Kayaking for better mobility.

The leasiure activity of kayaking is a largely  growing sport and has only increased over the past decade. Not only is the sport super fun, it is a great work out as well. No matter the body of water you choose to paddle, there is no doubt that you can enjoy the sport or pastime at any age, and fitness level. That being said, how is it that someone with no kayaking or fitness experience could benefit from kayaking?



In further investigating a recent research study supported the general idea that kayaking could improve body mobility and was slightly more  beneficial than so regular exercise. The study was conducted on very specific patients, that being they all suffered from parkinsons disease. The study was a single blind, quasi experiment. It study took place at the Institute of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. The patients age ranged from 35-65 had as well as ranging from stage 1-3 Parkinson’s disease. The participants were ask to perform a set of tests in the water, and this went on for a 4 week time period, similar to physical therapy. The main factor measured was ROA or range of motion in the axial spinal cord.

Study Limitation and hypothesis were both an issue since the conductor of the therapy had knowledge about the study, possibly skuing the data results. There is also the variable that participants are on different medications, which could account for mobility range. In other words, better drugs can cause better range of motion. Finally severity of mobility could effect their results, as well as stage of disease. Needless to say the hypothesis was supported by the findings.


photo credit

The journal of sports medicine found similar results when testing for overall fitness levels associated with kayaking. Though the study focused on overall metabolic intake, the participants tested had similar tasks they needed to perform in order to get the results they were studying. Unfortunately this was not replicating the Parkinson’s study so the results were not 100% conclusive. Another study featured in the Huffington post has similar correlations as well, but that does not mean that it is directly causal. Since these studies all shared common theories, the evidence could suggest that kayaking is a better work out for you than the common typical therapy but it could be due to chance.

The Results could have been false positive, there’s that 5% chance that might not have been accounted for, even if the study was done well. The conclusion states that though the results were correlating with the hypothesis, that further research would be required to confirm any findings.



photo credit

So given that, the findings represent that something is infact going on physically that could impact the body in a more beneficial way than the typical therapy, but there is still more research that needs done to confirm accurate findings. In the mean time,


2 thoughts on “Kayaking for better mobility.

  1. Sarah Elizabeth Read

    I love kayaking! I don’t have my own kayak, but it’s something that I will absolutely go out to do whenever I have the chance. Something that I found when I was learning to kayak is that it builds confidence like no other recreational activity I’ve ever done. I’m sure you’ve seen or had to do a wet exit out of a kayak. This was one of the most nerve-wrecking things I’ve ever had to do in a sport. Once I did it once though, I had a whole new sense of confidence build up. Here’s a link that talks about how to build even more confidence in a kayak and on the water. Who knew that a sport could have so many psychological benefits?! http://paddlepursuits.com/river-kayaking-tips/

  2. Devon Green

    This post was a really interesting read. Using types of exercise like kayaking for patients who suffer from illnesses can be very beneficial and I think is a unique and innovative way to help the patients with their illness. I have kayaked before and can attest that you don’t need practice to be able to pick up on how to do it, its a relatively easy hobby to learn and can be very fun and relaxing. Check out this article about water therapy I think it’s really a good read and related to your post. http://www.novacare.com/services/specialty-services/aquatic-therapy/

Leave a Reply