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Kayaking 101

Posted on September 24 2012

There's nothing like gliding over the cool, salty water along Orange County's coastline on a sunny day. Believe it or not, you don't even need to own a yacht to experience this! kayaking offers more than just an intense upper body workout, but an opportunity to deepen one's mind & body connection. For many of us, being out on the water is like a personal therapy session, but a lot cheaper! Whether you own or rent, the benefits of kayaking are highly enticing! Let's check them out... Benefits of kayaking Kayaking primarily uses the upper body and is a fairly low impact activity. It increases abdominal and back stability, plus improving your rotational strength (hello, obliques!). Though our forearms, wrists and upper arms get a serious workout here, the real power comes from our shoulders and back. If you tend to favor and overuse the muscles at the base of your neck (trapezius), kayaking is a solid way to strengthen the muscles we'd rather focus on that can help draw our shoulders down (latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior). Our bodies are often slightly imbalanced with a dominate side that we overuse. This could be from playing sports like baseball and golf, or even from the simple act of always carrying a purse or child on one side. The motion of kayaking requires paddling and twisting in both directions, creating a balanced workout that your body craves. Don't forget about the hips Because we're in a seated position while kayaking, our hip flexors can end up getting pretty stiff. We use this area in front of the hips quite a bit to balance, stabilize and rock ourselves back and forth in the kayak (and not fall in the water). With tight hips, we often see tight backs, so it's important we stretch both out afterwards. In general, most people who overuse the hip flexors are compensating for weaker abdominals. This doesn't mean they don't have strong abs, even someone with a six-pack can overuse their hip flexors. It's simply the balance between the two, and the ability to relax one while working the other.

Where to kayak in OC

OEX Sunset Beach 16910 Pacific Coast Highway Sunset Beach, CA 562.592.0800 Newport Aquatic Center 1 Whitecliffs Drive Newport Beach, CA 949.646.7725 Coastline Kayaking Adventures 417 Plaza Estival San Clemente, CA 949.291.6679 Photo credit: Flickr user armadilo60. Used with permission through Creative Commons.

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