking is good exercise, and, yes, you know you need to stretch. At the end of the day, you need to use proper kayaking techniques. Stretching can only do so much. The rest relies on the technique that is used to maneuver the kayak. That goes from the casual paddler to the determined competitor. Proper technique will work the right muscles, preserve your joints and muscles, lessen injuries and soreness, and just make the sport of kayaking a whole lot more fun.