How Many Calories Burned Kayaking? [Practical Example]

For a very long time, kayaking has been known as a fun water sport all around the world. But did you know, it can be counted as a muscle-strengthening workout too? Now, you must be thinking about how many calories burned kayaking, right?

As a fun water sport, you can enjoy kayaking as an individual or in a group. Several brands have made solo kayaks, dual kayaks, or fishing kayaks to fulfill the user’s needs. Moreover, the one common factor with these kayaks is, they all help to burn your calories! 

Considering all the required movements of your hands and legs to operate this boat, this shouldn’t be surprising at all. But then again, the intensity of the sport is also important. The more force you use, the more calories you burn!

Related review: You can read about “Intex Challenger k1 Kayak” [Read here], “Intex Explorer K2 Kayak” [Read here], and “Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak” [Read here]

How Many Calories Burned Kayaking?

Kayaking involves intense upper body movement throughout the session. When you are paddling with your hand, you have to stroke them at an arm’s length. While doing each stroke, your arms, shoulders, and back are also supporting you.

If you want to increase the force or change the course, you need to push and pull your hands, chest, abdomen at different speeds.  It means continuous workout of your body parts. However, you won’t need to employ much strength with moving water.

But, if the water is still, you will need more paddling to move your kayak. Promoting a more intense and powerful workout. On average, kayaking burns the same calories as walking at 4.5 mph speed. That is almost 205 calories depending on many factors.

Using a kayak as an exercise tool would require lots of effort from your side.  If you are just sitting on your kayak for some hours without any movement, this isn’t going to help you lose any weight. You must try and give your best if you want a significant result. 

Like any other workout session, your weight and time you spent on kayaking are the determining factors of how much calories you are going to burn. Say, you weigh 125l bs and your paddling is of moderate speed. You shall burn approximately 300 calories per hour.

Whereas, your friend weighs 150 lbs with a moderate paddling speed. His or her burning calories can be 400 or more per hour. In short, the more weight you pull, the more calories you burn. If you want to burn more calories, just increase the speed and intensity.

For the best result, start at a slow pace. Build your tempo and get used to paddling at a certain rhythm. You can always take a break in between. After a few days, gradually increase your paddling speed. Thus, you won’t be facing any muscle cramps.

Health Benefits of Kayaking:  

Most people think of kayaking only as a fun sport. But it is not only good for your physical condition but also improves your mental condition as well.  


  • Kayaking daily is a great exercise session. From increasing your stamina to lose weight, it helps you big time!
  • Deep kayak sessions can build your muscle, the framework of your upper body, strong core, and toned legs.  
  • A healthy heart means a healthy body. Regular kayak session is a good cardiovascular workout as it improves the blood pumping and the heart muscles.


  • During a kayak session, you can enjoy nature and breathe in the fresh air. This automatically reduces your stress and all the worries of your mind!
  • Kayaking needs a lot of concentration and coordination for a fruitful cruising tour. This actually reflects well on your real life, as you learn to focus on your priorities.
  • An exhausting exercise session means you will get a good sleep afterward. As for kayaking, you need to invest a good amount of physical and mental strength, improving your sleep quality.

Frequently Answered Questions:

Can you lose weight by kayaking?

Yes, kayaking can help you to lose weight. During the paddling, your whole upper body is active and constantly working to stroke. To change the course or to row opposite the water flow, you need to move your back muscles, shoulder, chest. etc. to apply more force.

An average weighted person with a moderate speed of paddling can burn up to 400 calories per hour. This is a great deal for losing weight.

What burns more calories kayaking or paddle-boarding?

Usually, kayaking can burn up to 400 calories of an average weighted person with a moderate pace of paddling. You can increase the amount depending on many factors. For paddle-boarding, a leisure speed paddler can burn up to 330-440 calories each hour.

You can do various types of activities to increase the calorie amount on a SUP. For example, an SUP race can burn 1130 calories of the participants!

Is kayaking better cardio or strength?

Kayaking is a great combination of both cardio and strength. You can feel the muscle soreness after the hour-long kayaking session, indicating a strength training session has been done. You can also feel the increased rate of heartbeat, a sign of doing cardio exercise.

Longer kayak trips help to better your cardiac condition, whereas paddling against the rough water builds your muscle. You can incorporate both styles into your kayaking.

Does kayaking burn belly fat?

Belly fats are usually hard to get rid of. But with proper exercise and diet, you can cut it down. Regular kayaking can help to burn stubborn belly fat off your body. It involves the movements of your shoulder, chest, core, etc. during the paddling, promoting an intense workout.

Is kayaking good for lower back pain?

A good hour-long kayak session helps to build the muscles of your back. Meaning if you are suffering from chronic lower back pain, kayaking can improve your spinal condition. However, you should consult with your doctor if it is safe for you to kayak with a bad back.

Final Thoughts

While exercising is important for us, not everyone has the urge or scope to hit the gym daily. However, kayaking can be a great alternative and fun choice for sure. It doesn’t have to be necessarily in open water. A swimming pool or kayak pool is also fine!

The important thing is not where, but how you are enjoying it! Just grab a solo kayak (ex- Intex Challenger k1) for an individual workout session! Or, if you want to exercise with buddies, a dual kayak (ex- Intex explorer k2) can be the perfect choice for you and your training mate!