Kayaking For Fun and Fitness

Kayaking is a 4,000 year old water sport invented by the Eskimos. They needed a flexible craft they could use to hunt seals, sea otters, and other quarry in the Arctic region. This required a small, thin boat able to get close enough for spearing. That is why kayaks are long, thin, and shallow. This means they can go in waterways that bigger vessels cannot. Modern users can thank Eskimos for being able to squeeze through narrow rivers, over rocks and around bends.

Modern day kayaking has evolved into a thrilling water sport that lets you get as close as you dare to nature. Imagine strapping yourself inside a water missile and launching yourself over waves and rapids while tipping, turning and responding to every undulation of the water. Yes, a kayak is that responsive. The small, narrow shape and glove like fit make the kayak easy to propel through water.

If having an intimate, in your face outdoor water experience is not for you, choose a bulky boat instead. If you like action and adrenaline, consider paying between five hundred and two thousand dollars for a plastic or fiberglass kayak. Kayaks come in a large variety of configurations. When choosing a kayak it is a good idea to first decide whether or not it will be used on a lake, river or in the ocean. Once decided, function and features is all that remains. If you prefer to have company, a two person kayak is always an option.

If you are a beginner you may want to consider consulting with the staff from your local sports shop with your questions, tips or even professional trainer references and recommendations. There are also plenty of online resources including a good number of instructional videos. Along with your kayak you will also need a two-bladed paddle, helmet, and wet suit. Even if you are a strong swimmer, a life jacket is still a good idea.

Paddling a kayak is great for strengthening upper body muscles including the back, arms, and stomach. It is a mega calorie burner. If you paddle five miles per hour you can burn 400 calories every hour. Kayaking several hours a day or more can help build stamina and endurance.

Kayaking is a great all around physically engaging activity. Although the cost of equipment can really add up, it is a worthwhile investment in personal health and long term fitness.

Ant Cocco enjoys outdoor activity and fitness related articles. Visit her Stand Up Paddle blog and forum at http://supsista.com

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