How to Get A Total Body Workout – Kayaking

According to LiveStrong, kayaking burns 222 calories for each 30 minutes spent paddling.

Kayaking is considered an aerobic exercise, a method of fitness that can increase your endurance, improve your heart health, blood sugar control, cholesterol regulation and better lung strength. This type of aerobic exercise plays a big part in your mental well-being, as well. In addition to improved mental health and a hardcore calorie burn, kayaking can boost your self-esteem. So when you need to destress or clear your mind, take to the water to decompress. 

Kayaking Lake Powell

While most people think that kayaking only works your arms, this form of exercise works your entire body—from your back to your legs.

Abs & Core

Kayaking requires a certain technique. Without the right form your kayak will turn left, right and it might even spin in circles. The correct form requires a torso rotation, powered by your core, which works your abs and tones your abdominal muscles. Your core is the most important factor in powering your kayak. After a full day of padding on the lake I was really feeling the burn.


Paddle stokes can be compared to some familiar weight lifting exercises like a single arm dumbbell row or the seated cable row. Each stoke works your lats, which makes kayaking an effective back workout. And, it’s easy to speed up your pace and go as fast as you want, or slow things down—whatever the speed you’re still getting in a good workout.

Kayaking Antelope Canyon


This one is obvious. It’s no secret that kayaking works out your upper arms. But it’s not the main source of power. If you’re using the right form you shouldn’t have to overexert your arms. If you’re feeling a burn in your forearms, you’re gripping your paddle too tight. Loosen up your grip. Not only do you use your arms for this workout, you’re using your shoulders because you’re completing a forward circular motion as you row. However, sometimes it’s easy to overwork or strain your shoulders. Keep your arms within the paddlers box to stay injury free.


It might not seem like you’re doing much leg work when kayaking, but that’s far from the truth. Your legs and your hips help to stabilize, brace and turn the kayak. If your legs are sore after a day spent paddling, adjust your kayak.


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