Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Staying Kayaking Fit in the Off-Season

Watch Icon

Staying Kayaking Fit in the Off-Season

Staying kayaking fit in the off-season is the concept of keeping the muscles used while kayaking, conditioned and ready to get back out on the water, no matter the time between outings. Frequent kayaking conditions those muscles naturally to develop the necessary endurance, strength, and flexibility, that helps make kayaking enjoyable.

Kayaking is a full-body activity in terms of muscles used. Upper body muscles are used for paddling, core muscles are used for stability (sitting upright and twisting/turning), and lower body muscles are used for anchoring (legs and feet press against the kayak to allow the core and upper body to do work). Kayaking infrequently, or seasonal, benefits from purposely working those muscles through other activities such as hiking, and targeted exercises such as body weight workouts.

Hiking is an ideal off-season activity to build endurance for kayaking. It’s a sustained workout similar that of constant paddling.  Endurance, whether built with the lower or upper body, translates to reduced fatigue for the entire body. In addition it’s an outside activity that can be enjoyed year-round that brings the same positive mental effects as kayaking. Endurance is the foundation for building the strength needed for long bouts of paddling.

Strength needed for kayaking is based on the type of water. White water and ocean kayaking take more effort, thus more strength than lake and river kayaking. The best way to build and maintain strength is through body-weight exercise, minimal equipment needed. Pull-ups and push-ups build upper body and core strength while squats and lunges build core and lower body strength. Strength by itself is good, but add flexibility to get the full benefit.

The body benefits from flexibility when entering and exiting a kayak as well as sitting, legs stretched out in the kayak, for an extended time. Stretching and holding stretches common in yoga are beneficial here. The forward fold is a yoga move that develops flexibility in the legs and lower back. Hanging by the hands from an overhead bar, rope, or tree limb is a calisthenic stretch that develops flexibility from fingers to toes. Plus it feels great performed after sitting in a kayak for and extended time.

Keeping kayak fit can be enjoyable and easily squeezed into a busy schedule. And not just for kayaking, but everyday health.

  • Posted in: