By Lee Richardson
There are many reasons to kayak. One of these reasons are the many health benefits we experience as a result of kayaking on a regular basis.
The first, and most obvious, health benefit is the mental calm that kayaking provides due to the relaxation of connecting with the environment. When you go kayaking you are focused on your surroundings, absorbing all the beautiful sights and taking in the wonderful ecology that surrounds you.
This focus on the environment allows you to let go of stress and distractions. These quiet moments on the water allow the necessary break from the hustle and bustle of day to day urban life. Being able to let go of your distractions this way is very similar to a meditation, but with the physical movement and mental awareness required for the sport. The focus required for safe paddling can help you get your mind off of stressful or unhealthy thoughts, or even to work through them in a healthy manner.
University of Illinois environment and behaviour researcher, Ming Kuo, says that being in nature makes us feel safe and puts more resources towards our immune system. According to this research, being in our kayaks and connecting with nature actually helps our bodies to fight against infections and viruses more effectively.
There is a social aspect to kayaking that is beneficial for your health as well. There are many groups people can join that are focused on paddling and many of us start to form a group of friends that paddle at the same skill level we do. This offers us some healthy socialization and camaraderie.
As humans, we like to meet people and do things with them. This social interaction is important for a balanced life. Even when you paddle alone, you feel part of the larger community that is the kayaking community.
Salt Water Therapy
A girlfriend once told me that being in the ocean seemed to make me happier and relieve my stress. It appears as though interacting with the ocean does relieve stress. Thalassotherapy is actually the name given to salt water therapy. Just being in the ocean can have all sorts of health benefits for our skin and even the glands in our body. Here is a link about why salt water therapy is so beneficial-http://theconversation.com/health-check-why-swimming-in-the-sea-is-good-for-you-68583
Kayaking gets us out moving, lifting, twisting, and working our muscles. Paddling itself is a lot of exercise and can help to improve hand eye coordination. Personally, my hockey skills have improved since I started kayaking.
Anytime exercise can be fun and enjoyable, we are more likely to get out and do it more frequently. With kayaking, I have found that people often end up engaging in other outdoor activities as well, such as hiking, running, or biking for the change of pace while remaining in the outdoors.
Kayaking isn't just for fun, as you can see, it also has many health benefits. You can help your body be healthier by just getting out there regularly.
If you are new to paddling, check out my PDF of simple tips you need to know before get started.