If you're too hot to run, bike, or hike outside, but you still want to enjoy the Summer weather, exercising on water is a great way to beat the heat. Kayaking is one of my favorite water sports because it's safe to do alone, or if you prefer some company, you can kayak with a group of people.
The paddling action will effectively tone your arms, back, and abs. Sitting upright will also increase flexibility in your hamstrings and improve your posture. It's a great complement if you're a runner or biker, since most of the work is done by your upper body and back. You can paddle hard to burn calories and work your muscles, and if you get tired, you can slow down or take a break and just let the current float you along. The best part is that if you get hot, you can jump in the water for instant refreshment.
To find out how to get started read more
I am fully obsessed with the Olympics these days, but no one grabs my attention more than an athlete who's overcome great odds to compete in Beijing.
Carrie Johnson, a California native, will represent Team USA in kayaking starting today. She's got her sights set on the gold, but also on staying healthy. Carrie was diagnosed with Crohns disease — an autoimmune condition in the digestive track that plagues folks with severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, and extreme fatigue — when she was only 19 years old (she is now 24). Along with learning how to deal with the disease in everyday life, she has also had to figure out how to deal with it while training. Many would have thrown in the towel a long time ago, but she uses the disease as motivation to push even harder.
I'll certainly be cheering her on this week as the women's heats start today, followed by the semifinals on Aug. 21, and the final on Aug. 23. Check NBC for times in your area.
If you've never tried kayaking, it's worth dipping your paddle into the water. Not only is kayaking an amazing upper body workout, but it's also great for increasing flexibility in your hamstrings and strengthening your core.
Plus if you get hot, you can always slip into the water to cool off. If you live by or are visiting a lake or river, rent a kayak and take a lesson. Just drifting along can be really relaxing, but if you want to make it more physically challenging, here are some tips:
- Do intervals. Paddle as hard as you can for one minute, then paddle at a medium pace for five minutes. Repeat for 30 minutes or as long as you can go.
- If you're in a river, paddle against the current.
- Paddle on one side for 30 seconds, then switch to the other side. You won't end up moving very far, but you'll really feel it in your arms and upper back.
- Paddle backwards — it works your muscles differently.
- While sitting in the kayak, lift your arms straight up and hold the paddle above your head for 30 seconds to one minute. Remember to draw your ribs and belly in to engage your core. You'll feel this in your arms, shoulders, upper back, and torso.
If you have your own tips for pumping up a workout on a kayak, share them below.
I am going kayaking in a few days and while I used to kayak a good amount a few years ago, I'm thinking it's time to brush up on my skills.
I'm excited for the great upper body workout, but I am nervous that I'm going to forget how to maneuver and paddle. After scouring the net (do people still say "the net"?), I came across The Beginner's Guide to Canoe & Kayak Paddling from AmericanCanoe.org. The guide is a great little resource for anyone looking to learn (or brush up your skills) on paddling. If you're about to embark on a canoe or kayaking trip, you should definitely check it out.
If you're like me, the summer weather draws you outside every chance you can get. When the powerful sun is blazing, you realize the importance of wearing sunscreen to protect your skin, and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Sunglasses can be really expensive, but they're totally worth it, especially if the lenses are polarized (I love the crystal clear vision). Since they are so small and lightweight, they can get easily lost, and then what good would they be for your eyes?
Keep track of your sunglasses with a Croakie. It's a strap that attaches to the ends of your glasses, so when you're not wearing them, you can just let them hang from your neck. The strap is made of neoprene so it's soft, flexible, comfortable, and dries quickly if it gets wet.
A Croakie is a necessity if you are always misplacing your sunglasses. It's also great if you do fast-paced outdoor sports like biking, or water sports like water skiing and kayaking (what a crime it would be if your expensive sunglasses fell off your face and into the water!). Check out the 4 different styles:
Summer is here and man is it hot out! The heat can dehydrate your body and drain your energy. This combined with feeling uncomfortably sticky and sweaty can make you want to skip the workout and head for your air-conditioned living room.
There are plenty of things you can do to work your body without overheating. Here are some ideas:
- Swim! If you hit the pool for 30 minutes, you can burn up to 270 calories.
- Take up a water sport like kayaking or water skiing. It works your upper body and if you get hot, you can just jump in.
- Take a bike ride. When the wind's blowing through your hair and over your body, it feels cooler than if you were going for a run.
- Don't do as much. If you are used to playing tennis for an hour, cut it down to 30 minutes or less.
- Workout in an air-conditioned gym.
- Keep ice water close by while you work out and drink as often as you feel you need to. If you are doing high intensity cardio, try to sip small amounts - drinking too much could give you a bellyache.
- Walk the mall. That's right. It's not hot in there so you can walk back and forth staying cool and totally entertained (don't you just love people watching and window shopping?).
Ahh, it's finally flip flop season. You could definitely spend $12 on a cheap pair of foam ones, but chances are your feet and back won't be too happy with you.
So you might want to spring for a more expensive, yet more supportive, long lasting pair of Chaco sandals. These shoes have a durable yet comfortable sole that was specially designed to support the arch of your foot and control pronation. This in turn, improves your posture and helps prevent lower back pain.
The straps on these sandals are completely adjustable, stabilizing your foot for the perfect fit. These super designed shoes bear the Seal of Acceptance from the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association). Not bad for a flip flop replacement.
The style ZX/2's are my favorite. They are so comfortable and cool as well supportive. The two narrow straps (instead of just one) create a better fit by conforming the sole to the curvature of your foot. They're great for sailing, canoing, kayaking, hiking through the woods and streams, or just about whatever you're into outdoors. You can get them from Rock Creek Outfitters for $94.95.
Chaco also makes more traditionally styled sandals and flip flops and if you want to see them just read more
Having an injury on your lower body can be a big bummer (no pun intended). A bad knee or twisted ankle can put a real damper in your cardio plans.
Fortunately there are ways to go around it, so here are some ideas for still getting a workout without putting too much pressure on your lower body:
- Swimming: Swimming is a great low impact activity and you can put a buoy in between your legs to make sure you use them to kick. It is also a good idea not to push off from the side of the pool with your legs at the start of each lap. Omitting the push-off will not only protect your knees, but you will have to swim more and therefore get a better workout. Plus, I've already laid out some great swimming programs for you.
- Upper Body Ergometer: It's a piece of equipment that some gyms have that looks kind of like pedals for your hands (pictured on right). Try doing 30 minutes alternating pedaling forward and backward every few minutes.
- Upper Body Strength Training: You can always do upper body training which is a great way to develop lean muscles.
- Kayaking: If you're near a place to do it, kayaking (and canoing) are great upper body workouts that are easy on the lower body. Kirsten Dunst gets a good workout from kayaking and I don't think she has bad knees.
- Rowing: This would be a great way to build up your lower body after an injury (or a good stepping stone to high impact activities). Almost every gym has a rowing machine and they're usually open, so try it out.
- Elliptical: Once you get the OK from your doc, the elliptical is a relatively low impact form of exercise (compared to running) so it would be a good option for building back muscle strength.
Fit's Tip: Before starting any exercise plan with an injury, it is wise to check with your doctor first.
Kirsten Dunst has recently been spotted in Maui relaxing and getting toned with some fun kayaking.
If you're lucky enough to be vacationing some place warm enough to spend some time on the water like Kirsten, then you should definitely consider kayaking. Don't be intimidated by kayaking I know there is the roll over factor, but in reality kayaking can be a very relaxing and toning experience. To learn why and to see more pics of Kirsten kayaking in Maui, read more