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How Fit Do You Need to Be for Kayaking?

Published May 26, 2022

Have you ever wanted to go kayaking, but weren’t sure if you were fit enough? You’re not alone! The great thing is that kayaking is a relatively low-impact activity, so you don’t need to be in amazing shape to get out on the water.

But, Paddling is even more fun and exciting adventure if you are physically fit. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the best ways to get prepared for kayaking, as well as some tips for staying healthy while out on the water.

So whether you’re a first-time kayaker or an experienced paddler, read on for some helpful information!

How Fit Do You Need to Be for Kayaking?

Muscles Involved in Kayaking

targeting the lats on the back when kayaking

While it is true that the arms, shoulders and back are used when kayaking, the majority of the power actually comes from your lats in your back. Kayaking is therefore an excellent workout for your upper body, using muscles in the arms, shoulders and back, as well as some abdominal area.

The key is to start slowly and build up your strength and stamina with the help of proper techniques and muscles.

Of course, the fitter you are, the more energy you will have and the longer your muscle will be able to paddle for. If you are looking to get a good workout, then kayaking can certainly give you that.

Best Ways to Get Prepared for Kayaking

Kayaking is a great workout for your upper body, core, and legs. If you want to get the most out of your kayaking experience, it’s important to be as fit as possible. Here are some of the best ways to get prepared for kayaking:

Aerobic Exercise:

You don’t need to be super fit to go for kayaking but you should be able to at least walk for long periods of time. If you can’t do that, then basic aerobic exercise such as walking or cycling will help tremendously.

If you want to get better at kayaking, aerobic exercise will be your best friend. These simple and easy exercises will help you build the power necessary for kayaking.

Don’t train like an athlete though – just make sure it’s something within reach like regular walks at home. Also, there are many fitness application and watches out there which will help you with your goals.

Most importantly, focus on enjoying the process and having fun!

Build Core Strength:

You don’t need six-pack abs for kayaking. In order to make your core stronger, you can do different types of exercises such as Sit-ups and Planks. A strong core will help you maintain good posture while kayaking and prevent falls.

  • Start with Sit-Ups:

To do a sit-up, curl your knees up toward your chest with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart. Place your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows in. Use your abs to curl your torso up off the floor until your upper back and shoulders are off the ground.

Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. Do as many sit-ups as you can in one minute.

  • Planks:

Get into pushup position on the floor, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of on your hands. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.

Tighten your abs and hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute. If you can’t hold it for that long at first, don’t worry. Just keep trying, and gradually work up to being able to hold the plank for one minute.

It is important to have a strong core. Not only will it improve your balance, but you will also be able to use your arms and legs more effectively.

You don’t need six-pack abs for kayaking. In order to make your core stronger, you can do different types of exercises such as Sit-ups and Planks. A strong core will help you maintain good posture while kayaking and prevent falls.

Get More Flexible:

When you’re out kayaking, your legs are just as important as the rest of your body. In order to be agile and quick on your feet, it’s essential to keep them stretched and toned.

That’s why taking yoga or pilates classes can be hugely beneficial for anyone looking to take up kayaking. Not only will it help improve your flexibility, but it also comes with a host of other health benefits too.

So if you want to get the flexibility in your kayaking experience, make sure you add some yoga or pilates into your routine!


You don’t need to be able to paddle for hours on end to enjoy kayaking, but having some endurance will make your experience much more enjoyable.

If you can, try to find a local place where you can paddle for 30 minutes to an hour at a time. This will help build up your endurance and prepare you for longer kayaking trips.

Now that I’ve discussed some of the best ways to get prepared for kayaking, let’s move on to some tips for staying healthy while paddling.

Tips for staying healthy for safe kayaking

– Drink plenty of water: Kayaking can be dehydrating, so it’s important to drink lots of water.

– Eat healthy snacks: Bring along some healthy snacks like fruits and nuts to keep your energy up.

– Take breaks: If you’re feeling tired, take a break. It’s better to paddle for a shorter time at a leisurely pace than to push yourself too hard and end up exhausted.

– Wear sunscreen: The sun can be harmful, even when it’s not that hot out. Make sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin.

– Dress appropriately: Kayaking can be cold, even in the summer. Make sure to dress in layers so you can adjust to the temperature.

With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to enjoying a safe and healthy kayaking experience! So get out there and start paddling!


How can I get started in kayaking?

If you’re interested in kayaking, the best way to get started is to find a local place to paddle. This can be a lake, river, or even the ocean. Once you’ve found a good spot, you can rent a kayak or bring your own. Then, just get out there and start paddling!

What do I need to bring on a kayaking trip?

When you’re planning a kayaking trip, there are a few things you’ll need to bring. First, you’ll need a kayak. You can either rent one or bring your own. Second, you’ll need some type of flotation device. This can be a life jacket or a paddle float. Finally, you’ll need some basic supplies like food, water, and sunscreen.

What are some safety tips for kayaking?

There are a few safety tips to keep in mind when kayaking. First, always make yourself available with a life jacket. Second, stay aware of your surroundings and be careful of obstacles in the water.

How can I improve my kayaking skills?

If you want to improve your kayaking skills, the best way to do it is to practice. Get out on the water as often as you can and try different techniques. You can also take lessons from an experienced kayaker or instructor. With enough practice, you’ll eventually become a skilled kayaker!

Is kayaking a growing sport?

Yes, kayaking is a fastest growing sport in America. More and more people are discovering the joys of paddling each year. Thanks to its popularity, there are now many different types of kayaks available to suit any need. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely paddle or an adrenaline-pumping ride, there’s a kayak out there for you!

What are some of the best places to kayak?

There are many great places to kayak. Some of the most popular include lakes, rivers, and the ocean. However, you can really paddle anywhere there’s water. So get out there and start exploring!

What is faster kayak or canoe?

It depends on a number of factors, such as the type of kayak or canoe, the conditions of the water, no. of paddlers are sitting, and the paddler’s own strength and abilities.

However, kayaks are designed to be more streamlined and efficient in the water, and they typically have two paddles (one for each person) which can provide more power than a single-paddle canoe.


I hope you enjoyed learning about how to get fit for kayaking and staying healthy while paddling.

These are some of the best ways to get fit for kayaking. Remember, you don’t need to be in perfect shape to enjoy this activity.

Just focus on having fun and building up your strength, flexibility, and endurance. And most importantly, stay healthy by drinking plenty of water, eating healthy snacks, and taking breaks as needed.

Make sure to follow these tips so you can stay healthy and fit while you paddle.

Jay Schwartz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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