Extreme Nomads is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More

Sick of your weary boring gym routine but still want to burn calories, gain muscle mass, lose a few pounds and work out your core muscles? I have got your back. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not going to talk about any “magical way” to get it done!

Obviously, if you want to achieve something, you’ll have to work for it. The same goes for cutting down calories too. But the process can be more enjoyable and seamless if you do it the way you like.

And, of course, kayaking with a beautiful view is way better than watching people sweating in a crowded indoor gym.

You must be wondering if kayaking burns calories. Well, it can help you burn more calories than you have imagined. And I’m here to provide a thorough guide that includes everything related to burning calories by kayaking.

So How Many Calories Does Kayaking Burn Actually?

how to kayak for bigners

I’ve explained a simple formula to calculate the total number of calories burned while kayaking. Generally, an average person can burn around 275 – 476 calories per hour kayaking with moderate effort.

The number of calories a person will burn kayaking depends on many factors, including his age, sex, average weight, exercise routine, exercise intensity, duration, and how much effort he puts in.

I’m here to give a brief yet very strategic way of calculating the calories you burn while kayaking. That way, you can keep a count and set your daily cutting goals.

Should You Consider Kayaking an “Exercise”?

kayak calorie calculator

No doubt kayaking is a good form of exercise and an excellent way to help you lose weight. Just like other water sports, e.g., swimming and whitewater rafting, which involve a full body workout, kayaking also involves working out most muscles of your entire body, especially the forearms, shoulder muscles, chest, and back muscles.

Just like all other physical activities, high intensity and strength will help you lose some extra calories.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a workout routine that involves an upper body workout and helps you get rid of the extra body fat, then kayaking can be considered a good way of doing so.

How Many Calories Can You Burn Kayaking?

Now comes the main question, ‘how many calories does kayaking burn?’. The answer to this question isn’t as simple as the question itself. But to give you a general idea, I can say that if you are leisurely kayaking, you will burn about 283 calories per hour.

But that’s just a rough estimate. The actual number of calories burned kayaking depends on many other things, including your physique, average weight, etc.

calories in a mile

Let s have a deeper insight into it:

1. Formula For Calculating Calories Burned Kayaking Per Minute

To use any formula for calculating calories, let me explain what “MET” is. The Metabolic Equivalent Of Task gives you the approximate measurement of energy cost during any physical activity.

The MET value of 1 for an activity is equivalent to the energy spent sitting at room temperature. Similarly, a MET value of 2 means that double energy is used.

So, what’s the MET value for kayaking?… It is almost 5. Applying the formula that I just mentioned:

Calories burning in a minute = (body weight in Kgs x 3.5 x MET) /200

Let’s say your body weight in kgs is 75 kgs, then the calories burned in a minute will be given by:

= (75 x 3.5 x 5)/200


2. How Many Calories Burned in One Hour of Kayaking?

This can also be calculated using the formula mentioned above for calculating the number of calories burned in one minute of kayaking. All you have to do is multiply the number of calories obtained by 60. That will give you the total number of calories per hour.

Calories per hour = {(body weight in Kgs x 3.5 x MET) /200}x60

Using the same example as above, where the weight of the individual is 75 kgs, calories burned kayaking in an hour will be given by:

= {(75 x 3.5 x 5)/200}x60

=393.75 calories per hour

3. How Many Calories Are Burned Kayaking When You Cover One Mile?

As I mentioned, how many calories kayaking burns depends on many factors. More calories are burnt if you put in more effort. Similarly, a moderate effort will result in burning fewer calories. It also depends on the exercise duration.

Let me give you an approximation. On average, a 90 kg male individual burns about 135 to 200 calories in a single mile. On the other hand, an average female who weighs about 70 kg burns somewhere between 115 to 170 calories if she covers the same distance kayaking.

Here’s a secret for you. The major factor that results in this huge difference is the speed of kayaking. Faster pace results in burning more calories. Overall it is a great upper-body workout routine for both males and females.

Top Mistakes Kayakers Make (Help Yourself And Avoid These)

how many calories do you burn white water rafting

Well, after reading the above stats, if you have decided to choose kayaking as your form of exercise to lose weight, gain muscle mass, and lose even more calories, then you must be good at it.

To cross the beginner’s level, you need to make sure you don’t make these mistakes. Avoiding these mistakes will effortlessly take your kayaking skills to the next level.

Let’s see what those mistakes are:

Angle Of Your Paddle

kayaking calories

The first thing you need to understand is that different angles of the paddle are used for different purposes. The paddle is the only piece of equipment that controls your boat. So, controlling and being good at paddling is the only thing you need to do to be a pro at the job.

Remember that a relatively low and horizontal angle should be used only when turning your boat. For moving it forward and speeding it up, keep the paddle vertical.

Stroke Length

Longer strokes are better because they help the boat cover more distance. If your paddle strokes are long enough, fewer strokes would be required. But make sure that you do it with the appropriate paddle angle.

canoe calories burned

Wobbling (Yes! You Can Avoid It)

If your kayak is wobbling while you are paddling, don’t consider this normal. Instead, it shows that your kayak is not balanced properly on the water.

There are two types of kayaks, i.e., top sitting kayaks and sit-inside kayaks. Sit-on-top kayaks are much easier to balance so that they won’t wobble. These are good options if you don’t do kayaking that often.

But if you are someone who wants to practice kayaking and become a pro at it, and increase your speed, then you need to practice on a sit-inside kayak, as those have better speed.


sit-on-top kayaks

DO NOT RUSH! Neither while choosing a river location for kayaking nor while paddling.

Look around and find the ideal location that is peaceful and enjoyable. If you find your favorite spot for kayaking, chances are that you will enjoy it even more and spend more time kayaking, whether you want to do whitewater kayaking or kayak fishing.

A good location can motivate you to make up your fitness routine.

Secondly, if you have seen professional kayaking at high speed, you might think paddling at high speed will make the kayak move faster. But this is not how it works. To improve your speed, you must work on the rhythm and practice more instead of rushing.

Not Considering the Features of the River

The flow of the river also plays are vital role in kayaking. There are places where the speed of the kayak can be increased effortlessly.

At the same time, there are some other spots in the river where the speed of the kayak becomes very slow. You need to spot those areas and the flow direction of the river.

How Can You Burn More Calories Kayaking: Tips for Feeling the Burn

Just like for mastering kayaking, there are some techniques you need to follow to optimize the number of calories burned while kayaking. So, if you consider it a way to lose weight and help you reach a calorie deficit, make kayaking count in your daily calorie-burning physical activities.

Use Proper Technique

Once you know the proper kayaking technique, not only are the chances of getting injured reduced, but you can also burn more calories. Wondering how? See… if you are a pro at the proper paddling technique, you can ideally control the muscles involved.

This means that you can control all the muscles that are actively participating while you go for each stroke. And once you build up a rhythm, you can engage more muscle groups without vigorous effort. As a result, you burn calories and gain more lean muscle mass.

Kayaking In The Perfect Location

The more strenuous your terrain is, the more calories are burnt. So, if your daily location for kayaking looks pretty effortless for you, upgrade your level by determining and trying to navigate areas that are comparatively rough to kayak in.

You don’t always have to stay at the beginner’s level. Putting in more strength while paddling will result in more calories burned. If it seems low impact, change your location.

Kayak Upstream For Burning Calories

how many calories burned kayaking

Do you still think that kayaking does not make much of a difference and shouldn’t be counted as an exercise? Try this technique, and you will never think the same again. You will definitely say that kayaking works. All you have to do is paddle upstream instead of downstream.

This technique takes up a lot of muscle strength. You will feel the burn by the end of your kayaking session.

Adding Weight To Your Kayak (You Can Have Your Buddy With You)

Can’t find the right spot for upstream kayaking? No Problem! Try adding weight to your kayak. Adding a few extra pounds will make you apply more strength while paddling.

Along with that weight, you can also have your four-legged partner with you. Make sure you choose the right kayak for your dog if that concerns you. He’ll give you company and add more weight to help you in cutting more calories.

Is It Effective For Building Muscle?

how many calories do you burn kayaking

Kayaking is a physical activity that involves repetition. This makes it ideal to be considered as an exercise to build muscles. Even if you have weak joints, you can still do it to build muscles because kayaking is comparatively low impact.

Surprisingly kayaking works out as many as 12 major muscle groups of your body. These muscle groups include your biceps, triceps, shoulder muscles, glutes, quads, lats, quadriceps, abs, hamstrings, and calves.

You yourself can imagine if a particular activity involves active participation of this many muscles, then it is inevitable that it can be used to build muscles.

Rowing your kayak involves a workout of your full upper body and your core muscles. This, in turn, helps you strengthen your entire torso.

Once you make it a routine and do it regularly, you will surely notice an increase in muscularity at the end of each session. But keep in mind that consistency is the key to building muscles!!!

Can Kayaking Help You Lose Lose The Extra Pounds?

how many calories are burned kayaking

It is obvious that if kayaking helps you burn calories, you will definitely end up losing weight. On average, the number of calories burned while kayaking is more than the number of calories burnt with the traditional ways of burning calories, for example, jogging or long walks.

You might not be able to burn belly fat while kayaking because it is very low impact. But if you keep your diet in check and consider limiting your calorie intake, vigorous kayaking with high intensity will surely result in helping you lose a considerable amount of weight.

So, try to make sure that you keep a check on your calorie intake, and along with that, make it a daily activity for several hours a day. After a few weeks, you will surely see a statistical difference in your body weight.

Important Things You Need To Consider About Kayaking

calories kayaking

Like many other water sports and exercises, there are a few very crucial things that you need to know. Unfortunately, not paying attention to these important things might result in hazardous conditions.

So, make sure you check all these boxes, whether you are a beginner in the field or a pro paddler. You might need a mentor for this purpose, but it will all be worth the struggle.

Learning Rescue Techniques (Safety Comes First)

how many calories do you burn while kayaking

Whether you are kayaking in a far-off river or just trying to practice in a nearby swimming pool, learning rescue techniques is very important. The rescue techniques will help you be prepared for the worst times.

Even if you think your kayak won’t ever get capsized, you should know what to do in such a situation. You might end up saving somebody else’s life if you know the safety techniques. So don’t consider it useless or unimportant.

Your mentor or instructor will help you get to know about all the possible situations you might end up in while kayaking, along with the best ways of dealing with them.

Choose the Right Boat

calories burned kayaking

Sit-inside kayaks or sit-on-top kayaks are the two common types of kayaks. You need to choose according to your preferred requirements. If you want a relatively stable one that does not require much struggle in balancing, you should go for the sit-on-top one.

But the drawback of a sit-on-top kayak is that you might not easily reach your desired speed. That is why such kayaks are ideal for recreational kayakers who don’t do kayaking that often.

If you want to do kayaking as an exercise, and want to do it regularly to burn calories, then a sit-inside kayak is the best for you. Regular practice will help you get better at balancing it. And you will reach your desired speed, as the greater the speed is, the more calories are burnt.

Get Gear

calories burned canoeing

Along with selecting the right kayak, appropriate gear is also very crucial. So, make sure you have a good quality paddle, along with a whistle, pump, throw rope spray skirt, a kayaking dry bag, and a safety jacket.

It is important to wear a safety jacket while kayaking. Make sure your jacket offers a nice fit and has relatively bigger armholes, so it does not come in your way while you are paddle boarding. Those loose-fit ones and super-tight ones can be uncomfortable. So, make sure you try it before buying.

Depth of the Water

how many calories can you burn kayaking

You need to study the water while kayaking. At first, it might seem a bit complicated. So, you can have an experienced kayaker with you who can guide you. Once you gain some experience, you will be able to do it effortlessly.

Doing so is important because if you know how to do it, managing your kayak, balancing it, turning it, and speeding, it becomes much easier.

Secondly, you must also ensure that the water is not too shallow. If it is very shallow, paddling can be a problem for you as the paddle strikes the ground each time you stroke. The right depth will give you a much better experience, and you will be safe too.

Sitting Properly (Pro Tip)

Half of the job is already done if you know how to sit properly in a kayak. This is because it is all about maintaining the right balance so it won’t capsize. Alternatively, sitting the wrong way makes it very difficult to balance the kayak.

how many calories does canoeing burn

The right way of sitting in a kayak is not leaning forward. Instead, keep your back supported by the seat. Place your feet on the foot pegs, with the direction of your toes being outwards and your heels angled towards the center.

This position will help you maintain the right balance but will also help you prevent your body from getting tired and strained so you can enjoy kayaking for longer periods.

Calories Burned Kayaking: Summary

Who wouldn’t love a fun recreational activity that makes you enjoy a natural beauty and lose some extra calories at the same time? Whether you do it alone or with a group of friends, kayaking can be a fantastic way to reach your weight loss goals.

Kayaking is a fun sport that water sports lovers have enjoyed for ages. But it hasn’t been considered a way to achieve fitness goals and a helpful technique for weight loss. The best part about considering it a way of burning calories is that it isn’t as strenuous and boring as other ways.

You get to enjoy splendid views of nature and get a rush of endorphins along with the numerous other health benefits it has.

All you have to do is take care of the above-mentioned things and follow the directions. If you are consistent and do it for a couple of hours daily, you will surely see the difference.

Happy Paddling!!!

Categories: Kayaking


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

en_GBEnglish (UK)