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  • Writer's pictureJustin Pahnturat

A Quick Guide to Wellness for Kayakers

Updated: Apr 23

Good Fitness is Essential to Feeling Good in Your Kayak

I'm just going to come right out and say it: Great rewards come from hard work and doing things that we do not want to do. I know, I know... no one like to do things that are NOT fun but I promise that the effort is worth it. I mean, once you consider what's at stake, I think it's pretty clear that it's hard to enjoy life or kayaking without good health.

A recent study shows that there's an are of the human brain associated with great health and longevity that grows when a person does something difficult that they don't want to do. On those days that you don't want to exercise just think about how good you will feel on water with energy and comfort.

The Foundation for Good Health

Here's the overall plan for great kayak fitness, as you can see it's really a set of guidelines. This is the workout & daily life plan I follow that gives me amazing health and energy and keeps me injury-free and kayaking all year long!

  1. Stretching takes just 10 minutes a day. Do it everyday. Seriously. It will change your life like it has for mine.

  2. Lift weights. You don't need to become a bodybuilder but resistance training is for everyone and all ages, especially good for aging men. We need specific exercises for muscle and hormone production to keep us healthy.

  3. Hydrate. Sounds easy but most people do not consume enough water daily. Keep a dry erase board on the fridge to record your number of glasses of water in day. You may be surprised.

  4. Sleep. Most important, not easy for all but should be on a regular schedule.

  5. Avoid bad habits like sugar, alcohol, tobacco, soft drinks, fast food, ice cream. I know, I know, I'm a horrible person for saying all this. Again, not easy but the results are worth it.

  6. Sunlight in the eyes for 5-10 minutes within first hour of waking. I go for a water check or walk as soon as I wake up. Even if no sun, get outside as soon as you can after getting up.

  7. Hold off on coffee, caffiene, energy drinks and screens (Smartphones, TV's, Computers) for the first 60-90 minutes of waking up. Water first hour.

  8. Cold water shower or ice bath for 3 minutes. Guaranteed to eliminate depression and center mood. To be very honest, it sucks, it hurts but the results are astounding. Not just a fad and really great conditioning for enduring the sea kayaking elements.

  9. Fasting just 3 mornings per week, eat natural whole foods rest of time, no fats before noon.

Easy Formula for Healthy Living

Super simple: Move a lot, stay active, spend time in nature, learn new things, challenge yourself often, eliminate unnecessary stress and be present. And kayak a lot.

I wouldn't say its a complex formula but the challenge is pulling all this off in your daily rush of modern life. Stay true to your self-care and listen to your body. Taking good care of it now will prevent issues down the road.

Most important: Be dedicated!

Here's my workout routine I do 2-3 times per week for no longer than 1 hour each session. I stretch everyday for 15-20minutes. If you are ever sore or feeling pain then you must rest until that soreness and pain is gone, ice speeds recovery.

Kayak Guide Justin's Workout Routine


15-30 minutes


3-5x sets, AMRAP, long rest between sets

Overhead Press w/ barbell

3x sets, 6-8 reps

Barbell Rowing

3x sets, 6-8 reps


3-4 sets to reach 50

Bench Press

3x sets of 5-8 reps

Incline bench dumbell chest press

3x sets, 6-8 reps


3x sets, 6-8 reps


1 set of 5

Knee Raises/leg lifts/crunches

5 sets throughout workout


3 sets

Rowing Machine or Bike machine


Optional: Swimming laps

practice under water breath control and endurance


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