The Best Kayaking Workouts For Burning Calories

Paddling on a river, lake, or ocean can help you burn hundreds of calories while enjoying the great outdoors. Kayaking is a fun and effective way to lose weight and gain physical fitness.

In addition to calorie-burning kayak workouts, other strategies such as eating right and properly monitoring effort can help you reach your fitness goals while keeping you safe and healthy during low impact exercise. In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of how many calories are burned by kayaking as well as drills and techniques to maximize your time on the water for calorie burning. We’ll also discuss kayak safety tips to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe experience every time. With the right tools and knowledge, anyone can become an efficient calorie-burning machine on the water!

Benefits of Kayaking

Kayaking is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn more calories. Kayaking offers a low-impact workout while allowing you to explore beautiful areas of nature. Not only is it great for calorie burning, but kayaking can also improve your coordination, agility, strength, and endurance. Additionally, it can be a fun and relaxing activity for all ages. Let’s look at the benefits of kayaking.

Cardiovascular Health

Kayaking is an excellent way to improve your cardiovascular health. Because it is a low-impact sport, it can be enjoyed by almost anyone. Regular kayaking sessions can help you burn fat and calories, increase aerobic capacity and strengthen your heart muscle. In addition to providing a great workout, spending time on the water with friends can also be incredibly rewarding.

Each hour spent kayaking will burn approximately 400-600 calories — depending on the type of boat you’re using and how hard you work at it. Whether you’re paddling a lightweight recreational craft or battling the waves in an ocean-going kayak, depending on technique and pacing, you could easily double your calorie burn rate while simultaneously enjoying nature’s finest offerings. Working out on the water has numerous benefits including increased stamina and muscle tone, improved coordination skills as well as improved cardiovascular fitness which can eventually lead to weight loss goals. By adding regular workouts with lightweight or heavy duty kayaks into several days of your week you can improve overall health dramatically over time.

So grab yourself a paddle, grab some friends and hit the open waters for some fun in the sun!

Muscle Tone And Strength

Kayaking utilizes the majority of major muscle groups and is an efficient way to build strength, increase stamina, and tone muscle all while having fun. When you paddle a kayak, your arms, chest, upper and lower back, shoulders and core must work together in tandem to propel the boat forward. The abdominal muscles keep your torso stable while controlling the rotation of the body on each stroke.

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Additionally, depending on how quickly you are paddling (as well as how strong you are) you can burn anywhere from 250-450 calories per hour. Kayaking is an excellent aerobic exercise that increases heart rate while toning muscle — it’s no wonder why so many people love it!

Improved Balance And Coordination

Improving your balance and coordination is often one of the main goals when kayaking. When kayaking, paddlers must use a combination of precision strokes and body position to efficiently move their boat through the water and navigate around obstacles. This combination of skills strengthens your body’s proprioceptive system, which can help with other physical activities such as running or hiking. With improved control over your movements, you can become better adjusted to different terrains outside of the water as well. Since kayaking requires you to constantly maintain core strength and stability throughout the paddling, this type of workout provides an excellent full-body exercise which also helps improve balance and coordination. You will find yourself using muscles in your shoulders, arms, torso, hips and back while developing needed flexibility along with a greater range of motion. As you continue to practice these skills over time during your kayaking workouts, you will be able to increase both your skill level as well as gain greater control over body movements.

The benefits that come from improving balance and coordination while kayaking are twofold – not only can it lead to faster paces but it also helps minimize fatigue felt after each workout session since most required body movements are subconsciously managed for smoother transitions in between paddling techniques.

Types of Kayaking Workouts

Kayaking is a great way to get a low-impact workout while having fun. Whether you’re looking to casually paddle around a lake or get in some serious cardio and endurance training, there are many types of kayaking workouts to choose from.

Let’s explore some of the different types of kayaking workouts and how many calories you can expect to burn.

Interval Training

Interval training is an effective way to increase both your speed and endurance while kayaking. This style of training involves alternating high-intensity paddling with low-intensity paddling. The high intensity paddles should be done at maximum effort for a set period of time, followed by a rest period before repeating the process. Doing this exercise on a regular basis helps to build fitness quickly and can help to improve overall performance in the water.

It also burns extra calories as there is a higher calorie expenditure during the rest period due to increased oxygen consumption; this will result in an increased number of calories burned on each kayaking session. An example of interval training would be paddling for 30 seconds at max effort, followed by 30 seconds of rest and repeat for 10 minutes.

Long Distance Paddling

Long-distance kayaking involves paddling for extended durations, both over one day or multiple days. Long-distance paddling provides a strenuous full body workout that is tailored to an individual’s own level of fitness. Kayaking on a lake, calm ocean, or through mild rapids helps to build athletic strength and endurance. The longer and faster you paddle your kayak, the more calories you will burn.  According to, a person who weighs 155 lbs can burn approximately 800 – 830 calories in an hour of continuous kayaking at a speed of 5 mph (8 kph). This number would vary depending on the weight of the paddler and the speed of their paddling. It is important to pace yourself during long-distance paddles as overexerting unused muscles can cause strain and soreness after your kayaking session.

Eating nutritious snacks while kayaking helps keep your energy levels up throughout your journey while helping you stay hydrated with plenty of water will ensure that you do not become dehydrated along the way!

Sprint Racing

Sprint racing can provide an intense full-body workout because it requires maximum speed and power. To do this type of training, participants will row at full speed for a certain distance. This can help you burn up to 500 calories per hour in the average male, depending on your weight and intensity level. Women typically burn fewer calories during this activity due to their lighter body weight, but any sprinting activity can be beneficial for burning fat and adding muscular definition. Interval kayaking is popular among weight-loss enthusiasts because of its high-intensity nature. During intervals, kayakers will alternate between rowing hard for a few minutes before resting for the same amount of time. This type of exercise helps in burning more calories in a shorter period than traditional rowing with moderate intensity. Intervals also burn fat stores more quickly than other types of exercise since the body must use more energy during short bursts of high effort. A typical interval session may last from 20 minutes to an hour depending on your fitness level, size, and intensity level.

How Many Calories do You Burn Kayaking

Knowing how many calories you burn kayaking can be a great way to stay motivated and get the most out of your workout. The amount of calories you burn depends on your speed and body weight, as well as other factors such as the type of kayak you use.

Let’s dive into the details and find out exactly how many calories you can burn by kayaking.

Estimating Calories Burned

When it comes to burning calories, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Kayaking is a low-impact activity that can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories in an hour, depending on the intensity level and your own physical fitness. Ultimately, the exact number of calories burned while kayaking depends on several factors including your body weight, the type of kayaking you’re doing, and how long you are paddling for.

By calculating your basal metabolic rate (BMR), you can get an estimate of just how many calories you burn while kayaking in one hour. Your BMR is the number of calories used by your body during a given period of time when it is at rest or performing minimal physical activity. Calculating your BMR can give you a better idea of how many calories you would burn if performing a particular exercise for one hour, such as kayaking. Generally speaking, lighter individuals will burn fewer calories compared to heavier individuals for any given exercise.

To estimate the number of calories burned while kayaking per hour: First, calculate your basal metabolic rate by using this formula: BMR = (Weight x 10) + (Height x 6) – (Age x 5) – 161

From here you can use this approximate guide (in kcalories/kg per hour): Light intensity = 5-8 kcal/kg Moderate intensity = 8-11 kcal/kg High intensity = 11+ kcal/kg

To find an approximation of how many calories you have burned while kayaking in an hour, simply take those figures and multiply them by your BMR calculated earlier: Light Intensity = BMR x 0.05-0.08 Moderate Intensity = BMR x 0.08 – 0.11 High Intensity = BMR x 0.11+

Keep in mind that calorie estimations vary widely from person to person since everyone will experience different energy outputs and fitness levels when engaging in activities like Kayaking .

Calculating Calories Burned With a Heart Rate Monitor

Using a heart rate monitor is the most accurate way to measure your calories burned during a kayaking workout. A heart rate monitor monitors your heart rate throughout the duration of your exercise and uses this information to calculate the intensity level of each workout. Intensity levels provide a unique perspective into the intensity of exercise and how many calories are actually burned.

Heart rate monitors measure two factors to determine your calorie burn: heart rate and individual effort level. Your effort level is determined by tracking every push against your paddles, as well as other form-related movements. Calories per hour can be calculated based on an average heart rate and then multiplied by the intensity zone in which you are kayaking in order to get an accurate picture of how many calories you are actually burning. For example, if you have an average heart rate of 160 beats per minute (BPM) while kayaking in Zone 2 (moderate effort) for 60 minutes, that would equal 996 calories burned!

Another way to calculate calorie burn during kayaking is called METs, or Metabolic Equivalent Task values. This system measures how energy is expended during specific tasks, so depending on the type of stroke you are using, a different number will result for calorie burn calculations. Kayak strokes like flatwater touring may range from 3-4 METs while vigorous sprinting may be 8-9 METs! By combining both methods – tracking heart rate with corresponding MET ratings – more precise estimates of total caloric output can be made for all types of workouts!


In conclusion, kayaking is a great form of exercise that can help you burn calories and lose weight faster. The amount of calories burned will vary depending on the intensity of the activity and how much time you spend in the water, but most average minutes per mile can expect to burn somewhere between 80 and 200 calories. Keep in mind that this is relative to your weight; those who weigh more will naturally burn more and vice versa. Remember to maintain good form throughout your kayak session for maximum efficiency. Furthermore, take breaks when necessary and use proper safety gear at all times in order to remain safe and enjoy your experience!

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