Kayaking to Lose Weight: Does It Really Work?

When you think of kayaking the first thing that comes to mind is a fun, recreational activity, right? But does it actually count as an exercise that would burn calories and help you lose weight? Well, that is what we shall discuss hereunder!

First of all, to those who might not know, what is kayaking?

Kayaking is basically a water sport which involves paddling with a double-bladed oar and a small boat that is called a kayak. Kayaks come in different sizes and types. Most kayaks have an enclosed deck that covers your legs. The boat sits low in the water and usually holds a single paddler, however tandem kayaks hold two people and some others hold up to three people. This means that kayaking is mostly sitting, paddling and enjoying the water and the sun, isn’t it? Well, let’s see about that. In fact and to your surprise it really does burn calories and is both fun and counts as an exercise as proven below.

The Science of Weight Loss:

Simply, we need to understand how your body works to lose weight in a non-medical easy way. For your body to carry out basic functions of the day, it needs a number of calories. This number differs from one person to another depending on their weight, age, gender, muscle mass and daily activity, but it normally ranges from 1800-2200 calories per day. In order for your body to lose weight, you need to eat less calories than your body needs or burn more calories than you eat.  This is called “calorie deficit”. 

When your body senses this deficit, it shall be forced to burn the stored fats in it to get the energy it needs. This is simply the science of weight loss. For example, if your body needs 1800 calories per day and you eat 1500, you have a deficit of 300 calories that your body will burn from your fat storage. You can also consume the full 1800 calories and burn 300 calories with workout to achieve the same result. A mixture of both exercise and less calorie intake is an option too. 

Is Kayaking a Good Weight Loss Activity?

It is an easy equation, if it leads to calorie burning in a short period of time , then it is a good weight loss activity. Typically, in your tight schedule, you need an efficient exercise that leads to a good amount of calorie burning. 

Facts have it that in an hour of kayaking, you burn around 340 calories that is given that you weigh about 150 pounds. If you weigh more you will burn even more!! Outstanding isn’t it? 

Here is what an hour of these exercises burn in an hour if you weigh around 150 pounds:

  • Cycling (non-professional): 272 calories/hour
  • Jogging: 476 calories/hour
  • Swimming (non-professional): 476 calories/hour
  • Walking: 224 calories/hour
  • Non-extensive weight training: 204 calories/hour

Therefore, kayaking comes right after casual swimming and jogging. In fact, for some people with joint or bone issues, jogging is not a very good idea as your body weight is borne on your legs. Kayaking is then a good exercise to consider for weight loss. 

How Does it Work for Your Body?

Kayaking is a low impact activity that can improve your aerobic fitness, upper body strength and flexibility, as well as developing strong legs.

Studies Show that kayakers have extraordinary anaerobic and aerobic capacities. Their upper body is typically really strong because they use it to propel the kayak forward.

Male kayakers generally have lean bodies with narrow hips and a rather wide upper body, somehow like swimmers. The female kayakers seem to have a mesomorph body type. This means they have low body fat, that is well-proportioned and do not struggle with weight loss or gain for that matter. Kayaking is a recreational activity, so you can actually be exercising and having fun at the same time. A huge plus right?

Does Kayaking Have Other Benefits?

If burning the calories and losing the extra weight is not enough reason to motivate you to start taking up kayaking, maybe these other benefits will. 

Meet new people and catch up with friends: Taking up a new activity allows you to meet new people that may become good friends in time. We all know that catching up with your friends can be challenging when you have a busy schedule, however, if you decide to take up an activity together with your buddies, that would be a great way to spend time together and learn something new and fun.

Improve your mental health: Let’s agree that being around water is a perfect way to relax and recharge. Kayaking, as any other exercise, helps your body produce feel-good hormones. So, in addition to exercising, you will return home in an elevated mood and fully replenished.

Better heart health: physical activities that raise your heart rate,also known as cardiovascular activities, are great for your heart. These activities reduce the risk of developing any chronic diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Expose your body to Vitamin D: As important as vitamin D is, you can not get enough of it through food alone. Kayaking under the sun will fulfill your body’s needs of vitamin D if you do it regularly.

Final words 

Kayaking is a recreational activity that actually benefits your body, mind and soul. You can both enjoy it as some “me time” or as a group activity. To mix things up for you, there are many things you can enjoy while kayaking such as touring, fishing, racing and whitewater kayaking. So, without realizing it and while having loads of fun, you will find yourself in better shape. 

 Do not hesitate to try it and you will see the results for yourself. Get your legs paddling!

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