As you watch the bow of your kayak silently glide through the water and you gaze at the tranquility before you, the activity's fitness benefits might not even enter your mind. When you're done enjoying the scenery, however, get paddling. Although this exercise might not burn calories at an overly fast rate, a long day on the water can help you improve your health.
Paddling Off the Calories
The calories you'll burn during a day of kayaking depend on your weight and length of time on the water. According to Harvard Health Publications, a person who weighs 125 pounds burns an average of 150 calories during 30 minutes of kayaking. A person who weighs 185 pounds, meanwhile, burns 222 calories during a 30-minute kayaking workout. To increase the calorie burn of your workout, paddle against the current or wind.
Comparable to Moderate Activities
Although a kayaking trip can easily help you burn more than 1,000 calories, this sport's calorie burn isn't overly quick. Harvard Health Publications notes kayaking burns calories at about the same rate as skateboarding, snorkeling, softball and walking at an average pace of 4.5 mph. Among water-based activities, swimming, water skiing and scuba diving all burn calories faster than kayaking.
Create Enough Time for Better Health
Kayaking is a form of aerobic exercise, and this type of workout is instrumental in building a healthy body and mind. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends spending at least 150 minutes performing moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. If you're short on time, 75 minutes of up-tempo aerobic exercise is a suitable alternative. If you don't have the time or resources to devote this much commitment to kayaking, augment your kayaking workout with more convenient aerobic exercises such as jogging and bicycling.
A Better Body and Mind
Kayaking isn't just an activity for those who enjoy the outdoors. Many people can benefit from this exercise. Its low impact makes it a comfortable exercise for people with joint discomfort. Kayaking also strengthens your cardiovascular system and builds the strength of the muscles in your shoulders, arms, back, core and even your legs. Although your legs don't propel you, they help you navigate the kayak. Kayaking can also alleviate stress and anxiety, making it ideal for those with depression.
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Better Health Channel: Canoeing and Kayaking -- Health Benefits
- Harvard Health Publications: Benefits of Exercise -- Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Helps Fight Depression, From Harvard Men's Health Watch