Question, Re: Kayaking for Fitness

Thanks, I’ll look for those videos, and try out the visualization!

about that bike
" … but am finding that I have developed tendonitis (probably from work/typing) and that my hands go numb on longer rides."

This might be from an improper bike fit. You might wanna consult with someone about whether your seat/bar/top tube relationship is correct for your dimensions.

Sometimes a good pair of gloves can help too.

Now if you can get that bike issue resolved, cycling will get you in great aerobic shape and burn a bunch of calories because you are using those big thigh muscles.

As for kayaking, I got my best workout last fall during some ocean kayaking. That was because we came in at low tide and had to person haul our kayaks way too far back to our cars:)

I’m pretty sure it’s the right size bike – I was sized for this one by a pretty good/reliable shop less than a year ago. I have been meaning to get a pair of gloves, though, after talking to some other folks about it my hands going numb. I have carpal tunnel which occasionally flares up, though, so I wasn’t too surprised to be having discomfort from longer rides. But yes, I should definitely get out and get some gloves!

bike vs kayak vs running
This is just my personal observation so take it with a grain of salt…

For “fitness”, you need to burn as much energy as possible. (heart rate is just an indirect measure, of how much oxygen your muscle need) So the more/larger muscle you use, the more energy it takes and more benefit to your “fitness”.

The problem with kayaking is you’re limited by how much your arm can bear. Even with proper technique, there’s only so much you can put into the paddle.

Compare to cycling, where you can put a lot more through your legs (thigh) muscle. So you’re able to actually expense a lot of energy and gain fitness faster. Also, while it may feel like cheating, but a little bit of coasting from time to time makes it possible to ride for hours and hours, even for those who’re less than perfectly fit. And the gears allows one to ride harder and easier at the flick of a lever.

Running “feels” harder. You’re putting your whole body weight into every step. Some people just gets tired quickly and can’t continue. That really isn’t very good for burning excess calorie.

If you want to paddle fast and long, paddle. But if you want fitness, ride a bike.

Lots of good posts above. Vary your workouts. Some hard sprints. Some almmost has hard intervals. Some slow " Hey look at that guys dock" type paddles.

If you were to graph the workouts it would look like an ascending stock market graph. Peaks and valleys with a generally rising base line.

This is a good way to mix your aerobic and anerobic metabolism and also not get bored.

if you want fitness, diversify
Any one mode is less effective than variation.

It’s just a fact
that proper fitness/racing paddling technique is quite technical and takes time to learn, refine, and imbed in muscle memory.

As your technique becomes more ingrained, you’ll be able to paddler faster and harder without compromising form, but compromising form now to push yourself harder will likely mean you take longer to get good form ingrained.

Agree, but…
Thanks everyone. I believe very strongly in diversification. As I am fond of saying, “all things in moderation.”

Remember that my initial question was aimed at how to aerobic and anaerobic exercise within paddling/kayaking. I’m not saying it’s my only form of exercise, or even the most efficient. But at this point, it’s the best for me because I’m enjoying doing it and think I will stick to it, and hope that I will make better progress overall than I would with other forms of exercise. Which hopefully will put me in a better position for other forms of exercise by the end of my local kayaking season.

Faster cadence with form
Unless you change your paddle a faster cadence usually means a shorter stroke. That does not have to mean you are arm paddling. Look at the Flatwater paddling on Youtube.

The stroke of the racer starts very far forward but they are coming out at the knees and all the way out before the hip. These people are using their legs and their core in the extreme.

I have found that weekly sprint practice helps me improve my form. During the sprint practice I warm up and then do a number of sprints with rest periods. My form looks ragged when we are pushing it but so does everyone else. The next day during a normal workout my form feels much smoother and others look smoother too. So I’d encourage you to keep trying to increase you pace on one to three days per week.

You should re-read the above post
on bike “fit.” Then go back to where you bought it or any other shop and have it adjusted “correctly” assuming you bought the correct size.

I’ll Repeat it
What you really, really need to get your heart rate up, and to paddle properly is a paddle with less surface area. And seriously, you can shorten a Greenland paddle until it’s giving just the amount of resistance you need. I know, I know, you don’t want to spend any more money. You can make your own GP for the price of a nice plank of wood or you can try to find a used paddle somewhere.

Begin With Serious Paddling Equipment
And a coach that’s up to date with state of the art training methods and technique. This is what I did for my own child, and it flattened the learning curve almost immediately. Start off right, the first time, and save yourself the expense and time of unlearning lousy technique and nursing injuries.

Get a 10’ SOT made for diving or
fishing and use your normal stroke. That will be a workout.

And Also…
Stop doing this:

“There is a deliberate pause between strokes.”

For once you’ve refined your stroke and gained conditioning, you can easily achieve your target heart rate. You’ll gain fitness doing the sport you love, which is paddling and not have to switch to some other activity for fitness, unless it is swimming, which compliments paddling.