There are so many reasons we choose to kayak, canoe, paddleboard or packraft. Here are some of the main reasons we love to paddle. Which are YOUR reasons to love it?
There are as many reasons to love paddling as there are paddlers! (Photo courtesy of Michael O’Dwyer)
Paddling is Fun!
One of the best reasons to paddle is because it’s just plain fun. And it can be fun for people of all ages and ability levels. Young kids, teens, adults, seniors—anyone in decent health can pick up a paddle and get on board. And there are growing numbers of programs and gear adaptions that allow people with a wide range of disabilities to paddle, too.
Whether in a kayak or on a SUP board for 20 minutes, for several hours or on a multi-day trip, you can have fun. Food, friends or family and a cool destination all combine to add to the fun level, as we’ll talk about below.
And you don’t have to be an expert to have fun. Paddling is beginner-friendly on many types of water environments.
Paddling is Great Exercise
Any activity that increases physical movement benefits your health. Paddling, whether in a kayak or packraft, on a paddleboard or in a canoe is a great upper body workout. It’s easy on your joints (especially with a good paddle!) and is low-impact.
If you want a whole-body workout and not just one for your upper body, then stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is for you. All the muscles in your lower body have to work, too, to keep you balanced on a board on the constantly-moving surface of the water.
And paddling isn’t just a way to stay fit, it’s a great motivator to stay fit, especially the older we get. A summer on the water or a multi-day trip to a dream destination are great incentives to stay in shape.
Paddling Can Lead to Adventure
It can be an adrenaline-inducing adventure like whitewater kayaking or kayak surfing. Or it can be a destination-seeking adventure like a multi-day packrafting or bikerafting trip.
There are as many adventure possibilities as your imagination will take you, with the right skill set or the right outfitter.
Maybe to you, adventure is discovering new places even with no adrenaline involved. That’s one of the beauties of paddling—it can be highly personal.
Paddling can take you to adventurous places with your favorite people (photo courtesy of Blazin’ Paddles)
You See from a Different Perspective
Maybe these kinds of scenarios sound familiar:
- You stand on a cliff-top far above a gorgeous stretch of shoreline and think: “I wonder what this looks like from the water?”
- You’re in a metropolitan area that has a river or two, or canals. You think: “I bet this city looks amazing from a kayak!”
- You love to go under bridges and not just over them.
When you’re on the water you get to see manmade and natural features from a perspective you can’t get when you’re on dry land.
Kayaking a river through a city is a totally different experience than walking, biking or driving through it. Paddleboarding a lake’s shoreline helps you see it differently than hiking along it.
Contact with Nature
Paddling brings you in contact with nature in wonderful ways. And, as above, you get to experience it in different ways than you do on land.
Depending on the environment, it could be small and intimate, with vegetation right along the shoreline—a small lake or river. Or it could be a vast, wide-open environment like the ocean or a huge lake. Some shorelines have dramatic palisades, some have sand or pebble beaches.
Because paddling is so quiet, you have a great chance of seeing some of the local wildlife. Maybe a deer will come down to drink, or you’ll see turtles sunning themselves. A loon could come up right beside you, or an eagle swoop down to catch a fish nearby. Ocean paddlers sometimes encounter seals, otters, porpoises and even whales.
Paddling is an Ideal Way to Get Social
With the right boat and water environment, paddling is a wonderful family activity, even with young children. It’s also ideal with spouses, friends, co-workers, friend groups and even strangers.
In many cities with lots of paddling options, you’ll be able to find local meet-up groups and paddling clubs if you’re eager to meet new-to-you paddling friends.
Instead of meeting someone for coffee, why not meet at a local lake or river and rent kayaks instead? Is your family or friend group looking for a new activity? Hire an outfitter to take you to a fun local paddling spot.
Because you don’t have to try to be heard over a motor, paddling is conducive to relaxed conversation!
Water, nature and exercise combine for great health benefits (photo courtesy of Sharon Brodin)
Emotional and Mental Health Benefits
So many paddlers attest to the emotional and mental health benefits they get from being on the water. It’s really a combo of all the things we’ve talked about already—the fun, the exercise, nature and the water itself…all are proven to boost mental health.
In fact, it’s so impactful there are organizations that offer paddling programs for military vets and others who suffer from PTSD. It can help reduce depression and anxiety, and it gives a sense of freedom that’s tangible and can be life-changing (read some testimonials in this article).
There are so many reasons to love paddling! Which are yours?
Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]
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