what burns more calories kayaking or paddle boarding 6
what burns more calories kayaking or paddle boarding 6

If you’re looking to shed some pounds while enjoying the great outdoors, the question might be: what burns more calories – kayaking or paddle boarding?

Both water sports offer a refreshing way to stay active and explore the beauty of rivers, lakes, and oceans.

In this article, we will break down the calorie-burning potential of each activity, giving you the tools to make an informed decision about which one suits your fitness goals best.

So grab your oars or paddle and dive into the calorie-burning adventure that awaits us!

What Burns More Calories Kayaking Or Paddle Boarding?

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Benefits of Kayaking

Upper body workout

Kayaking is a fantastic way to engage and strengthen our upper body muscles. As we paddle through the water, we actively use our arms, shoulders, and back to propel ourselves forward. The repetitive paddling motion helps build endurance and enhance our muscle tone. Whether casually exploring a serene lake or tackling the rapids in a river, kayaking offers a fun and effective upper-body workout.

Core strength

In addition to working out our upper body, kayaking also provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen our core muscles. We must engage our abdominal muscles as we navigate the water to maintain stability and proper paddling technique. This constant engagement of our core muscles will improve our balance and contribute to a toned and strong midsection.

Cardiovascular exercise

Kayaking can be a great way to get our heart pumping and increase our cardiovascular fitness. By applying steady and controlled effort, we can elevate our heart rate and enjoy the benefits of a cardiovascular workout. The rhythmic paddling motion, combined with the resistance provided by the water, creates an effective and enjoyable aerobic exercise that can improve our endurance and overall fitness levels.

Benefits of Paddleboarding

Engages more muscles

Paddleboarding takes kayaking’s upper body workout to another level by engaging even more muscles. In addition to our arms, shoulders, and back, paddleboarding requires us to use our leg muscles for stability and balance actively. Standing on the board and maintaining a steady stance activates our leg muscles, including our quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. By engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously, paddleboarding offers a comprehensive full-body workout.

Improves balance and stability

Paddleboarding is an excellent activity to improve our balance and stability. Maintaining an upright position while navigating the water challenges our core muscles, including our abdominals and lower back, to work harmoniously.

As we paddle through the water, small body position and weight distribution adjustments help us stay balanced on the board. Over time, this can enhance our stability and coordination, making us more adept in various physical activities.

Low impact exercise

One of the critical advantages of paddleboarding is its low-impact nature. Unlike high-impact activities like running or jumping, paddleboarding puts minimal stress on our joints. The buoyancy provided by the water cushions our movements and reduces the risk of strain or injuries. This makes paddleboarding an ideal exercise option for individuals with joint issues or those seeking a low-impact workout without sacrificing the benefits of physical activity.

Factors Affecting Calorie Burn

Intensity of the activity

The intensity at which we perform kayaking or paddleboarding significantly affects the number of calories burned. Higher intensity levels, which entail more vigorous paddling and faster speeds, generally result in a more significant calorie burn.

However, even moderate or low-intensity sessions can still provide valuable health benefits. Choosing the intensity level that aligns with our fitness goals and current capabilities is essential.

Duration of the activity

The duration of our kayaking or paddleboarding sessions plays a role in the number of calories burned. Longer sessions naturally have the potential to burn more calories than shorter ones. However, balancing duration and intensity is essential to avoid overexerting ourselves. Gradually increasing the duration of our sessions over time can help us build endurance and improve our overall calorie burn.

Individual’s weight and fitness level

Our weight and fitness level also influence the calories burned during kayaking or paddleboarding. Generally, individuals with higher body weights tend to burn more calories due to the increased effort required to move their bodies through the water.

Furthermore, individuals with higher fitness levels may have a higher metabolism and burn calories more efficiently. However, regardless of weight or fitness level, kayaking and paddleboarding offer valuable exercise opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds.

Calories Burned While Kayaking

Low-intensity kayaking

During low-intensity kayaking sessions, where we paddle leisurely, our calorie burn may range from 200 to 300 calories per hour. While the calorie burn may be modest compared to more intense workouts, low-intensity kayaking still provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy nature, relax, and engage in low-impact exercise.

Moderate-intensity kayaking

When we increase the intensity of our kayaking sessions, paddling at a moderate pace, we can expect to burn approximately 350 to 450 calories per hour. This moderate intensity level helps to elevate our heart rate and offers a more robust cardiovascular workout. Moderate-intensity kayaking is a perfect balance between calorie burn and enjoyable outdoor activity.

High-intensity kayaking

High-intensity kayaking can be an excellent option for a more vigorous workout. Engaging in whitewater kayaking or sprint intervals can significantly elevate our calorie burn.

Depending on the intensity and duration of these sessions, we may burn around 500 to 700 calories per hour or even more. High-intensity kayaking challenges our muscles and cardiovascular system, promoting strength, endurance, and calorie expenditure.

What Burns More Calories Kayaking Or Paddle Boarding?

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Calories Burned While Paddleboarding

Leisurely paddleboarding

During leisurely paddleboarding sessions, where we enjoy a relaxed pace and take in the surroundings, our calorie burn may range from 250 to 350 calories per hour. Paddleboarding at a leisurely pace is a fantastic way to unwind, destress, and engage in a low-impact exercise that still provides numerous health benefits.

Paddleboarding at a moderate pace

When we paddleboard at a moderate pace, putting in more effort and maintaining a consistent rhythm, we can expect to burn approximately 400 to 500 calories per hour. This represents a solid calorie burn for individuals seeking to elevate their heart rate and engage in a more challenging workout. Paddleboarding at a moderate pace allows us to combine cardio benefits with the joy of being on the water.

Intense paddleboarding

For those seeking a high-intensity workout on the water, intense paddleboarding sessions can help us achieve our goals. By adopting a faster pace, incorporating interval training, or paddling against stronger currents, we can burn 600 to 800 calories per hour or more. Intense paddleboarding pushes our limits, providing an exhilarating workout that ignites our metabolism and offers a full-body challenge.

Kayaking vs. Paddleboarding: Calorie Comparison

Low-intensity kayaking vs. leisurely paddleboarding

Both activities offer similar calorie burns when comparing low-intensity kayaking to leisurely paddleboarding. Whether we paddle along in a kayak or leisurely explore on a paddleboard, we can expect to burn around 200 to 350 calories per hour. The decision between the two may be personal preference and which activity aligns better with our goals and interests.

Moderate-intensity kayaking vs. paddleboarding at a moderate pace

Regarding moderate-intensity workouts, both kayaking and paddleboarding offer comparable calorie burns. We can expect to burn approximately 350 to 500 calories per hour in either activity, depending on our effort level and duration. Choosing between the two may come down to individual preferences, such as the stability and balance provided by a paddleboard or the maneuverability of a kayak.

High-intensity kayaking vs. intense paddleboarding

For individuals seeking a more intense workout, high-intensity kayaking and intense paddleboarding offer excellent calorie burns. These activities can burn upwards of 500 to 800 calories per hour. The choice between the two may depend on personal preference, access to suitable water bodies, and the desired level of challenge and excitement.

What Burns More Calories Kayaking Or Paddle Boarding?

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Other Health Benefits

Mental well-being

Engaging in kayaking or paddleboarding benefits our physical health and contributes to our mental well-being. Being out on the water, surrounded by nature, helps reduce stress levels and promotes relaxation. The rhythmic motion of paddling and the soothing sounds of the water can calm our minds, allowing us to disconnect from everyday stresses and find a sense of tranquility.

Stress relief

Both kayaking and paddleboarding provide an excellent outlet for stress relief. The combination of physical exertion, fresh air, and beautiful surroundings can help us release tension and escape the demands of daily life. The peacefulness of gliding through the water and the absence of distractions allow us to fully immerse ourselves in the activity, resulting in a clear mind and rejuvenated spirit.

Improved overall fitness

Beyond the physical benefits, kayaking and paddleboarding improve overall fitness. Regular participation in these activities can increase muscular strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. The engagement of multiple muscle groups and the need for balance and coordination enhance our physical capabilities, making us fitter and more capable in various aspects of our lives.

Considerations Before Starting

Safety precautions

Before embarking on kayaking or paddleboarding adventures, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Familiarize ourselves with safety guidelines, such as wearing appropriate personal flotation devices (PFDs) and understanding local waterway regulations.

Additionally, it’s important to acquire basic water safety skills, such as swimming, handling unexpected situations, and recognizing the signs of exhaustion or hypothermia. By prioritizing safety, we can fully enjoy the benefits of kayaking and paddleboarding.

Equipment and gear

Proper equipment and gear are essential for a comfortable and enjoyable kayaking or paddleboarding experience. Depending on the activity and environmental conditions, we may need a kayak, paddleboard, life jacket, appropriate clothing, and other accessories.

It’s important to choose equipment that suits our skill level, body type, and the type of water we intend to explore. Consult with knowledgeable professionals or experienced individuals to ensure we have the right equipment for our needs.

Choosing the right activity

When considering kayaking or paddleboarding, choosing the activity that suits our preferences and goals is essential. Kayaking offers a more enclosed and maneuverable experience, allowing us to navigate narrow waterways, explore intricate coastlines, and challenge ourselves in whitewater rapids.

On the other hand, paddleboarding provides a more open and stable platform, making it ideal for leisurely exploration, yoga on the water, or even riding ocean waves. Evaluating our interests, skill level, and desired experience will help us make an informed decision.

What Burns More Calories Kayaking Or Paddle Boarding?

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Combining Kayaking and Paddleboarding

Cross-training benefits

Combining kayaking and paddleboarding can provide cross-training benefits, allowing us to engage different muscle groups and challenge our bodies in new ways. By alternating between the two activities, we can avoid overuse injuries and achieve a more balanced overall workout routine. The rhythmic paddling of kayaking can complement the full-body engagement of paddleboarding, creating a well-rounded fitness regimen.

Variety in workouts

Incorporating kayaking and paddleboarding into our fitness routine adds diversity and excitement to our workouts. The ability to switch between the two activities based on our mood, weather conditions, or location keeps our workouts fresh and enjoyable. This variety helps prevent workout boredom and allows us to continually challenge ourselves in different ways, both physically and mentally.

Exploration opportunities

Kayaking and paddleboarding offer unique opportunities to explore and connect with nature. Whether gliding through calm lakes, winding rivers, or coastal shores, both activities allow us to access places that may be unavailable by other means.

While immersed in breathtaking scenery, adventure and exploration enhance the overall experience and encourage us to spend more time outdoors.


Kayaking and paddleboarding are fantastic activities providing numerous health and fitness benefits. From upper body and core strength to cardiovascular exercise, these water-based activities offer enjoyable workout options suitable for individuals of all fitness levels.

The number of calories burned during kayaking or paddleboarding depends on intensity, duration, and individual characteristics.

Regardless of which activity we choose, kayaking and paddleboarding can improve our overall fitness, promote mental well-being, and provide opportunities for exploration and relaxation.

So grab a paddle, hit the water, and start reaping the rewards of these fantastic outdoor pursuits!

What Burns More Calories Kayaking Or Paddle Boarding?

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Jake Walker
Hi, I'm Jake Walker, a passionate outdoor sports enthusiast and SUP Board expert. With years of experience in the field, I have gained extensive knowledge and expertise in all things related to SUP Boards. I am dedicated to providing valuable tips and advice to help fellow enthusiasts make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the right SUP Board gear. Throughout my journey in the SUP Board community, I have been recognized for my contributions and have received several prizes and rewards for my expertise. These accolades have further motivated me to continue sharing my knowledge and helping others navigate the exciting world of SUP Boarding. I believe in the transformative power of outdoor sports and how they can enhance our connection with nature. My writing philosophy revolves around inspiring individuals to embark on their own SUP Board adventures and embrace the thrill of exploring new waters. When it comes to my writing style, I strive to inject a personal touch into every piece I create. I want my readers to feel like they're having a conversation with a friend, providing them with relatable and practical advice that they can apply to their own SUP Boarding experiences. I am excited to be a part of SUPBoardGear.com, where I can engage with a community of like-minded individuals who share the same passion for SUP Boarding. Connect with me on this platform, and together, let's explore the world of SUP Boarding and make unforgettable memories on the water. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance in choosing the perfect SUP Board gear for your next adventure. Let's embark on this incredible journey together!