Kayak Your Way To Six Pack Abs

Have you noticed a trend in these monthly articles? No, not the occasional dangling participle. Active lifestyle fitness. Precious quality time bonding with your family in a relaxed unstructured way has gotten squeezed out by the hectic pace we all lead. But outdoor recreation fitness gives you the chance to get your exercise in and spend that time with the family. Just because it is fun, doesn’t mean you burn fewer calories! Quite the contrary, scientific research shows the more we reduce our overall stress the more efficiently our bodies burn calories.

So this month I thought we would explore a great way to beat the summer heat and get in some fun family fitness all at the same time. I tried my first kayaking adventure several years ago and although skeptical at first, I was won over by the great workout and the soothing rhythmic stroke of the paddles.

Kayaking is one of the fastest growing water sports and for good reason. You don’t need to know a lot of technical stuff or be in peak physical condition to get started. You can learn at your own pace: that means no white water or open ocean kayaking to start! And it is a relatively inexpensive sport for the whole family.

Getting the kayak moving is an aerobic activity even though you are sitting down. The strong strokes increase blood flow and heart rate, using more oxygen. You will actually exert your whole body, not just the arms. The control points for the steering and balance are your hips, knees and feet. Your legs will also help keep you balanced and provide power to the strokes.

Although it is your arms doing the paddling, it is your torso and core being held tight and strong that will give you the power to pull the paddle through the water. Believe me, after a few short hours on the water sitting up straight, and holding your abs tight, you will feel as if you have six pack abs already! Don’t be disappointed if, when you look down you can’t see them quite yet, but know you are on your way.

There are some good on-line tutorial videos or local gear stores that will help make your outing much more enjoyable with some good tips on everything from basic equipment to how to hold the paddle most efficiently. REI in Concord is always a good resource and Sunrise Mountain Sports has Kayak Wednesdays at Lake Del Valle, where for a nominal fee you can try different types of kayaks and get some basic instruction.

So break out of your fitness routine and try an evening kayak with a friend. You will find it is good for the abs and good for the soul.

Calories Burned for Activity: Kayaking

340 calories per hour

Assuming a body weight of: 150 lbs

This is equivalent to eating any of the lines of the following table:

Quantity Description Calories
1.3 Grande Starbucks Caffe Latte - Made with whole milk 260
0.5 McDonald’s Big Mac - With cheese 704
4.3 Glasses of wine (3.5 fl oz) 79
1.2 Snickers Bar 273
1.6 Cans of Coca-Cola 207
11.3 Carrots 30

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