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Guest Blog: Kayaking: My Summer Fitness Activity


Blogger Biography: Cheryle is a 10-year military spouse who has lived away from her husband longer than they’ve been under the same roof. Now that they are transitioning into the retirement stage, a whole new adventure has begun. There will soon be more time to spend at the lake, with their three children and their first grandchild. Retirement doesn’t mean you leave the military family behind because once you are a part of the military family, you are always family. Her husband’s military civilian job will keep them close to the family long after retirement.

I don’t know about you, but I hate the dreaded “E” word. Exercise. Thankfully, when summertime arrives, I have a great way to disguise that ugly E word with a fun activity. Kayaking! This outdoor fitness routine is the perfect way to strengthen my core muscles while enjoying peaceful moments that help alleviate my workday stress.

As a beginner in kayaking, I needed to research the different styles available, and then head out to the sporting goods store to “try on” a few until I found the perfect fit. Then I needed to learn proper paddling technique and how to steer, stop and turn the kayak with ease. When choosing the right kayak, you’ll find that each brand has different features, and knowing which features are important to you will help in making your decision. To me, the most important features were how comfortable the seat was for my back and having an airtight compartment for my camera (and yes, maybe I wanted a pretty color too!).

A man fishing and kayaking
You can choose a style where you sit on top or sit down inside the kayak. I was informed the “sit on top” style allows the water to splash inside the kayak. Since I do not find anything appealing about sitting in water while I exercise, I chose the sit inside version. Plus, this style keeps me further away from all the creatures of the sea!

Even though I chose the sit inside kayak to keep the water out, it failed to stop little creatures from coming along for a ride. Picture this. When I finally had enough confidence to venture out on the lake by myself, I looked down to see a spider crawl between my legs. Now if you read my previous blog, it revealed how much I enjoy spiders, so you can imagine how hard it was for me to remain calm, keep the kayak from tipping and paddle as fast as I could back home. My first instinct was to stand up and jump out. Trust me, that is NOT the best option when you are in the middle of a lake. So there I was, saying a few choice words and staring at the huge marshy area that stood in the way of reaching our dock and safely escaping this predicament. I did NOT want to stay in that kayak one second longer than necessary, so I attempted a shortcut through the marsh. The kayak momentarily lodged on a tree trunk, but my panic-filled momentum got me into the clear and on my way home. Whew! I made it safely, never knowing where that spider ended up. Well, that is one way to get your blood pumping. Now, before I paddle away, my kayak is hosed down thoroughly.

A kayaking photo and a photo of autumnal trees

Kayaking is great exercise and fun for the whole family. My son invites his friends for a day of fun in the sun as they paddle from one lake to the next. My husband and I love to fish from our kayaks and explore any hidden path we find along the way. I will even stop long enough to take a picture of a swan or the leaves’ fall colors as they change for the season. On our lake, there are plenty of birds to watch, fish to catch and paths that will lead you on an adventure. Isn’t it great to know that all of this fun is magically beneficial to your mental and physical health? Now that is medicine I do not mind taking.

So there is no need to continue dreading that “E” word when you can disguise it with some fun. Despite the unforgettable eight-legged invasion, each of my kayak fitness rides ends with me feeling invigorated by the aerobic workout and the breath-taking views.

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