As per American Council on Exercise, a 180 lbs person can burn about 408 calories per hour kayaking at a moderate speed. Harvard Medical School too states that kayaking can help a 185 lbs person burn 420 calories an hour. The number of calories burned doing kayaking, however, can vary depending on many factors such as your weight, the intensity at which you are doing the activity, gender, and body composition. Use our calories burned kayaking calculator to find out what you can expect from your water sports session. Keep reading to learn about the formula that we have used in our calories burned kayaking calculator, why it is more accurate than mere calorie calculators, and how you can burn more calories during your water sports session.
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The formula used in our calories burned kayaking calculator
Our calculator uses one of the most tested and tried formulas for determining the calories burned during kayaking. The formula is based on the MET value of kayaking, which could be between 5 to 12.5, depending on the intensity.
Here is the formula for calculating calories burned kayaking-
Calories burned per minute = (body weight in kg x MET x 3.5) / 200
MET value of kayaking
MET stands for Metabolic Equivalent of a Task. It represents the active metabolic rate of a certain activity i.e. how intense it is. The lowest MET value is 1 and is used to represent sleeping or sitting ideally (doing nothing). Standing has a MET value of 1.5. Walking requires you to spend more energy and, therefore, has a MET of 3 to 5, depending on your speed. This means, walking helps you burn 3 to 5 times more calories than sitting ideal or sleeping does. Similarly, running at a low pace has a MET value of 9, which means running can help you burn 9 times more energy than sitting or sleeping.
📖 Related Article: If you love to track your calories or are on a fitness plan that requires you to do so, you may be using FitBit. Before trusting it blindly, you should read our detailed guide on How Accurate is Fitbit’s Calories Burned Metric.
As I said above, kayaking can have a MET value of 5 to 12.5, depending on the intensity and the stream you are taking. Upstream is more challenging so has a higher MET value even if the speed remains the same.
Using the above calories burned kayaking formula, a 180 lbs person can burn-
(81.6 X 5 X 3.5) / 200 = 7.14 calories per minute or 428 calories per hour.
If he is going upstream or kayaking at a high pace for competitions, etc. he can burn-
(81.6 X 10 X 3.5) / 200 = 14.28 calories per minute or 856 calories per hour or more if the speed is pretty high.
How accurate is our calories burned kayaking calculator?
As I said above, this is one of the most commonly used formulas. It is based on the MET value of an activity, so there is no guesswork. I agree that you may not know the exact MET of your kayaking session. Don’t worry, just select the best option from the dropdown menu, and our calories burned kayaking calculator will automatically select the most relevant one.
Please note that our calories burned kayaking calculator can only provide you with a rough estimate. The exact number may vary depending on multiple factors such as your age, gender, body composition, the time you reduce or increase your speed, etc. Unfortunately, there is no scientific formula developed so far that can consider these factors and we don’t want to misguide you using a formula based on assumption.
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What can you do to burn more calories kayaking?
Kayaking is already a high-intensity activity but there are still a few things you can do to challenge yourself more. I have listed them below but make sure you are not a beginner. You must be an already active person to follow these tips or else you might exhaust or injure yourself.
Learn the right technique
Correct technique can help you engage all the relevant muscle groups. It can help you prevent an injury and reduce the chances of fatigue. When you learn and use the correct technique, you will notice the difference. You will be able to stroke with more power and paddle for a longer duration, which can help you burn more calories.
Along with technique, you also need to improve your forearm strength and grip using products such as FitBeast Adjustable Resistance Hand Grip Strengthener Workout Kit.
Kayak with a group
When you are having fun with your friends or a group of people with similar interests, you will want to paddle more and more. You may lose track of time and may paddle for longer distances than you usually do. You may be willing to take up challenges. All these will help you burn more calories kayaking. Make sure you protect your eyes using good quality eyewear such as Bea·CooL Polarized Sports Sunglasses and INFI Fishing Polarized Sunglasses.
Kayak in more challenging water
Attempt upstream paddling only when you are a well-trained and active person. Upstream kayaking is extremely challenging because you will have to go against the flow of water. It is not meant for everyone but, if you can, upstream kayaking can help you much more calories than what our calories burned kayaking calculator suggests.
Similarly, you can try whitewater kayaking or you may simply paddle faster, the same way you move from jogging to running.
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Calories burned kayaking FAQs
Is kayaking better cardio or strength?
Kayaking is an excellent cardiovascular workout and can help you burn fat quickly. Even when you are paddling leisurely, you will see an increase in heart rate. You will start breathing faster, making your lungs do a good amount of work. Numerous studies have proven that kayaking regularly can help improve cardiovascular health, cognitive function, postural problems, and muscle performance.
Calories burned kayaking versus calories burned running- which is better?
Running can have a MET value of 7 to 23 depending on your speed. If you are running at 6 miles per hour, the MET value can be 10. But, if you are a beginner, you may not be able to run so fast. So, if we assume your speed to be about 4 miles per hour, the MET value will be 7. Kayaking can have a MET value of 5 to 12.5 depending on the intensity. If you are paddling moderately, the MET value could be 7 to 9.
This means running can help burn more calories per minute. But, please note that you can’t run for longer duration unless you are a highly active person with excellent cardio health. Kayaking on the other hand is less strenuous for the heart. Even if you are a beginner you can paddle for 30 to 45 minutes, burning overall more calories than running. Plus, kayaking is a full body workout, so overall calories burned kayaking and other benefits may be better than running.
Is kayaking good for you to burn fat?
Yes, it is! Kayaking is a full-body cardio workout that can help you burn calories faster and tone your muscles too. It is easier on joints than many other forms of cardio exercises. So, if you are having trouble with your knees, kayaking is a better option.
How Many Calories Are Burned Kayaking Per Mile?
Usually, you would take about 20 to 30 minutes to travel 1 mile. Using our calories burned kayaking calculator for an average U.S. adult, I conclude that you could burn about 130 to 180 calories kayaking per mile depending on various factors such as your speed, weight, etc.
Although it is a low-impact cardio workout, the number of calories burned kayaking is quite impressive. I highly recommend it to people who are trying to shed some extra weight. I hope this article and our calories burned kayaking calculator have provided you with all the necessary information. If you still have doubts, please email me or leave a comment.