Benefits of Kayaking

There is no better way to witness the hard-to-reach beauty and scenic secrets of New Hampshire than by paddling your way through the state’s quiet lakes, lazy rivers and diverse waterways. In addition to a memorable day of adventure and mesmerizing views, kayaking brings with it a variety of physical and psychological benefits that will last long after you set foot back on shore.

Fitness and Strength

According to the American Council of Exercise, a 150-pound person can burn 340 calories an hour while kayaking—which, believe it or not—is a bigger burn than cycling. Of course height, weight, currents and a more intense paddle can change this number dramatically.

Kayaking’s fluid paddling motion also provides a low-impact form of aerobic exercise improving strength and flexibility without the wear-and-tear on your joints like many other exercises. While you’ll quickly notice the workout on your upper body, proper paddling technique will tone and strengthen your back and chest as well. Like any aerobic exercise, kayaking can improve lung strength, while lowering blood pressure and a regulating of cholesterol, and Men’s Journal has even heralded kayaking one of the best workouts for a healthy heart.

Beyond the Body: Mental Health

Whether kayaking alone or with friends, there are mental benefits to paddling. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise triggers brain chemicals that enhance mood and self-esteem, and on a nice day, the vitamin D you’ll be soaking up on the open waters only adds to that natural boost in positivity. So, take all of that stress from your daily life and leave it in the parking lot because a peaceful paddle down a secluded waterway may give you the serenity and self-reflection you need and deserve.

Camaraderie

If traveling alone isn’t your style, try riding in tandem or traveling with a group for a completely different experience on the water. Enjoy the time with friends by racing toward a certain point or just drifting along catching up on old times. The miles and smiles from a day out can bring a lifetime of memories and a different type of hangout than you’re used to.

Flora, Fauna and Photography

New Hampshire offers a vast array of flora and fauna, which varies from region to region. Whether weaving through mountain waters, meandering amidst marshes, or cruising around the coastline in a sea kayak there are countless opportunities to capture beautiful images. Keep a keen eye out for plants like orchids, goldenrod, lady slippers and cattails, and wildlife including turtles, kingfishers, bald eagles, muskrats, beavers, blue heron, deer and even moose. But be sure to keep your camera or phone in a waterproof case or dry bag and grip it tight!