Kayaking for Fitness: How to Turn Your Hobby into a Workout
While you may think kayaking in Las Vegas is a laid-back and leisurely activity, it’s a great way to get your heart pumping and your blood moving! Kayaking is a sport that uses the entire body. From head to toe, you can work out your cardiovascular system, build muscle, and even improve your mental health. If you’re a nature lover or fitness enthusiast looking for things to do in Vegas during the day, kayaking is a perfect option!
How does kayaking improve fitness levels?
Kayaking in Las Vegas is a great workout, but it also has long-term health benefits if you keep kayaking consistently and for more extended periods. Kayaking elevates your heart rate, which helps burn calories and provides other benefits like improving your blood flow and mood. Your muscles will become stronger with kayaking, which works out your upper body, torso, and even legs. As you navigate rivers and paddle from one destination to the next on a kayaking tour, you’ll challenge your mind in the process, and you may end the trip in an improved mood after being out on the water with beautiful scenery. At the end of the day, you’ll be ready for other Las Vegas activities!
Working for Your Workout
Of course, kayaking won’t be a great workout if you’re just floating down the river without doing any paddle strokes. If you really want kayaking in Las Vegas to be a challenging workout, you can try adding some kayaking techniques to your workout, such as “sprinting.” Sprinting is a technique used by professional kayakers. To perform a sprint, paddle at your “race pace” (or if you haven’t raced before, just paddle as fast as possible) for 60 seconds, followed by a 20-second break. Repeat this drill until your core gets tired. If you are kayaking for fitness on flat waters without any currents, doing drills is ideal for turning your kayaking outing into a workout.
Kayaking in more challenging conditions will naturally give you a better workout. If you’re out in Class II waters, for instance, you’ll be able to use different paddling strokes and techniques that give your body a good workout. A helpful hint is that you should practice kayaking strokes and techniques to make the Class II waters feel more like you’re kayaking in Class III rapids. Similarly, if you are paddling in Class III rapids, try some techniques and maneuvers that make the water feel more like Class IV. Challenging yourself in rapids provides a quality workout and builds your endurance and strength, especially if you frequently kayak in those conditions.
Freestyle kayaking is a more advanced type of kayaking that is also a great workout. Freestyle kayaking still works out all the muscles in your body, but it’s especially good for your core, as you need a strong core to maintain stability in the water. Freestyle kayaking also uses a variety of different paddling techniques, which naturally work out different parts of your body. The more varied your paddling strokes are, the more of a workout you’ll get.
What muscles will kayaking work out?
If you’re looking to build muscle volume, kayaking for fitness is your sport. Kayaking targets specific arm muscles, including the biceps, lats, abdominals, and forearms. Along with the arm muscles, kayaking also gives your back muscles a workout. Those effects are magnified if you kayak consistently and at least several times per week. After kayaking regularly for several months, you’ll start to get developed lats. If you continue kayaking, your forearms and biceps muscles will get larger. At the same time, kayaking will also strengthen your abdominal muscles. Along with strengthening the arm muscles, kayaking works your core muscles, so you’ll get a six-pack as well.
Burning Calories Through Kayaking
As with other kinds of physical activity, kayaking burns calories. If other Las Vegas activities that you have planned are calorie-laden (such as dining out and going to bars), kayaking can help mitigate the effects of overindulging. The more effort you put into paddling and raising your heart rate, the more calories you’ll burn. If you are really paddling hard, you can burn over 400 calories per hour. On the other hand, floating at a leisurely pace down the river will burn very few calories in comparison, as little as 50 per hour. Since kayaking in Las Vegas burns calories, it can also be part of your weight loss plan if you kayak regularly and keep up a good pace. Although kayaking is a good activity for weight management, you will likely also need to work with your dietician or physician to devise a holistic weight management plan. Along with kayaking, there may be other adjustments that you need to make to your lifestyle and diet to ensure that you are on the right track for weight management.
While you can build muscle and core strength by kayaking, there are also other exercises that you can do to supplement the workout that you get through kayaking.
Here are some of the top exercises you can do to further tone your body and improve your muscle strength:
Planks are a pose that will build endurance and core strength. Start by lying flat on your stomach. Put your feet about hip-width apart and keep your ankles straight. Curl your toes and lift your body up, keeping it in a straight line. Put your elbows under your shoulders and straighten your arms. Squeeze your glutes and quads to keep your body straight. Your head and neck should stay in an even, neutral position.
Kettlebells have been gaining traction as a form of exercise. Kettlebells are a great way to supplement a fitness routine. You can either do kettlebell exercises on your own or find a kettlebell class to join. Regardless of where you are, you’ll want to find a kettlebell with a weight that you can manage for at least 20 reps.
In order to be a more efficient kayaker, working on your core strength off the water is essential. Modified crunches are similar to regular crunches, except that they add a “crunch and twist” motion. To perform modified crunches:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and press them together.
- Cross your arms over your chest.
- Lift your head and chest as if doing a regular crunch, but rotate your upper body towards your left leg.
- Keep your head a few inches away from your chest to keep a neutral neck position.
- Lower your body back to the ground, then repeat the same motion with the right knee.
Kayaking to Alleviate Back Pain
While kayaking for fitness is a great way to get in shape, you will need to ask your doctor if kayaking is a safe activity to do if you have back pain. Your doctor may advise certain kinds of kayaking but give you specific guidance for your individual case.
If you’re ready to go kayaking in Las Vegas for your health, contact Blazin’ Paddles today! You have multiple kayaking tour options, including half-day, full-day, and self-guided expeditions. Of all the active Las Vegas activities you can do, kayaking tops the list.