What makes canoeing so healthy?

Written by

Lian van Doorn

Reading time 3 minutes

An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Forget about those apples! We think canoeing is what keeps the doctor away! Not because you’re surrounded by water, in a place your GP can’t possibly reach, but simply because canoeing is a great way to boost your health. Not convinced? Here are 5 key benefits...

There are many places suited to canoeing, from a large lake to a ditch surrounded by polders or reed belts. Wherever you go, canoeing is super healthy! So climb into that canoe and give your health a good boost!

1. Canoeing is full body training

Put the paddle in the water and start paddling. Do you feel it? You’re literally training every muscle in your upper body. And don’t be fooled: it may seem like you’re using your arms only, but in reality, you’re training your entire body. Hardcore paddling is even a full-body workout. You end up training muscles you didn’t even know you had! In the evening, when looking at yourself in the mirror, you’ll be amazed to see those toned leg and back muscles. And the fun part is: there’s no need to go to a boring gym, where you’re trapped between four walls and you’re forced to listen to deafening music. Nope, you’re outside, on the water, with friends, family or even on your own, surrounded by nature.

2. Canoeing reduces stress

Nature, the outside air... No need to list all the benefits of that right? Whenever you take a little break, you hear water birds chirping, you see the reflection of the sunlight on the water and you hear the water bobbing on the side of the canoe. Enough to put you into a trance, or almost... Once you get back into action, you have to fight the wind or let it slowly carry you along. The water has a calming effect on your brain and can help reduce your stress levels. Not to mention canoeing can also be very relaxing for children.

3. Canoeing helps you clear your mind

“This weekend I’m not planning anything. I’m staying home and relaxing.” Chances are your weekend will entail having lunch at a new restaurant with your partner, reorganising your house from top to bottom, and still having household chores to do. To really clear your mind, you sometimes need to ‘switch off’ from your everyday responsibilities for a bit. Today, it’s time to recharge your batteries! There are many ways to do that, and canoeing is one of them! After all, what’s more idyllic than steering your canoe along reed belts, old mills and water lilies? Pure bliss… Just focus on the water and the tranquillity around you. Glide across the water surface and be thankful you didn’t stay home to do the washing or to organise your paperwork.

4. Canoeing brings you in touch with nature

The Netherlands is a paradise for canoeists. Why? The country is home to quiet, picturesque lakes and camping spots along the kilometres and kilometres of canoeing routes, all in the peaceful countryside. Canoeing brings you closer to nature than hiking or cycling. Water birds are generally less shy around people on the water. That’s why hikers and cyclists spot them only rarely. Canoeing is also the perfect opportunity to meet happy people (after all, canoeing is guaranteed to make you smile!) and it allows you to see villages from a different perspective.

Lian van Doorn

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Een tikje wild

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