The Top 10 Health Benefits of Kayaking

Imagine heading out into the open water of a lake with a kayak and just taking in the natural world around you. Don’t you just feel more relaxed and stress-free just thinking about it?

When it comes to kayaking, there are an incredible amount of benefits that come with taking on this outdoor activity. If you’ve never thought about kayaking before, it’s time to looking into purchasing your own and getting out there!

Benefits of Kayaking for Your Health

From losing that extra belly fat to improving the status of your mental health, kayaking is one of the absolute best outdoor sports to improve your health. Plus, it’s just super fun to spend a day on the water! Check out the biggest benefits you’re going to see down below:

1. Losing that extra weight

Think about it. How many fad diets have you tried to get rid of that nasty belly fat or those love handles? And how many of those have worked? Probably not that many!

Kayaking is the perfect way to lose weight and feel better about your body. We know it may be hard to start out, but if you kayak for just an hour at 5 mph, you’re going to be burning about 400 calories!

Imagine that – you’re kayaking on the open water for an hour and burning that many calories. If you’re spending two hours or three hours or even longer on your kayak, you could burn upwards of 1,000 or more calories. This is definitely the top health benefit of kayaking.

2. Taking away all of your stress and helping you feel relaxed

It’s been shown time and time again that when you get out and do some activities outdoors, you’re going to find yourself much less stressed than normal. Seeing that kayak go through the water, thanks to your own effort, and breathing in that fresh air on the lake or river is going to cause that stress to melt away.

And the benefits of stress reduction are incredible:

  1. You’re going to have a lower risk for cardiovascular disease or a stroke.
  2. You’ll find yourself with a much lower risk for diabetes.
  3. You’ll look more alive and be so much more happy to meet with friends, family, or coworkers.
  4. You’ll live so much longer when you don’t have stress weighing you down!

3. You’ll get a great upper body workout

If you’ve looked in the mirror lately and wished you had a bit more muscles in your upper-body region, then you’re not alone! We know how difficult it can be to get to the gym and spend an hour in there lifting weights.

What muscle benefit comes with getting on a kayak? Kayaking takes the stress of getting to the gym every day away from you. When you put that paddle in the water and push your kayak forward with your own force, you are going to be working out every muscle in your upper body. Before you know it, when you look in the mirror after a couple of kayaking sessions, you’ll be looking amazing.

4. It’s a great support for your mental health

Have you been having some issues with your mental health lately? If you’ve been suffering from depressive thoughts or other mental health issues, kayaking might be the perfect remedy for you.

When you do any kind of aerobic exercise like kayaking, positive chemicals are going to spread throughout your brain. These chemicals will automatically uplift your mood and cause you to feel so much more happy than you did before.

5. You’ll have a great community to lean on

Much like any kind of sport, you’re going to meet other people who are just as interested in kayaking as you are. And when you connect with these communities, you will meet new people in person and online who you can start kayaking with.

Or you could even talk with your significant other, family members or friends to see if they would like to start kayaking with you. Kayaking can be a great way to connect with others around you, which has incredible benefits for your health.

6. How about that Vitamin D?

Of course, anytime you head outside for extended periods of time, you’re going to get your daily dosage of Vitamin D. The big benefit on body health that comes with this include:

  1. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells in your body.
  2. Vitamin D can help with your high blood pressure.
  3. It can help elderly people experience many less falls than otherwise.
  4. You’re going to feel more awake when you have more Vitamin D.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and kayak to get your daily dosage of this super important vitamin!

7. It helps you develop a positive self-image and more confidence

When you add a lot of these health benefits together, you’re going to see a huge boost in your confidence department, which is a big health benefit of kayaking. When you lose body fat, gain muscles, and work on your mental health, you will find yourself with a much more positive self-image.

This means that when you head out the door, you’ll find yourself with new opportunities you never thought possible. You might get a promotion at work for your new confidence. You might find the love of your life even, since confidence is seen as a super attractive quality.

8. Your core is going to be as strong as ever

In addition to your upper body, kayaking gives you the chance to work on your core muscles. When you turn the kayak paddles and push them backward, you have to engage your core muscles.

Over time, these fitness actions will give you a stronger core and you might even find yourself with a six-pack in the future. But that’s only if you keep working at it, so be sure to get on that kayak on a regular basis! This is a great muscle benefit from kayaking.

9. And your legs, too!

But the workout doesn’t just stop at your core and your upper body. Your entire body is going to get a fitness workout when you add your legs into the mix!

You’ll be putting a ton of pressure onto your legs to stabilize yourself and help turn the kayak. Next time after your latest kayaking session, check your legs and see how many muscles you’re working on down there.

10. Improves your cardiovascular health

The next big benefit you’re going to see from starting to kayak is for your cardiovascular health. As with any aerobic exercise where you’re burning calories and getting your heart rate up, your heart health will seriously improve.

This is important if you’ve faced high blood pressure or other cardiovascular conditions in the past. Kayaking will help you improve those conditions and make your heart happier and healthier than ever.

You’ll make more healthy choices in other areas of your life

When you make the first healthy choice of stepping on a kayak, you’re going to find yourself making more healthy choices. You might stop eating processed foods and aim to eat more healthy meals. Or you might grab a handful of almonds for a snack, rather than that bar of chocolate.

It’s been shown time and time again that those people who start making healthy choices are more inclined to make more choices for the betterment of their mind and body. This is an amazing health benefit of kayaking that you should definitely keep in mind.

Different Uses of a Kayak

You might assume that you can only use your kayak to go around the lake or down the river for exercise. However, there are many other uses of a kayak beyond just that! Combine your favorite outdoor activities with kayaking for an even more fun time. 

  1. Fishing – Why not start fishing while you’re on your kayak? If you’re already an avid fisher, then you are going to have a great time fishing while on your kayak. Or you can even start to learn how to fish after you’ve gotten used to riding a kayak.
  2. Touring – If you haven’t taken a vacation in a while, then kayaking is a great way to see new areas. Head out to Colorado or some other beautiful state or country to kayak down rivers and through lakes to discover new sights. You can check with any kayaking tour agency to check their rates for a tour guide.
  3. Rafting – If you want to take your kayaking skills to the next level, you can even go white water rafting with a kayak! This is something that you definitely need some expertise in kayaking for. Be sure to spend some time on the kayak in calmer waters before you go white water rafting.


In summary, there are not many other activities that are as good for your health as kayaking. You’re going to see a huge improvement in your muscle development, your mental health, and even your Vitamin D intake!

If you’ve never thought about heading out on a kayak for a day, then it should be obvious by now that you’re missing out. We’re positive you will enjoy your time on the kayak, so head out into the open water next weekend.


Tim Fox is a writer and cofounder of blog where he and his friends share information about the outdoor life

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