How Can Paddling Help Keep You Fit?

How Can Paddling Help Keep You Fit?

Getting on the water on your paddle board or in your kayak and canoe is brilliant. Not only is it a great way to explore new places, it is also great to look after your physical and mental health. We are constantly being told how important it is to look after our health, so if you can combine time on the water with this then perfect. So here are some interesting facts about how paddling can help keep you fit and improve your physical health. 

dad and daughter on a kayak while daughter cheers


Kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding burn calories, even on a leisurely paddle. The amount they burn differs based on the activity and how vigorously it is carried out. Burning calories is key when looking to loose weight and maintain a healthy diet.

  1. Paddle boarding – An average 80kg person can expect to burn up to 500 kcal in an hour’s leisurely paddle. This can increase up to 735 kcal as the pace is increased.
  2. SUP Yoga – This can burn anywhere between 233 kcal and 540 kcal depending on intensity.
  3. Kayaking – A leisurely paddle on calm water can burn up to 400 kcal for a 80kg paddler. This is affected by the weather conditions, paddle speed, and water flow. 

a plate with the word calories on it next to cutlery


Your aerobic capacity is what lets you keep going in an activity without tiring. The better it is then the longer you can go for. When you are paddling time always flies, and before you know it you have been out on the water for much longer than planned. This will be doing your aerobic capacity the world of good. The longer you can paddle for the better your aerobic capacity is. A good way of keeping track of your paddle is by using the Paddle Logger app. British Canoeing members actually get 50% off a membership on the app! This increased capacity will translate into daily activity also, making walking to the shops even easier, flights of stairs a breeze, and dancing on the dance floor endless. 

group of people walking towards the water with paddle boards on their backs


A whole range of muscles are used when paddling, from your arms and shoulders to your legs and back. The majority of them you don’t even realize you are using. 

  1. Kayaking & Canoeing – Most of the work will come from your arms and shoulders as they pull the paddle through the water to propel yourself forward. However, you will also be using your core muscles to hold your body upright and rotate yourself with your paddle strokes.
  2. Paddle boarding – Shoulders and arms will do plenty of work, but there is a lot of stability involved. This means your entire body will be working together to keep you stable. Engaging a whole range of muscles for the period of your paddle gives them a good solid workout.

person on top of a hill at sunset feeling strong


By using the muscles regularly, and keeping them moving, it helps to keep them flexible. The steady movements involved in a leisurely paddle helps to promote healthy muscles and joints. The gentle movements of paddling can even be likened to yoga movements, which is well known for its flexibility benefits. If you want to go further into the flexibility then activities such as SUP yoga could be your thing. 

woman doing a head stand on a paddle board while on the water

Injury Prevention

By keeping your muscles and joints moving, and staying physically fit, you are reducing the risk of injury to those muscles and joints. The low impact nature of paddle sports makes it a perfect sport to do to help build up muscles and joints. Leisurely paddling on a regular basis keeps these muscles active so at a reduced risk of injury. This injury prevention is not just beneficial for paddling, but also daily life. Making joints more stable, and muscles stronger you’ll find daily tasks easier and much more comfortable.

person having their shoulder nd eblow checked by a physio

As you can see, paddling can help keep you fit and your body healthy. It also offers a wide range of mental health benefits, making it a fantastic sport. And even though it does get cold on the water at times you can keep getting out on the water all year round, just layer up accordingly! So keep paddling, keep fit, and keep moving.