5 Awesome Health Benefits of Kayaking


blue kayak

Have you ever found yourself looking for some new challenges and new ways to get active? While there are many options out there kayaking is one of my personal favorites and one that is near and dear to my heart. Carly has graciously allowed me to expound on why kayaking is an awesome sport that incorporates such a great workout and provides other awesome health benefits as well!


5 Awesome Health Benefits of Kayaking


Let’s start with the obvious. When you’re out there digging in with your paddle your arms, all of your arms, are doing a lot of work. Your forearms, shoulders, biceps and triceps will all be getting in on the action while you’re out paddling. The overhand grip that’s used when paddling is a great way to incorporate movements that are used in your day to day life. So when you’re kayaking your getting better at the everyday things you do when not paddling.


A part of body that you might not expect gets a lot of attention when you’re kayaking, your back. The pulling motion of your paddle stroke is dominated by your back and if you’ve you wanted to train your lats, traps and lumbar kayaking has you covered. Think of the rows that you do in the gym, now instead of doing 3 sets of 10 you’re doing 1 set of 500. The thing with kayaking is that you’re getting a great workout without knowing it.



Another muscle group that you might not think of getting a lot of action while kayaking is your core. If you’ve ever been on the water you know that stability is crucial and stability in all actions comes from your core, if you’ve been paddle boarding you know what I’m talking about. The action of stabilizing your kayaking comes directly from your core and incorporates all of your abs from the upper, lower and obliques. The day after your first kayak outing you’ll feel every ab muscly you’ve got.


You might not think of it as a muscle but your heart is one of the most important in your body, we only get so many heartbeats and thankfully a lot of mine have given to kayaking. Whether you’re about taking it easy and lowering your heart rate or riding big whitewater and grabbing a serious workout kayaking can be the cardio option that you didn’t know you had. There have been very few times that I can remember that I got as good of a cardio blast from something other than whitewater.


The great thing about kayaking is that you’re in control of how much you give but kayaking does require that you’re present. You have to turn off your phone, get out of the house and just be with your boat. The health benefits that come from engaging with the natural world have been well studied. The Journal of Environmental Psychology said it well, “The seaside, the mountains, lakes, streams, forests and meadows are all idyllic places for ‘getting away’.”

Want to sit back and take in the smell of the water, the sound of the birds, and the sights that drift by? Kayaking can provide. Rather challenge yourself with some bigger water as the shore rips by? Kayaking can provide.


Just remember that nature is there waiting for you and all you have to do is stop by. Thanks for letting me share why it is that I love kayaking, and whitewater, and nature, and.. well you get the point. See you out there!

When not at the computer writing for his site DigandFlow.com, James finds himself outside as much as possible. After a big lifestyle change and with the help of diet and exercise James found a healthier lifestyle and has been able to pursue physical activities that he was unable to before. Trail running, rock climbing, cross country skiing and healthy cooking take up the majority of his free time.


  1. I love that you mentioned it's a great core workout. People always seem to forget this one, as it seems like a passive sport but is actually a full body workout (minus the legs!).


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