COLUMN: Paddling is one of the best ways to enjoy CNY — here’s why

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The cool water pools around your ankles as you put your lightweight kayak into the river for a foggy sunrise paddle.

The hot sun burns off the mist and glimmers off the water as it rises through the trees. The paddle’s rhythmic motion soothes the senses. The mind is calm, the body is moving. There is nothing like being on the water.

Luckily, people have plenty of choices for how they get out in nature. There are canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards for every level from beginner to expert. It does not matter what vessel one chooses to use. Spending time on the water is what matters.

Condition

The physical benefits of paddling a canoe, kayak, or paddle board are astounding. These sports require a lot of muscle motion. Submerging a paddle in the water and executing an efficient stroke incorporates every muscle in the upper body. Paddling must be repeated over and over, so there are a lot of reps involved. The core engages for stability and balance, too. Standing on a paddle board will give the entire body a good workout.

Beyond muscles, there are cardiovascular benefits, too. Navigating a vessel through the waters will get the heart pumping.

There is also the huge benefit of Vitamin D. Spending time under the sun gives the body a chance to absorb some of the sunshine vitamin. This is important because Vitamin D is one of the hardest vitamins to absorb through food intake. Exposure to natural light boosts serotonin, too, which provides a mood boost.

Camaraderie

Canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding are easily adapted into group activities. Grab some friends and hit the lake. The health benefits of exercise combined with the social benefits of spending time with companions is a supercharge to wellness.

Spending time together while doing an activity like canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding also creates space for people to catch up. It provides time to bond while taking the pressure off from sitting face to face. Plus, there is the shared experience of witnessing nature’s beauty.

Connection

Connection to nature is good for humans. The health benefits of kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding are not just physical.

A study conducted by Women in Adventure focused on 11 popular outdoor sports, including hiking, cycling, running, backcountry camping, swimming, climbing, kayaking, mountaineering, canoeing, skiing and surfing.

A whopping 90 percent of participants reported positive effects on mental health, but specifically, kayaking and canoeing had the most impact.

There are all these reasons and more why folks need a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddle board in their lives.

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