Canoeing and kayaking can be enjoyed at any age regardless of your ability. Nothing’s better than exercising outdoors in nature’s backyard. Explore the many rivers and lakes across Canada or up the ante and take a sea kayak tour on the Pacific Ocean or a wilderness canoe trip in Algonquin Park. It’s definitely fun, fitness and an adventure wherever you go.
Canoeing and kayaking are wonderful summer sports that complement other summer aerobic activities you might like to do such as cycling, running or in-line skating. Paddling requires you to mainly use your upper body muscles. These muscles tend to tire quicker than the large lower body muscles so start off with short, slow outings and build from there. We would also recommend that you monitor your heart rate during a paddle as it can gauge if you are going too hard too soon (which can leave you thinking the activity is much too daunting to try again). You can get fit canoeing/kayaking but Canadian summers are short so you’ll get more out of it if you are fit for the activity in the first place. Some of our favourite strengthening exercises for canoeing/kayaking include the good old-fashion PUSH UP, the PLANK for mainly building endurance for your core and the ONE-ARM BENT-OVER ROW using a dumbbell which generally focuses on strengthening your upper back.
When it comes to your choices of kayaks, there are 2 basic styles — a sit-in (inside) or a sit-on (on top). It often comes down to water conditions (and weather conditions) you plan to be paddling in as well as which style feels more comfortable to you. Your paddle will have 2 blades instead of one for canoeing and the paddle is based on the type of kayaking you will do, the type of kayak you decide on and your height.
Your choice of canoes can range from the high-maintenance classic wood, the sturdy aluminum or the durable plastic. Your decision should be based on how you plan to use it — for example, recreational paddling, wilderness touring or whitewater canoeing.
It’s always easier to enjoy a sport when you have learned proper technique. Paddling with good technique is more energy efficient, comfortable and powerful. Check with local canoe/kayak clubs or community recreational services to see if classes are available. Also, some stores provide year-round courses at indoor pools or have group summer paddling lessons on local waterways. As well, there is always youtube.com for video instructions that you can follow on land with your canoe/kayak.
Canoeing and kayaking, like any water-based activities, have an element of risk so be prepared by checking the weather forecast, letting someone know where you plan to go, wearing an appropriate lifejacket and having a boat safety kit with you.
We love paddling … a great workout, it’s peaceful and you get to experience nature at its best.
Keep Fit and Have Fun
Hal & Joanne