There really has never been a better time to take up kayaking than in the throes of these uniquely difficult times. If you are looking for a way to immerse yourself in nature (without damaging it!), keep fit, and guarantee some holiday and recreational time for yourself in the midst of ever changing restrictions on travel and leisure – then kayaking is the answer. Here are 6 reasons why…
1. NATURE THERAPY
The physical and mental health benefits of spending time in the great outdoors is well documented, and not just anecdotally. In fact in some parts of the world nature therapy is now prescribed clinically to compliment conventional treatments for all sorts of conditions.
Kayaking gets you right into the heart of nature, often taking you to places that simply aren’t accessible on foot, bicycle, or even larger boats.
By being so low on the water you will experience a unique perspective of nature, and your place in it.
2. ECO FRIENDLY
It is so important that when we enjoy the natural environment, we do not damage or disturb it in the process. Being a human-powered craft with no oil, polluting emissions, or disruptive engine noise, Kayaking is a particularly gentle and non-invasive way to explore and enjoy the waterways.
Drifting silently past a rare, unsuspecting Kingfisher – that would get spooked by most other means of travel – is not uncommon in a kayak.
3. LOW IMPACT FULL BODY WORKOUT
One of the most popular questions kayakers get asked, particularly touring and long distance paddlers, is “I bet your arms/ shoulders ache?”.
The truth is, kayaking is actually a low impact, low resistance full body workout.
Sure, your arms and shoulders will ache if your technique is bad! But you will be countering your arm movement with your legs for balance, and most of the work is done with your torso (great for core strength). Much like swimming, resistance is low but the work out and payoff is hugely rewarding.
Distracted by the meditative peacefulness of moving through the water, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, most of the time you won’t even notice you are getting a workout.
4. INEXPENSIVE HOBBY
Many are suffering the economic pinch of the pandemic. Kayaking is great in that there are so many options for all budgets, it really is one of the most accessible and cheapest hobbies out there. Particularly compared to other forms of boating.
Prices start at around £100 ($140) for a decent enough inflatable kayak that will get you started on the water. Like most things though, the more you can spend the better.
There are also plenty of accessories available to aid your enjoyment and safety of the pastime, again to suit all levels of budget, experience, and enthusiasm.
5. COVID RESTRICTION FRIENDLY
Whether you paddle solo, with a friend, or in a group, it is perfectly easy to maintain social distancing while such recommendations continue. Even two people portaging (picking up and carrying) a kayak will give you the space required, which is currently 2m in the UK and seemingly a lot less everywhere else.
Kayaking is almost entirely enjoyed outdoors too, further enhancing its Covid-safe credentials.
6. KAYAK CAMPING – THE ULTIMATE STAYCATION
If there is anything better than being in the outdoors, it is sleeping in it, and one of the best things about kayaking is going on an overnight or multi-day camping trip.
With the prospect for summer holidays abroad looking still very unlikely at time of writing, many people will be considering options for a staycation.
"The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are.” – Lynn Culbreath Noel
Hopefully this is enough to persuade you to take to the water. But if you are still unsure about committing fully then you could consider renting a kayak to try it out. Most vendors usually rent in one hour blocks. You won’t regret it, and you might discover that kayaking is perfect for you and take it up on a more permanent basis, long after the restrictions of these strange times have finally been lifted.