THE WATER IS CALLING YOU!!

Alan Bergman – The number of excellent reasons to head out on the water in a kayak or canoe, or on top of a paddleboard, is only slightly less than the number of Patriots fans in New England. 

Let’s take a look at just ten of the great reasons to participate in paddle sports.

A FULL CARDIO AND AEROBIC WORKOUT – Consistent, regular paddling motion causes the heart to beat faster and work harder.  This exertion increases the respiration rate, which contributes to the ability of an individual’s lungs, heart and vascular system to deliver oxygen to the muscles via the bloodstream.  Men’s Journal magazine recently labeled kayaking as one of the best workouts for a healthy heart.  And, getting exercise on a beautiful body of water is tons more enjoyable than sweating in a boring gym.

PERFECT FOR FAMILY BONDING – Look around you on the water and you’ll see that paddle sports are often an intergenerational activity, enjoyed by adults and children of all ages.  It’s not just fun for our kids, but the grandfolks and probably our canine friends love getting out there, too.

WEIGHT LOSS – Simply stated, paddling = calorie burning.  It’s been estimated that paddling at a steady pace for one hour will burn approximately 300-400 calories.  The Mayo Clinic tells us that 3,500 calories equal one pound of body weight. Paddling regularly, while keeping an eye on caloric intake, can be the path to shedding that excess weight.

PERSPECTIVE – Being on the water provides us with a totally unique perspective of the land. Seeing homes, parks and even towns that we’ve driven past countless times, from a paddlecraft instead, gives us an entirely different view.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for sightseeing, too, whether in a rural or urban environment.

STRESS REDUCTION – Paddling, as with any other sustained physical activity, releases endorphins.  These are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers; making one simultaneously feel relaxed and energized.  Paddlers often say that they go out on the water for an escape from the stress of daily life.

COMMUNE WITH NATURE – From seeing a river otter stick his head out above the water surface to paddling under the enormous wingspan of a great blue heron in flight, to portaging around a huge beaver dam, there are so many opportunities to commune with the animal kingdom while out on the water.  Not only does paddling expose us to all types of wildlife, but it can also take us through a variety of interesting and unusual fauna and flora.

CORE CONDITIONING – Paddling is the perfect activity for building and strengthening the core, the 30 muscles between the ribcage and hip. The back-and-forth motion of paddling, coupled with the almost subconscious muscle movement required to maintain proper balance, work in unison to build core strength.  The abs and obliques are the primary beneficiaries of our paddling effort.

IT’S SOCIAL – Do you have a buddy or BFF that you haven’t seen in a long while?  A few hours together on the water is the perfect way to catch up with each other.  From world politics to local gossip, there’s no limit to what can be discussed while paddling alongside a friend or relative.  Some of us have spent a dynamite hour or two with a new acquaintance that we’ve met while paddling.

UPPER AND LOWER BODY STRENGTH – Though the proper paddling technique is core-intrinsic, the arms, shoulders, and legs are key components, as well.   When paddling, your arms are continuously working against the resistance of the water, building arm and shoulder strength.  Leg strength is increased, too, especially during kayaking, as pressure is applied alternately to each leg when taking a stroke.

PAY JUST ONCE – Typically, new paddlers will rent their first several times on the water. After that, unlike other sports activities where you pay each time you participate, with paddling you pay just once.  You have the up-front, initial purchase of the paddle craft and any necessary accompanying equipment, and that’s it.   Plus, this one-time purchase can easily be transported to many different waterways, offering a unique paddling experience at each one.