Calories Burned Kayaking

Are you looking for a fun activity that burns calories efficiently? You may want to consider kayaking.

This sounds strange because when you think about weight loss, your mind goes to the gym. Or some other intense exercises. But going by the number of calories burned kayaking, it can be a great way to lose weight.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Key Takeaways

  • Kayaking is a fun activity that can burn calories efficiently, depending on the weight, and effort of the paddler.
  • For instance, a 120-pound paddler can burn 286 calories and a 300-pound paddler can burn 716 calories with an hour of moderate kayaking.
  • Kayaking has more benefits than just weight loss, such as improving mental health, heart health, and muscle strength.
  • It requires some initial investment in equipment, but it does not have recurring costs like gym memberships or subscriptions.
  • Kayaking can be made more effective for weight loss by joining a community, increasing the distance and difficulty, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Kayak Calorie Calculator

Research from Harvard Health Publications and the American Council on Exercise shows that kayaking is an effective way to lose weight.

So, how many calories does kayaking burn?

Based on data from Captain Calculator:

Moderate kayaking for one hour

  • a 120-pound paddler burns 286 calories
  • a 300-pound paddler burns 716 calories

Vigourous kayaking for one hour

  • a 120-pound kayaker burns 716 calories
  • a 300-pound kayaker burns 1790 calories

Unbelievable, right?

Let’s compare this to some other activities:

The 120-pound person would burn 200 calories per hour walking leisurely and 286 calories running at 4 mph.

The 300-pound person would burn 501 calories per hour walking leisurely and 716 running at 4 mph.  

So you are better off kayaking than walking if you are trying to shed off a few pounds.

What Burns More Calories: Kayaking or Paddle Boarding?

These are two awesome sports, no question. But which one burns more calories? The people want to know.

If you weigh 150 pounds, you will burn about 430 calories in an hour of standup paddleboarding. With the same moderate effort, a 150-pound person would burn 358 calories in an hour of kayaking.

So SUP is slightly more effective for burning calories. The good thing is that if you prefer kayaking, you can increase your effort and burn double the number of calories.

What Makes Kayaking a Great Weight Loss Activity?

1) Kayaking is not intense. Anyone, regardless of age, can do it. Running is a weight-bearing exercise and it can be strenuous. It may not be ideal for people of a certain age or those with underlying conditions.  This goes for most physical exercises too. While kayaking may take a lot of effort, it is gentle on your body.

2) Kayaking is exciting. You can’t say the same about going to the gym. Would you rather be stuck inside four walls or go out in your kayak and enjoy nature? Definitely kayaking, right? Besides, there’s a lot you can do on your boat— kayak fishing, touring, whitewater kayaking, etc. You can never have a boring day.

3) Kayaking has fantastic health benefits. It is not just good for burning calories. It will improve your life in other ways too. Exercise done in nature, such as kayaking, boosts your self-esteem and makes you happier. And vitamin D levels help with depressive symptoms.

Furthermore, paddling facilitates the production of feel-good hormones and reduces stress hormone levels. This is why you feel happier after a day out in the water.

In addition to mental health, kayaking works most of the muscles in your body. It also makes your heart healthier.

4) Kayaking is not too expensive. Initially, buying a kayak, kayak PFD and a kayak paddle won’t be cheap. You may have to buy extra accessories from time to time, but they are optional. However, you don’t have to pay a subscription fee or anything like that.

How to Burn More Calories with Kayaking

a. Join a Kayaking Community

We know that paddling solo is a peaceful and calming experience. There are times when you just want to be alone and clear your mind. But being with other kayakers motivates and challenges you. They’ll help you do more each time.  

A kayaking community is also useful if you struggle with consistency. Life can be crazy sometimes. So you will benefit from having paddler friends who remind you to take a break and get on your kayak.

b. Paddle Farther

You can easily get used to paddling the same distance every day—especially if you don’t have much free time. After a while, that distance won’t be difficult enough for your body.

Make sure you increase your paddling distance every once in a while and try to paddle in the same amount of time. You will use more effort and burn more calories.

Note: don’t get carried away. In as much as you want to cover more distance, you should still have enough energy to get you back to shore. Avoid overdoing it.

c. Make It More Challenging

No one is telling you to start paddling Class V rapids or waterfalls. That should be left to people with the appropriate skills.

However, if you are always kayaking in the same calm lake, it will soon get too easy.

Find something a little more difficult.

The good thing about kayakers is that they are adventurous. So this won’t be hard to do.

Join your kayaker friends on their adventures, participate in races, make sure you are doing more.

Remember, the harder you paddle, the more calories you burn.

d. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle 

You won’t see much of a difference if after every kayaking trip you go home and order a large pizza all for yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with having cheat days here and there. But you need to incorporate healthy habits into your life.

And this doesn’t just apply to food. Drink less alcohol and more water. Meditate regularly and do things mindfully to curb stress. Additionally, get enough sleep and try to move more every day. All these things will help you get closer to your goal.


Many people underestimate kayaking. But you can burn 300+ calories in an hour even when paddling leisurely. The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn and the more you lose weight. It is a fun, gentle exercise that is right for people of all ages. And you can always spice it up with friends. Remember to adopt a healthy lifestyle in general for maximum results.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask us below. Happy kayaking!

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