Introduction to canoeing and kayaking

Fitness benefits of canoeing and kayaking

Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to improve your health and fitness, by developing arm muscles and refreshing the mind in the open air. Here’s our guide to canoeing, and how this popular water sport could develop your own fitness.

It’s amazing just how much you can do in a canoe. Not only can you crash down wild white water runs, you can catch a wave in the surf, hurl yourself down waterfalls, compete in slalom, or take part in canoe polo, sprint or sailing races. There’s even plenty on offer for those who like a quiet life — what better way to see the coast, rivers or lakes than in a small boat that will go just about anywhere you want it to?

Introduction to canoeing and kayaking

The range of opportunities for canoeists means that there is really no barrier to entry in terms of age or fitness. 

To really get into the buzz of canoeing, one of the best ways to get involved is to join a local group or club. A club will offer help and advice on what training courses will suit you and will introduce you to lots of people you can team up and go canoeing with.

Another great way to get into the sport is to sign up for an activity trip which includes canoeing — this way you will get the basic training and a real chance to find out if it is the sport for you.

One of the best things about canoeing and kayaking is that mastering the basics of does not take long, so you’ll soon find yourself heading out on the open water and enjoying the life of a paddler.

Before you start out, you have to be aware that there are basically three types of canoe:

A kayak is what most people picture when thinking of a canoe. It is a closed sitting area or cockpit in which the paddler will use a double-ended paddle.

A standard canoe is similar to a kayak, except you kneel inside and use a single-ended paddle.

The open canoe is the more traditional type, where there is usually more than one paddler who uses single-ended paddles.

However, to avoid total confusion, here at we have decided to keep it simple and look at the kayak-style canoe, the most commonly used for recreation.

Health and fitness benefits of canoeing and kayaking

Canoeing is a great way to improve your health while participating in a fun and active past time. It has many health benefits and especially helps to develop the body’s arm muscles, with strength required for paddling and staying afloat. It also refreshes the mind with the combination of clean air and open water clearing your head and can help boost hand-eye co-ordination, with careful paddling required depending on the type of water surface.

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