Paddleboard vs Kayak

Paddleboards vs Kayaks – Which One Gives the Better Workout?

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You’ve heard the phrase “Nothing worth doing comes easy.”

It rings true in all areas of our lives, but perhaps is doubly true when it comes to our physical health. Sure, anyone can walk on the treadmill for half an hour and call it a day but what are you really doing for your body? Paddleboarding and kayaking are two amazing workouts that a lot of people shy away from because they look hard. What if I fall? What if I encounter bad weather? What if I just look silly out there?

The truth is- everyone was a beginner once, and the health benefits that you’ll reap by taking the plunge are totally worth it! Let’s examine the fitness rewards of both paddleboarding and kayaking.

Table of Contents


Paddleboarding is a full body intensive workout that promotes good posture, balance and tests your stamina. Before we get into the benefits of paddleboarding, let’s talk about what you’ll need to get started.

Great! Now that you have your gear and are ready to hit the water, let’s talk about some of the huge health benefits that you’ll get from paddleboarding.

It’s A Great Cardio Workout

Paddleboarding uses most of your major muscle groups making it an efficient and fantastic cardio workout. Your legs, core, shoulders, arms, torso and back are all engaged and working hard to propel you through the water. Cardio gets your blood pumping and your body working at maximum capacity. High-intensity cardio like paddleboarding can melt fat away and keep you in optimum health.

It Makes Your Heart Happy

The National Center for Biotechnology Information credits cardio exercise with promoting heart health (1). Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death. Fortunately, it is also one that can be mitigated by exercising and getting that heart rate up on a regular basis.

It Improves Your Posture And Balance

The entire objective of paddleboarding is to stand up and propel yourself through the water. Needless to say, that requires a lot of good posture and balance. Since we spend so much of our lives sitting at work or lounging on the couch at home, it’s good for us to stand up and practice balancing. Also, practice makes perfect! According to Harvard Health Publishing, good posture can have positive repercussions in other areas of our lives and help us be stronger and avoid injuries (2). Standing correctly can fortify our calf and lower leg muscles. We don’t think enough about our posture and balance, but paddleboarding forces us to pay attention.

It Builds Muscle And Increases Stamina And Endurance

Paddleboarding is an excellent cardio activity that does double duty as a muscle builder. In order to keep the correct paddleboarding posture, you need to activate the muscles in your lower body. Routine paddleboarding practice will lead to more stamina, strength and endurance.

It Can Help Neutralize Stress

Many exercises act as natural stress relievers, but paddleboarding goes a little above and beyond in this area because you’re experiencing the great outdoors. Nature has a way of helping us put our worries behind us. Paddleboarding offers a double punch of cardio and the open water for a healthy stress release. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can manifest itself in a whole host of physical symptoms and unhealthy behaviors (3). It is best to combat it in a healthy way!

Paddleboarding Conclusion

Take up paddleboarding and you’ll benefit from a whole host of health benefits including ones that you wouldn’t get from exercising at the gym. As an added benefit, you’ll also be outside enjoying the sunshine and fresh air!


Kayaking is a fun, communal activity that gets you out in the fresh air and gives you a full body workout. Let’s talk about the equipment you’ll need to get started.

  • A kayak
  • A paddle
  • A personal flotation device
  • A waterproof bag to store valuable items and electronics
  • A bilge pump
  • A whistle (in case of emergency)

With your equipment in hand, you’re ready to hit the water for a fun-filled day of exercise with friends. Let’s talk about some of the ways your body benefits from kayaking.

It Builds Endurance And Strength

Kayaking is a total endurance sport. You have to push yourself through the water using only your strength and ability. Although it might not seem like it, the water provides a tremendous amount of resistance. There is no gliding in kayaking! You are pushing yourself through the currents using all that you’ve got. People who kayak often have extremely strong arms, legs, and an activated core.

It Burns Fat And Regulates Weight

Kayaking is a high-intensity endurance sport that will help melt weight away. There are aesthetic benefits to losing weight, but that beach body aside, excess weight can cause major health problems. According to WebMD, extra fat impacts every organ of our bodies (4). When we lug around pounds that we don’t need, we put a strain on our heart, joints and other organs. One of the major benefits of kayaking is that it’s a high-octane cardio workout that will melt away fat quicker than most exercise programs.

It Strengthens Your Core

A strong core generally manifests itself in a six-pack- which looks good but also is indicative of a functioning and healthy body. Kayaking targets almost all of your major muscle groups, so it is an effective way to energize your core and start giving you the definition that you want.

It Promotes A Healthy Heart

Kayaking, like paddleboarding, promotes a healthy heart. Kayaking is intense cardio that pushing your body to the limit. Your muscles are working overtime and your heart is pumping and happy. Heart disease is no joke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 610,000 people in the United States die of heart disease every year (5). That’s one in four deaths. Keep your heart happy with a sport like kayaking and you might not wind up a statistic!

It Lets You Work Out With Friends

Kayaking is a communal sport, so you’ll benefit from spending time in the great outdoors with your friends. There are very few things in life that bring people together better than exercise, so it’s a great way to connect with the people you love and solidify relationships while getting a great workout in. The Mayo Clinic notes the importance of friends for good health (6), so you’re really doing your body two big services by taking up kayaking!

It Gives You A Big Dose Of Vitamin D

Sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D in the world. According to Medical News Today, Vitamin D can lift up your mood, promote healthy bones and teeth and even support lung function and heart health (7). Those all seem like pretty good reasons to get out in the fresh air and sunshine!

Kayaking Conclusion

Kayaking is a communal activity that doubles as an amazing workout. You’ll test your strength, work core muscles and get your heart rate up. It’s a great way to soak in some sun and get a fantastic work out in!

Kayaking Versus Paddleboarding

Both kayaking and paddleboarding are amazing sports. Both do wonders for your heart, give you an amazing cardio workout and let you get outside and soak up some sun! The primary benefit of kayaking is that it’s a communal sport. Working out with friends provides a social benefit as well as a fitness one. On the other hand, paddleboarding works on posture and balance, which we often neglect.

Truly, you can’t go wrong with either of these sports. Both are a refreshing alternative from the gym, require just a little bit of equipment and allow you to work muscles that you might have been neglecting. First-time paddleboarders or kayakers might be intimidated by the experts but don’t worry, you’ll be there soon enough. There’s no reason not to give one, or both, of these sports a try! Who knows? You might fall in love with it! Get out on the water and see.









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