The US is blessed with many natural waterways that can be enjoyed through a number of pastimes. Nearly 58 million people in the states participated in hiking in the great outdoors in 2020. There are also millions of anglers across the US, and there is a renewed interest in this sport since Covid. And, there are tens of millions of individuals of all ages enjoying various water sports today.
When you consider that the US has 250,000 rivers and about 95,471 miles of coastline, it is perhaps not so surprising that so many inhabitants would choose to spend leisure time on or in the water. The EPA assessed over 111,000 lakes in the US, and established that 52% of them are natural bodies of water, and 48% are man-made such as reservoirs.
Impressively, there are 250 lakes that have a surface area of 10 sq mi or more. So, with all this water to be freely used, doesn’t it make sense to involve water sports in a fitness regime?
What are the best water sports to increase fitness?
Water sports are numerous and varied, but some will increase your fitness levels more than others. By and large, though, all of them will help you get fitter to some degree, even jet skiing helps with cardio.
The enthusiasts over at Watersports Whiz recommend the following activities for anyone wanting to mix up a fitness program with some time on the water.
Facts about water sports
Here are some facts about water sports that you might not have known:
Swimming is one of the most popular sports in the world.
Swimmers have been competing for over 2,000 years! The first Olympic Games included swimming competitions in 776 BC.
The word “kayak” comes from the Inuit word “qayaq.”
These people used to make boats out of animal skins, over which they would tie sticks or bones to hold them together.
Canoeing was first played in North America by Native Americans.
They used it to travel long distances through shallow streams and rivers quickly. They would paddle with one hand while guiding their canoe with a pole or paddle through rapids or shallow waters.
Surfing has been around since ancient times.
Polynesian hunters rode the waves on boards made from wood and animal skins. They used these boards as transportation between islands because they were much faster than paddling across the open ocean in canoes!
Water Sports Are Safe
Water sports are one of the safest activities on the planet. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Injuries Report, water sports rank as one of the safest sports in the world, with less than 1% of participants suffering injuries requiring medical attention.
Water sports can be fun for everyone.
Water sports are suitable for people of all ages, shapes, and sizes-from kids to grandparents! You don’t have to be a great swimmer to enjoy water sports, as most classes include an instructor who will help you learn how to do everything safely.
Water sports can reduce stress.
Swimming is an excellent way to reduce stress by exercising your body while calming your mind at the same time. The rhythmic movement of swimming helps you relax while simultaneously increasing your cardiovascular fitness, two important things if you want to live a longer and healthier life!
Swimming and water sports are fun ways to stay fit.
Swimming and water sports are fun ways to stay fit. It is an excellent activity for all ages, especially those who dislike jogging on land. It can be done almost anywhere, and the water provides resistance for an effective workout.
Water sports are another great option for staying fit through physical activity. Activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding provide calorie-burning opportunities and an enjoyable natural experience.
However, if you choose to get fit through water sports, always remember safety first! If your child is learning how to swim while learning these new activities, then make sure there are no obstacles near where they would be swimming in case of an accident or misstep while learning this new skill set (especially if they go under).
Warm up before you start.
It’s essential to warm up your body before you start any water sports. This helps prevent injuries and reduces the risk of pulling a muscle or getting cramps.
If you’re swimming laps in a pool, gradually increase your heart rate by jogging around the pool’s perimeter before jumping in. If you’re planning on surfing or paddleboarding on a beach, warm up with some stretches or gentle yoga moves to prepare yourself for the movement required by these sports. For example,
- Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart and bend forward at your hips until your hands touch your feet (or as close as possible). Then return to a standing position and repeat five times.
- Stand with your feet together and hold onto something stable like a tree or wall for balance if necessary—don’t let go until instructed otherwise! Bend both knees outwards while keeping them slightly bent at all times during this exercise; then return them into place after holding them out for several seconds at a time—three sets total should do it!
Learn good techniques.
To begin with, it’s essential to learn good techniques. While you can learn some of the basics on your own, it is highly recommended that you seek a professional coach to help guide you through the process.
If possible, seek out lessons at a local pool or aquatic center instead of diving into open water swimming. This will allow you to get used to breathing and moving in the water before taking on any additional challenges. During these lessons, take note of what techniques work best for your body type and personality so that when you’re ready for more advanced classes, they’ll be much easier than if they were completely foreign concepts.
Ways to Get Fit With Water Sports
Water sports are fun and exciting and burn calories and tone muscles in ways that land-based exercises can’t match. Whether you want to build strength or improve your fitness level overall, here are seven water sports that you should try:
Start with swimming.
If you’re not a swimmer and want to get in shape, it might be a good idea to start with swimming. Swimming is a low-impact exercise that works your whole body, making it an ideal choice for people who want to stay fit but have joint or back issues. The water’s resistance gives you a full-body workout, and since swimming is non-weight-bearing, it puts less pressure on your joints than land exercises. You can also use swimming as an opportunity to relax and unwind; studies show that being in water reduces stress levels by 68%!
You can swim in your neighborhood pool or home by taking a paddleboard out on the lake. It’s just as effective as any other type of activity when it comes to getting fit!
Surfing is a no-brainer.
Surfing is a low-impact sport, which is excellent for your joints and back. Many water sports have the potential to damage your body if you aren’t careful. With surfing, however, you’re fully in control of how much you push yourself, allowing you to avoid overuse injuries and soreness.
Surfing also works out your core muscles—the muscles that stabilize and align the spine—because they support your movements and help keep your torso upright when moving from side to side or forward and backward on the board. This can be a massive benefit since these muscles are also responsible for helping maintain posture while standing up straight or walking around daily.
Finally, surfing helps improve balance because it requires being able to shift weight quickly between each foot while standing on top of an unstable surface (the board). This training improves coordination while teaching riders how best to use their limbs at various times during practice sessions.
Windsurfing is one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities in the world. It’s also one of the most accessible types of sailing because it doesn’t require special equipment — just a board and a sail.
To start windsurfing, head to your local lake or beach during low tide when there isn’t much wind blowing. Practice standing up on your board without falling into the water by placing one foot in the middle and leaning forward with both hands planted on either side of that foot. Once you feel like you’ve got this down, try standing up on both feet while holding onto something solid, like a railing or wall, if possible, so that if you do fall off, your hands will be free to prevent injury!
Once you feel comfortable standing up, try making small jumps over waves or other objects.
Canoeing is a great way to get fit. It’s a low-impact sport, so it won’t beat you up as much as running or cycling. It also lets you enjoy nature at the same time! Canoeing is an excellent activity for all ages and abilities—it can be done solo or with a partner, on flat water or white-water rapids. In case you have extra time before your next camping trip, check out our guide on building your canoe for this adventure-ready when summer rolls around again!
If you like to paddle, try kayaking or paddleboarding.
If you like to paddle, try kayaking or paddleboarding. Both activities are great ways to get in shape and help improve your cardiovascular fitness. Kayaking is a full-body workout that targets all muscles—from your core, arms, and shoulders to your legs—and helps strengthen your balance. Paddleboarding uses the same principles as kayaking but is less strenuous on the body, which makes it an ideal activity for older people (or anyone with back problems).
Both activities involve sitting on a board while paddling with one hand or both hands at once. The position allows for more movement than if someone were standing up straight; this means more muscle groups are being recruited during each stroke of the paddle (or “blade”).
Stand-up paddle boarding
Stand-up paddle boarding is a great way to get fit and have fun at the same time.
Paddle boarding is one of the fastest-growing water sports in Australia. There are many paddle boards, but the most common are inflatable and hard boards. Inflatable boards can be deflated and stored away or taken on holiday with you, while hard boards are more durable but are heavier and harder to transport.
SUP offers an effective full-body workout as you use your core stabilizer muscles to maintain balance while paddling and performing various strokes. The more advanced moves, such as surfing, allow you to build up your fitness even further by increasing your heart rate through cardio exercise!
Diving is a great way to stay fit, get your heart racing, and improve your flexibility. Divers use their core strength to pull themselves up from the bottom of the pool, so it’s also a great way to tone your abs.
There’s something incredibly relaxing about floating in a pool or ocean with nothing but your regulator in your mouth and the sound of bubbles around you. Diving can be as simple as jumping off a diving board into a pool or as complicated as exploring shipwrecks hundreds of feet below the surface.
Water polo is a team sport in which two teams of seven players try to score goals by throwing the ball into the opposing team’s goal. It’s played in a pool and can be played on land, but it’s more fun in the water.
Water polo is perfect for anyone who wants to get fit! It’s a great workout because you constantly run, jump, and dive into the water. You might even get wet! The best part is that there’s no limit to how much exercise you want to do; if you want to play for hours at a time, go for it!
The game can seem complicated at first, but once you learn how to play correctly—and have enough practice—you’ll quickly find yourself having fun while getting fit!
White water rafting
White water rafting is the perfect choice for those who want to get fit while having fun. You can choose a river that’s near you or one that may be further away—and it will all be worth it because there are so many different ways to get involved in this sport! It helps if you have some friends, but if not, do not worry because there are plenty of places where you can go alone and still enjoy yourself.
Water skiing may not be the most convenient way to get fit, but it’s a great way to stay active and improve cardiovascular health. It’s also a lot of fun!
To get started, find an area where you can safely swim in chest-deep water and equip yourself with all the necessary gear. Water skiing is just gliding through the water on a ski without using your hands. You’ll need a wet suit, skis, and boots.
The best way to learn is by practicing at home—there’s no better way to perfect your technique than by trying things out for yourself. And if you’re feeling ambitious, you can even try competing in local or international events!
Staying fit doesn’t have to be boring.
If you’re looking for ways to get fit and have fun at the same time, water sports are a great place to start. You can choose any activity—kayaking, sailing, canoeing—and enjoy the outdoors while exercising. And because water sports are so much fun, it’s easy to keep going even when your muscles are sore!
But staying fit isn’t just about having fun; it’s also essential for your overall health. Many people assume they don’t need exercise if they aren’t running marathons or lifting weights, but this is not true. Studies show that exercising regularly not only helps prevent obesity but can improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate variability (a measure of how well your body adapts to changing conditions). Plus, there’s evidence that regular exercise may reduce anxiety by increasing serotonin in the brain—which means that regular workouts could help prevent depression as well!
You can get fit while on vacation, but if water sports aren’t for you, try doing something appropriate at home instead.
- You can get fit while on vacation, but if water sports aren’t for you, try doing something appropriate at home instead.
- Exercise at home can be just as good as exercise at the gym. If you want to work out without leaving your house, here are some ideas:
- Pushups and situps: Do these exercises in sets of ten or five reps with one-minute rest periods between sets. For example, try doing two sets of ten pushups and then two sets of twenty situps with a minute break between each group. This is a great way to strengthen your core muscles!
- Is it jogging? If kids are safe enough to run around outside (and there isn’t any traffic), why not join them? Jogging is an excellent cardio workout because it increases circulation throughout all body parts and improves flexibility. Just ensure it’s not too hot outside before going out there!
Is it expensive to get into water sports for exercise?
One of the initial concerns people have with a new hobby is the cost. Of course, some pastimes require expensive equipment, and if you want to buy a jet ski then you should expect to pay a substantial amount.
Yet, not all water sports are expensive, and some are basically free. 31% of the population, or 91 million Americans swim freely in the rivers, lakes, and oceans that are in or around the country.
To enjoy kayaking or paddleboarding may require a little more investment. But, you can start kayaking or canoeing by joining a local club. Many clubs will have their own kayaks though. They will train you and then expect you to take a competency test for safety.
If you wish to buy your own kayak, then expect to pay anywhere between $100 to $1,000 for an entry-level vessel. Paddleboarding is somewhat more expensive. For a sturdy inflatable, you could be looking at around $1,000.
A surfboard will set you back around $600 plus for a quality board, or as little as $100 for a basic, beginner’s surfboard.
With so many wonderful rivers and lakes in the states, it makes perfect sense to utilize them for a more varied fitness program. Rafting, paddleboarding, kayaking, and rowing, all use different muscles and will help increase fitness levels more than you may have realized.
Many water sports can improve your social life, fill your free time, and help to improve your health. There are some great spots for surfing on the coast of the US, and kayaking can take you to beautiful places you may never have considered. The beauty of some of these activities is that you can combine them with fishing or camping also. Unlike some fitness routines, watersports never need to be dull.
One thing is for sure, if you pick the right activity, you won’t get bored like you might when you’re on the treadmill at the gym.
So, what are you waiting for? Get fit with water sports!
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my muscles feel sore after a vigorous water sports workout?
If you experience muscle soreness after a vigorous water sports workout, the best thing to do is allow the body to rest and fully recover. You may find relief by taking ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain relievers, but wait until the pain has subsided before taking them. Taking anabolic steroids can also lead to health complications like liver damage and hormonal imbalance. To properly heal and replenish muscles following a water sports workout, drink plenty of fluids (including unsweetened tea), eat protein-rich foods, stretch regularly, and take supplements like omega-3 fatty acids if needed.
Can I swim if I have asthma or other respiratory issues?
Yes, you can swim if you have asthma or other respiratory issues. Swimming is one of the most beneficial exercises for respiratory problems as it helps in improving lung function and flexibility. Additionally, using a life jacket while swimming and avoiding swimming if you are sick or feeling under the weather will help to keep you safe. If you have asthma or other respiratory problems, always consult your doctor before starting any water sports activity.
Which type of swimming is best for beginners?
If you’re a beginner looking to get fit and improve your swimming skills, then pool swimming is the best option. Pool swimming is easy on the joints and lungs, making it an excellent workout for beginners. Open water swimming can be dangerous, so take safety precautions like wearing a life jacket when participating in open water swims.
How can I ensure I’m keeping my workout routine as diversified as possible when practicing water sports?
When practicing water sports, keep your workout routine as diverse as possible. This way, the body can work at its maximum capacity for an extended period without resting between sets. One way to do this is by swimming laps or using a resistance band during your workouts. Additionally, you can try swimming intervals, which involve briefly stopping all activity and then resuming with a short burst of intense exercise followed by a more extended break. This type of training is excellent because it’s challenging and allows you to burn calories quickly. In addition, interval training is excellent for building endurance and muscle strength.
What are the best water sports to get fit?
If you’re looking for ways to get fit and stay healthy, consider water sports as one of your options. They are great exercises that will improve your cardio and tone and can also help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and other health problems. Some of the best water sports for fitness include sailing, boating, windsurfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
Alex is a passionate fitness enthusiast dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. He encourages small – sustainable changes over drastic transformations and works with people to create customized wellness plans. His mission is to help others benefit from the most effective methods available, sharing tips, strategies, and health & fitness tools on Gearuptofit.com to inspire people to live their best lives.