Kayak for Cardio

by Joe Lawrence | July 17th, 2014 | Cardio, Outdoor
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kyaker (400x400)Recently, I wrote an article about getting in some cardio while on vacation. It was targeted at the triathlon exercises of biking, running, and swimming. I know these are not everyone’s cup of tea for various reasons. However, there is another avenue to explore that I have been able to discover at most vacation locations.

It would appear us humans have a natural affinity to live and build cities close to water. Whether it is rivers, lakes, or oceans, water is usually close by. This means there are numerous opportunities for unique cardio and exercise experiences. Such as kayaking or canoeing.

Simply do a search of the area you are in for kayak Charleston, SC (for example) and see the many results that you conjure. Choose the one that suits your needs and begin.

Now, when you get in the boat you can’t just leisurely row if you want cardio. You have to push yourself a bit. I like to pick a distant landmark and see how fast I can get to it. It is even more fun to race a friend. You can even get the whole family involved for some outdoor adventure time.

I have even found classes where you can join others with an instructor to “kayak for cardio.” These are a lot like an aerobics class on the water. However, if you are a bit of a fitness rogue like me, here is a great way to get a workout.

I will pick two landmarks (at least) about 200 feet apart. Then I begin rowing my laps. The key is to keep a nice steady pace that is challenging enough to get your heart rate going, but not to strenuous as to tire you out without getting a solid workout. The way I control pace with kayaking, running, or anything for that matter is my breathing. I know I am going too hard if I can’t talk, and too easy if I can have a conversation with someone. Short bursts of words are all you should be able to get out if you have a good pace.

Not only is the talking method a great way to gage your intensity, but breath control is vital. The point of cardio is to increase your body’s oxygen efficiency and make your heart work less to get oxygen throughout the body. Find a rhythm for your breathing as you are rowing. For instance, take in two breaths through your nose as your left oar hits the water and let out a long exhale through your mouth as your right oar hits.

Mix all of this breathing with your laps and 20-30 minutes of paddling should not be to intimidating.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.