Anna Wootton

Kayak for Fun Fitness

What did you all do last weekend?

My sister was here for a long weekend trip and because we are having phenomenal weather this September, we planned a weekend of water- and beach-based activities. This started with a whale watching boat trip on Saturday. This was SO much fun; it’s so amazing to see these creatures up close! We followed a mama Orca and her grown son (who was larger than her and led the pack) and her teenage son, who stuck pretty close by her side. Below are my best few photos but we were so much closer than photos will show. Yeah, I need a better zoom).

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Copyright to The Guiltless Life

Copyright to The Guiltless Life

Whale watching is also a total blast because you get to look really cool, just like us:

The sister and I, on the boat and ready to go:

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Sunday we headed to Jericho Beach in Vancouver (the site of my previous adventures in paddleboarding) and decided to do some kayaking. I was thinking about how we often do these activities just occasionally throughout the summer as something a bit different, but we really should change our mindset a bit from going paddleboarding or kayaking as a once or twice a year outing and consider doing them more regularly (as weather permits, of course) as part of our regular fitness routine.

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Here’s my view on fitness: find one or two things that you love and can do a few times a week without much complaint. For me that’s yoga, for others it’s hiking or something outdoors, like running or biking. Others prefer swimming or just going to the gym. Any of these are of course worthwhile activities – anything that doesn’t involve sitting on your butt counts (and hey, even cycling counts and you are sitting on your butt there…but you get what I mean!).

To me leading a fit and active lifestyle, however, is not about how many hours you logged at the gym that week, or making sure you completed your requisite 30 minutes of activity five days a week (or whatever the official government guidelines are right now). It’s about changing your mindset to see activity as part of your life. That means that when you want to do something fun you don’t just think of going for coffee or to the movies (both of which are always fun, of course) but also going for a walk with a friend, renting some bikes and going for a quick bike ride, heading to the river/lake/ocean and going kayaking or canoeing, going indoor rock climbing to do something a bit different, signing up for a dance class together…you get my drift.

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I’m not an outdoors person, really. Not unless the outdoors includes bright sunshine, a beach and lots of sand :). Just call it my upbringing, it’s not my fault! So I’m not a huge fan of going hiking every weekend or downhill biking (hey, the upside is that I can run in really hot and humid weather!). I can do these things once in a while but they’re not activities that call to me every week, particularly not in winter. It gets very wet in Vancouver in the winter and I’m not a big fan of being soaked to the skin in temperatures under 10 degrees C. That just means I choose either indoor-based activities or less intense outdoor activities. Pick what works for you and play around with it, have some fun!

If you are incorporating activity into your lifestyle to complement that ‘bread and butter’ fitness activity you are already doing a few times a week, you’ll be uber fit before you know it, and you won’t feel like you’re having to drag your butt to the gym every day and complain through a gruelling workout to get there. What’s better than that?

Anyway, I got off track. All I wanted to say is that kayaking is a whole ton of fun but also really great for your fitness levels, so give it a go!

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Here are some health and fitness benefits to kayaking:

– It tones several parts of the body, mainly the back, chest, arms and abs
– Being on the water is extremely calming and good for stress levels, so occasionally look around yourself and quit rowing and enjoy the view!
– This activity burns up to 400 calories an hour
– It’s easy to do. To race and do this professionally you want more training of course, but to get started it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Are you tempted yet? 🙂


1. What’s your favourite activity?
2. What’s your more regular fitness activity?
3. Are you outdoorsy or do you prefer indoor activities?