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Splish, splash, splosh! If this sounds like fun, then hop aboard and give canoeing a go. Canoeing is the activity of sitting in and manually propelling a canoe (a small, narrow boat) across waterways using a single bladed paddle. Canoeing can be recreational, undertaken as a competitive sport or used as basic transportation and is a great way to build muscle strength and flexibility in the upper body.
Whilst its critics will claim that you’re just sitting in a boat, canoeing can actually be a great aerobic workout. Whether you’re pushing yourself through white water rapids or slowly making your way down a gentle river, canoeing is a fun and effective way to boost your overall fitness. The sport is divided into three categories based on the body of water you choose to paddle along – placid water, white water or sea and surf.
If you’re a complete beginner you’ll probably start out with a land-based session, learning all about the equipment how-to’s, just to calm your nerves before dipping your toes (and hopefully not your head) in the water. If the weather’s warm, all you’ll need to wear are some light, quick drying shorts and a t-shirt, and take along some trainers that you don’t mind wearing in the boat. If you’re more prone to feeling the chill, a windproof layer might help you stay comfortable and if you’re brave enough to try out canoeing in the winter, a wetsuit or thermal leggings might come in handy.
Of course! Well, as long as you’re not scared of water. It’s a great option for any explorer types looking to ditch the walking boots and pick up a paddle, or adrenaline junkies who’ve exhausted dry land. The Canoe England Development Team is also hot on upping the numbers of girls participating in the sport, and say that many just don’t know what they’re missing out on. So male or female, young or old – canoeing could be your next exercise obsession.
Canoeing originated in the Caribbean – shame it doesn’t always come complete with a palm tree and a Pina Colada...