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Four Exercises to Get Your Body in Shape for Kayaking This Summer

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Four Exercises to Get Your Body in Shape for Kayaking This Summer

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It's the time of year when you can start thinking about getting out your summer toys and getting ready for some fun and physical activity in the sun.

Whether you're a veteran kayaker or just considering trying out the sport this season, here are four exercises to get your body in shape and to make that first trip out on the water a more enjoyable one:

Cardiovascular endurance

Nearly all physical activity requires a level of cardiovascular endurance--and kayaking is no exception. Hopefully, you've been performing some type of aerobic activity over the winter season, but, even if you haven't, it's not too late to begin.

If you have access to an indoor pool before the weather warms enough to get outside, swimming is one of the best endurance exercises there is. It's also low-impact and practically risk free. Running is another great way to increase your endurance, but any type of physical activity that gets your heart rate going for at least 20 to 30 minutes at a time will do the trick.

When the weather is bad, I've been known to turn up the tunes and dance for a half an hour. It's fun as well as being a great aerobic exercise.

Strength training

Upper-body strength is key for kayaking, but you'll also need strong leg muscles for optimal performance. offers an excellent detailed strength workout for your entire body. For best results, perform the exercises three days a week allowing your body to rest in between workouts.


Yoga is another excellent exercise for kayakers. It will help prevent both lower back pain and fatigue. The sun salutation pose will help keep your muscles flexible, while the cobra position is excellent for your back muscles.

Kathy Smith offers several outstanding DVDs if you prefer to practice yoga at home. "Beginner Essentials" is one of my favorites.


Nearly all physical activity can benefit from a stronger core, and Pilates is one of the best ways to do this. It will improve your balance and ability to hold onto your kayak, and even improve your posture, a big benefit while you're out on the water. This can really help as you navigate the kayak through the water, especially while paddling through rough waves.

K.C. Dermody has been an avid runner, hiker, and yoga enthusiast for twenty years, and as a trained yoga instructor she taught a variety of students from senior citizens to competitive athletes. She also has an addiction to disc golf - especially promoting the sport to others, and enjoys combining her passion for sports, emotional and physical well-being with her love of writing.

More from this contributor:

Three Health Benefits of Kayaking: Just a Few of the Reasons to Look into This Fun Sport

Kicking Up Your Run: Six Tips to Burn More Calories & Lose Weight Faster

Five Reasons Pilates is the Best Cross Training Exercise for Runners & Most Athletes

Running after 40: How to prevent injuries that will stop you in your tracks

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