Kayaking is an exhilarating sport and outdoor hobby perfect for anyone who wants a great time in nature's company. Luckily for adventurers, this activity offers more than just a fun, exciting experience. Paddling while enjoying beautiful scenery contributes to our physical and mental wellness, making us healthier and happier after every short kayaking session.
What is Kayaking?
Kayaking involves gliding across waterways in a small boat with the help of a double-bladed paddle. Initially designed for fishing and hunting, it's now a popular activity for those looking to start a new outdoor hobby or families and groups of friends who want to take a nature break.
Even as a first-time paddler with minimal athletic abilities, you won’t have difficulty launching the kayak and maneuvering it in the right direction. Enjoy kayaking and reap its incredible mental and physical benefits!
7 Benefits of Kayaking
So, why exactly is kayaking so good for you?
1. It Activates the Vitamin D in Our Bodies
Vitamin D, also called the sunshine vitamin, is crucial to bone health, brain cell activity, muscle function, and immune response. We get it from certain kinds of food, supplements, and healthy sun exposure.
The moment you step outside and prepare to hit the water, you can get exposed to a healthy dose of sunlight, activating the production of vitamin D in your body. Night kayaking is amazing, but you may want to paddle in the morning, too, to boost vitamin D levels.
2. It Functions as a Low-Impact, Full-Body Exercise
Kayaking allows people of all ages to engage in an enjoyable, low-impact, full-body exercise in a breathtaking natural environment. It works many muscle groups yet is still easy on the joints, reducing the risks of injury for those who are not used to doing strenuous workouts.
However, it's still essential for beginner kayakers to take things slow to avoid pain as they get used to paddling. If you're planning to kayak several times a week as part of your exercise routine, it's best to increase the frequency/duration slowly over time.
3. Mother Nature Can Work Wonders
Nature can help us feel happier and relaxed. A 2019 study shows that spending time in a natural setting for as little as 20 minutes can highly reduce stress levels. No wonder kayaking for hours makes a world of difference in emotional and mental well-being!
Aside from hanging out in green spaces, physical activities like kayaking can decrease tension, improve sleep, and stabilize our mood. Moving through the water is a soothing activity, helping us take our minds off things and get into a more relaxed state. Consider it as an action-packed form of meditation with fitness benefits.
Plus, don’t forget that when you hit the water, you get more than kayaking. For instance, when you go on a guided tour with Evolution Expeditions, you’re also getting beaches, hot springs, and plenty of wildlife. That’s the magic of Mother Nature.
4. It Helps Us Socialize
Alone time with nature is one thing. Basking in the great outdoors with awesome company is another. Whether you’re part of a guided kayak tour group or spending time with loved ones, kayaking can help you nurture new and existing relationships. There’s an opportunity to socialize, even when you don’t feel like going out. This is especially the case if you decide to give tandem kayaking a try.
There are several social media groups that you can join to connect with other kayakers and explore new places together. Being with people can bring improved confidence and promote a sense of belongingness for those suffering from anxiety. Paddling makes us realize that we’re part of a community, and people out there share the same passion.
5. Kayaking Improves Heart Health
Kayaking is characterized by fast-paced movements, thereby strengthening the heart muscle and improving overall cardiovascular health. This outdoor aerobic workout can make your heart stronger and healthier when performed correctly and regularly.
Your heart rate increases as you paddle, improving lung health and raising the oxygen level in your blood. And you don’t need to be a pro paddler to experience these benefits. Even a more leisurely kayak adventure can get your heart pumping.
6. It Engages Different Muscle Groups
Although paddling left and right while sitting comfortably in a boat looks effortless, kayaking is actually a therapeutic full-body exercise. It primarily works the forearms, biceps, lats, and abdominals, yet it also addresses lower-body strength by engaging the legs and glute muscles.
It's a popular exercise, particularly for those who want firmer abs and stronger legs. The rotational movement engages the core, while the pressure on the legs helps tighten the muscles. Depending on the effort and intensity that you put in, you can see significant progress in your abs and legs in a matter of weeks.
7. Kayaking Increases Stamina and Endurance
The more you do it, the more manageable it gets. Like swimming and running, paddling for hours can increase stamina and endurance. Initially, don’t be surprised if you feel like you ran a marathon. Soon, you’ll gain enough strength to paddle longer and farther without getting so easily exhausted.
Even regular short kayaking sessions can result in increased strength and boost your energy when doing day-to-day activities. After committing to kayaking, you might find that things like carrying in the groceries or climbing a flight of stairs feel easier than they did before.
Kayak to Stay Happier and Healthier
Kayaking is for everyone who wants to rejuvenate their mind, body, and soul. You don't need to be an experienced kayaker to enjoy the above benefits. All you need is a bit of patience and confidence to get into the water, learn basic paddling techniques, and enjoy the ride! And especially if you’re following the lead of an experienced kayak guide, you can trust that you’re in good hands.
Ready to slip into your lifejacket and hit the waters? Evolution Expeditions is here for your next adventure. Learn more about our guided kayak tours and book your excursion today. Join us to experience the thrill of the Hoover Dam, Emerald Cave, Black Canyon, and so much more.