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Welcoming the New Year with Kayaking as Self-Care

Improve your physical and emotional well-being with kayaking as part of your routine.

Written By: Pamela Hennessy

As a new year rolls in, many of us make resolutions and one of the most important resolutions we can make is to better care for ourselves. Self-care is defined as an activity we do deliberately in order to take care of our physical and emotional health. It can include things like eating well, getting plenty of rest or making time for recreational activities.

It’s not a selfish act to want to take care of ourselves as doing so can put us in a better place to care for others around us.

If you’re a kayaker, you already know the benefits of paddling for recreation and exercise. But, kayaking can also be an excellent opportunity to unplug, unwind and find our centers. Adding it to a new routine of self-care can produce numerous benefits that linger throughout the work week, or even during times that are stressful.

Alone Time is Quality Time
It’s not odd to want to head out on your own. Paddling solo can allow you to focus on your own pace and take in the nature that surrounds you. Paddling solo can also give you time to work on your technique and really enjoy a more personal experience with the water.

Image: Celeste Moure

Exercise Does a Body Good
Depending on your pace, paddling can be light exercise or a great workout. Many studies have linked a consistent exercise routine with improved productivity and focus. So, regular exercise packs more than the obvious benefits of helping you stay in shape. It’s only natural that we crave activity and kayaking is the perfect diversion for reducing stress and improving your overall mood.

The Benefit of Sunshine
The more time you spend outdoors, the more absorption of vitamin D you’ll enjoy. Vitamin D has recently been linked to improved bone health and has long been considered a helpful therapy for improving mood. Researchers also believe that getting out in the sun can promote healthier sleep patterns by helping regulate the body’s levels of serotonin and melatonin. Having proper sun protection is always an important part of any kayak outing. But, enjoying those rays should definitely be a part of your self-care routine.

Plan More Trips
Even if staying close to home, planning time out on the water can be a boost to your physical and emotional well-being. If possible, a few hours a week in your kayak can give you the time you need to recharge your batteries, and to give you a heightened sense of calm. You needn’t venture too far from home to enjoy the benefits of more regularly-scheduled outings. Find a local body of water that is easily accessible and make it part of your regular routine.

Including Your Best Friend
It’s long been believed that our pets are natural stress-reducers and may even help to extend our life expectancies. If your dog is water-ready, kayaking with him aboard is just the ticket for happiness. Ensuring he is safe and comfortable, having your dog with you gives you time to enjoy closeness with your pet and experience a fun trip together.

Image: Jenna Faria

It’s Okay to be Lazy
Sometimes, just the sound of the water is enough to bring us back to center. Kayaking is truly the activity you make your own. So, lazily going with the flow may not be the most strenuous workout. But, you can still enjoy the many benefits of your paddling experience while you take the time to reconnect with nature. The important thing is to get out, when and where you can.

Header Image: Kaylin Bolt