Few exercises provide the entertainment range of kayaking. One minute, you're gliding through the water as you admire the tranquility of your surroundings -- the next minute, you're zipping down a set of rapids. But kayaking isn't just a way to create variation in your workout. This water sport has a number of benefits that can greatly improve your overall health.
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Strength -- Inside and Out
The website Better Health Channel notes that kayaking can elevate your cardiovascular health and strengthen a number of major muscle groups throughout your body. While kayaking provides a challenging upper-body workout, it's also suitable for your lower body. It's possible to navigate the boat through leg movements, which keeps your entire body active during the activity.
Overall Health Improvement
Kayaking provides an aerobic workout, which should be a key part of your weekly fitness routine. General benefits of all forms of aerobic exercise include increased endurance, improved heart health, better regulation of cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, lower blood pressure and better lung strength, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
A Clear, Happy Mind
Exercises such as kayaking play an integral role in the improvement of your mental health. Aerobic exercise, notes Harvard Health Publications, triggers the release of brain chemicals that can quickly improve your mood. If you're depressed, stressed or just need to clear your mind from the hectic nature of your day, paddling a kayak can provide a relaxing workout. The physical benefits you receive through this workout can also lead to higher self-esteem.
Building a Fitter Body
Many people seek exercises that can burn enough calories to aid in weight loss. If you have access to a kayak, the proper equipment and a body of water, this activity can play a role as you burn fat to build a slimmer physique. Harvard Health Publications reports that in 30 minutes of kayaking, a 185-pound person burns about 222 calories. This calorie burn is lower than many forms of exercise, but over the course of a long excursion, it's easy to burn more than 1,000 calories.