August 24, 2020 8 min read

The question of how many calories does kayaking burn is one that I have had for many years and have never been able to find the answer.

When I first started out, I did not believe that it would be possible to do the workout without going swimming or doing other aerobic exercise, but I was amazed at how much I could really get done while kayaking - could i actually even lose weight without consuming fewer calories per hour?

I have been an avid kayaker for almost two years now and I have seen a number of improvements in my strength, my flexibility, my endurance and my weight loss.

What I am sure you are looking to accomplish is to learn how much of a weight loss workout you can do by kayaking & and improve muscle performance including those abdominal muscles, leg muscles, back muscles, shoulder muscles, rear deltoids and pectoral muscles.

Here are some tips and a few things to keep in mind as you plan your weight loss kayaking - what is the real number of calories burned per hour? A 125 pound person may burn 150 calories or as much as 283 calories per hour... it is for sure a significant number - you can lose weight and at the same build strength while consuming more calories.

How Often Should You Kayak For a Fitness Routine to Lose Weight?

kayaking workout burning calories

First, you must consider a time period. If you are new to this type of full body workout then I would highly recommend you start by just doing a twenty minute session per day across the water. This might sound like a lot, but if you are just starting out you can always increase the amount of time that you spend out in the water per day until you reach the maximum number of days per week that you can do this. You will start to lose more weight and although you will burn fewer calories with the shorter sessions at the start, you do still burn more calories per hour right away.

You should also be aware that you will be doing a great deal of aerobic exercise and other exercises to tone the core muscles that are found in the back and arms as well as the legs and hips, similar to other weight loss workout. You will see a huge improvement in most upper body muscle groups as it really is an intense upper body workout even if you only do half an hour of vigorous effort or one hour of moderate effort - either way, lots of calories burnt! So, it would be best if you can make time for these sessions to maximize the calories burned per hour as well.

Now, with that said you need to figure out what kind of calories kayaking are burned by this workout. Since there is a lot of cardiovascular activity involved in this form of exercise, it is safe to assume that you will be burning a considerable amount of calories. How many calories are burned exactly? This will depend on how much time you are willing to spend out in the water (will you do 30 mins or an hour kayaking, make sure you daily time met value is achieved) and the intensity that you set when you kayak.


If you want to be able to do a good workout with this activity then you need to figure out a number of other factors before you start the workout. The first thing to remember is that if you do not use a heart rate monitor then you will not know how many calories you are burning. If you are doing too much aerobics and/or other activities you will not be able to determine how much time you have spent in the water and the intensity that you are doing.

Take a Kayak Instructor

It good idea to grasp the basic principle would be to find an instructor to help you through the best ways (such as having a wide grip) for your workout and this may require finding a class that is appropriate for your own schedule and ability level. Once you have done this then you should take note of the amount of time that you have spent in the water so that you can estimate how much time that you should be out in the water and the distance that you will have paddled.

Once you have found a program that works for you then all that is left is to do is stick with the regular exercise and realize it is so much fun applying this workout routine to your daily life. A good way is to stick with it every single day and I am sure that you will soon see results and health benefits. The question of the amount of calories are burned is pretty clear after all this physical activity.

Aerobic Workouts Are Super Important

The reason that it is so important to do long sets of aerobic workouts / cardiovascular exercise when you are on a kayak is because you need to increase the amount of oxygen that reaches the muscles by having a large surface area to work with.

kayaking in scenic lake

You will be burning lots of calories while you are in the water because of this increase in surface area. When I was first learning how to kayak the best way to do the workout is to increase the number of strokes while keeping the same average speed that you would be able to do during the same amount of time. This might be more work but will burn more calories and build muscles.

The other thing that I like about the aerobic workout is that it is a lot more challenging than most people think. Although you will need to perform aerobic workouts on a regular basis to maintain your fitness level and to improve the quality of your life, you will also need to add in cardiovascular workouts to make sure that you get enough energy. If you have a difficult time performing any cardiovascular workouts then I suggest that you hire a personal trainer or do some research online to find what works for you.

The most important factor to remember is that you need to be out in your kayak at least three to four times a week if you want to burn calories off and see real fitness gains.

Kayaking for Fitness

kayaking for fitness workout

Is kayaking good for fitness? The short answer is yes, as long as you do it properly. Some people think that kayaking over paddle boarding is a difficult and time-consuming activity, but this is definitely not the case, you need to make healthy choices which involve real effort to improve your well being. In fact, kayaking is one of the easiest sports you can get into, and you can enjoy it in a number of different settings - even in urban areas where walking is impossible! So, is kayaking good for fitness?

The first thing to say is that either paddle boarding or kayaking for fitness is a great way to strengthen back muscles and burn calories. You can also improve your stamina as you go kayaking, and this is especially useful if you plan on kayaking for a long period of time, the energy cost for one hour is fairly extreme. This means that you won't need to take breaks when you are paddling, meaning that you will get more out of the activity and more calories burnt. Finally, with such a great workout you can improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscle performance, lung capacity and even mental health / cognitive function while kayaking for fitness. The harvard health publications in their last update even recommend sports like this to keep down the number of calories.

Of course, to get the best out of kayaking for fitness, you need to do it properly. For example, you should never kayak alone; you should always have another person with you to go out on the kayak with you. This is especially important if the kayaking is in challenging conditions: with two people on the kayak, you can properly exchange signals and stay alert to potential dangers.

Rule of Thumb

The rule of thumb is to try to go out longer than you would have kayaked if you had one person on the kayak with you - it's much harder to motivate yourself to get moving when you're feeling lazy, plus, you won't get as much out of the activity if you don't get a chance to relax and re-energize.

Consider also buying some extra paddle, a kayak brush, or other accessories to increase your comfort level - how many comes down to your budget. These will make your life a little easier on the water.

Kayaking depends on a lot of mental and physical strength. You'll need to keep your focus during your time spent in the kayak if you want to lose weight & increase cognitive function. You'll also need to take a lot of deep breaths and paddling laps to relax your body. In addition, your movements will be restricted most of the time, so you'll need to learn how to manage this effectively. Again, this is not an activity where you can easily slack off.

So is kayaking good exercise for you? Of course, it depends on your ability and physical condition. If you're a beginner, you may want to start out with a simpler kayak, such as a cruiser (this works well for the average number of people). This kind of kayak is smaller and easier to manage, so you can start learning the ropes right away. In other words, though it can be hard work, is the perfect way to get a great fitness routine going - doing physical activities in the great outdoors for younger people and older adults to burn more calories per hour and at the same time lose weight. The same goes for paddle boarding and other activities of similar nature. These kinds of outdoor sports are often recommended by the American Council & harvard health publications.

girls kayaking for excercise

Other Factors - For Advanced Kayakers

For advanced kayaking enthusiasts, there are some exciting new models available that include built-in kayaking gears. These units let you paddle more quickly, and they even let you control your direction of movement in a good way across the water. If you've never tried this kind of gear, it's a great option to try out. The only thing you'll need is practice, and you'll soon be hooked! Are you so advanced you would even try the single arm row - we don't mind the occasionally grabbing with the other arm as you start out on this technique - just remember the average number of times you do this and try and work down to improve.

beautiful kayak journey burning calories

I'm sure you already have your own opinion on the best place to take Kayaking lessons in your area. There are some great schools that teach Kayaking, as well as individual instructors who can teach you the art - you'll certainly find a great Kayaking class close to you. You can go all by yourself or make it a fun family trip. But if you're ready to head out on your own (for at least one hour) - we say give it a go! Try looking online to see if you can find any classes near you or look for a local kayaking store. When you finally decide to give Kayaking a try, remember its not ONLY about losing more weight, building upper body muscle and calories burnt - sometimes cruise with moderate effort and at the same time don't forget to take along your camera and take some good pictures! 

So - Does Kayaking Burn Extra Calories?

Aboslutley - Remember regular kayaking for 30 mins does burn slightly extra calories that the calories burned kayaking on a one hour session you only do once every 2 weeks. Many calories per hour are burned kayaking even if you do short sessions, but hey - you get the basic principle!

copyright 2021 - Cheap Surf Gear

Author - Aleksandra Djurdjevic
Aleksandra Djurdjevic          

Senior Content Creator

Aleksandra Djurdjevic is a senior writer and editor, covering surf, kayak and various watersports activities. She has previously worked as ESL teacher for English Tochka. Aleksandra graduated from the Comparative Literature department at the Faculty of Philosophy in Serbia. Aleksandra’s love for the ocean / rivers, getting out waves, season after season, seeking epic adventures across the globe helps her continue to be a top expert at CSG.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Spin to win Spinner icon