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Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Kayaking

Physical And Mental Health Benefits Of Kayaking

We all need to get outdoors, enjoy nature, and escape the hustle and bustle of life. There are lots of different sports and activities that you could do to get out and about, yet if you have ever been kayaking, you will know just how enjoyable it can be.

Getting into the rhythm of paddling is a great way to focus your mind while exploring in a kayak gives you a truly unique perspective of the world around you. Not only is the activity a great way to get out of the house, on your own or with your family, it is also a lot of fun and has a number of physical and mental health benefits for you to enjoy.

Any time you head out on the water, you will be able to enjoy a host of benefits, but we have taken a closer look at some of the main advantages of heading out on the water for the day…

Physical benefits

For most people, going kayaking means heading out for at least a few hours, which can provide you with a range of physical benefits:

Lose Weight

Lose WeightKayaking is an excellent source of physical exercise, and research suggests that you burn between 400 and 500 calories every hour that you are out on the water. As most kayakers will be heading out for an entire day, that means you could be burning anywhere from 1,600 calories upwards!

Although it is a lower rate of calorie burning per minute compared to other high-intensity sports such as running or swimming, the fact you can do it for much longer periods. Setting aside an afternoon, or if possible, a full day, every week will ensure you are able to lose weight and reach your target goals.

Increase Core Muscle Strength

Heading out on the water for an afternoon not only helps you to lose weight but can also help you to build up your core muscle strength. Your core muscles are one of the most important parts of your body and are responsible for your body position.

Sitting in the kayak and paddling helps to build up your core strength as you paddle and keep the kayak balanced in the water.

Build Muscle Mass

Build Muscle MassAlongside improving your core muscles, kayaking is also a great way to build up muscle mass on your arms and legs. To power a kayak a mile, it takes hundreds of strokes, which is a fantastic way to build up the strength in your arms, back, and shoulders.

Your legs also play an important role when kayaking. Not only do they help to keep you balanced on the water, but you are constantly tightening and loosening your muscles, particularly when you are turning.

Boost Your Endurance

As you will be out on the water for long periods of time, kayaking is a great way to boost your endurance and stamina. This means you will be able to build up your energy levels and take part in exercise for even longer.

Heading out regularly on the water in your kayak will help you to build up your stamina, which can benefit you throughout your daily life too.

Improve Heart Health

Heart HealthKayaking is an aerobic activity, which means that every time you are out on the water, you will be strengthening your heart and improving how it pumps blood around your body. The more you perform the activity, the stronger your heart will be, and the better it will be able to perform.

Enhance Your Vitamin D Intake

Vitamin D is essential to boosting our immune system, strengthening our bones, improving brain development, and supporting our heart. By spending time outside on your kayak and enjoying a day on the water, you will be absorbing as much vitamin D from the sun as required to keep your body functioning as best as it can.

Mental health benefits

Not only does kayaking give your body a number of physical benefits, but regularly spending some time out on the lake is also a great way to improve your mental health.

Reduce Stress

Reduce StressWe live in a hectic world, with the hustle and bustle of modern life creating a lot of stress and worry. Spending time outdoors, breathing fresh air, and relaxing is a great way to reduce your stress and improve your mental health.

When you go kayaking, you will be spending long periods out on the lake, enjoying time away from that hustle and bustle, and giving you a chance to unwind. The regular exercise from paddling the kayak is also a great way to reduce your stress too.

Boost Happiness

Not only does kayaking help you to reduce your stress, but it can also help you to become happier. When we exercise, our bodies release chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine, which help to boost our mood and increase our overall happiness.

Kayaking is a great form of exercise, however, in addition to that being outside in natural beauty, and surrounded by other people, can also really improve your overall happiness.


Kayaking is SocialAs almost anyone can go kayaking, it means you can enjoy valuable time with your friends and family and provide you with the ability to meet new friends. With most bodies of water having somewhere, you can rent all of the required equipment; it means that complete beginners are able to join you on the water.

Even if your family and friends do not want to go kayaking with you, there are many clubs and organizations that you can join to meet like-minded individuals.

Improve Focus

Kayaking is also able to help improve your focus. By giving you that time away from the stresses of life, alongside releasing chemicals such as dopamine into your system, it can increase your overall focus and attention.

By allotting a set amount of time each week to getting out on the water, you will be able to get away from whatever personal or professional challenges you might be facing for a few hours. By switching off from these problems, you will then be able to approach them with a fresh perspective when you return.

Set A Goal

Having a hobby and a focus each week can help you build up a routine and give you something to look forward to and work towards. Setting yourself a goal, whether that is to explore a new lake, improve your skills, or paddle further, is a great way to create a healthy mind and give you a sense of achievement and success when you accomplish it.

Promote Better Sleep 

Promote better sleepWhen you spend a day out on the lake, you will be putting your body through physical and mental exercise that will leave you worn out, helping you to sleep better at night. When we are worn out, we enter deep sleep quicker and can awake feeling more refreshed and ready for whatever the new day has in store.

Of course, these are just a handful of the many physical and mental health benefits that come with kayaking. Everyone is able to enjoy a different experience when they head out on the water, so if you are looking to boost your physical appearance and improve your mental health, kayaking can help you!

Kayak On!


I was first introduced to kayaking as a teenager when I joined a competitive canoe club. It was instant love. But when I went off to school and then got a job, adult responsibilities got in the way. Now approaching retirement, I've rekindled my kayak romance. My husband and I love to throw the kayaks on the trailer and head out on adventures. Maybe you'll join us?!

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