Kayaking Aches and Pains – How to Avoid Them


Nothing beats the serenity, peace, and calmness of slicing the waters quietly on your kayak. Whether you going fishing, waterfowl hunting, or just taking an adventure, paddling is always a breathtaking escapade.

However, sometimes you may experience aches and pains after a long day of kayaking, and even though these may not be severe, they could still rob you of the pleasure you may have with the waters. The following guide provides in-depth information on how to avoid kayaking pain during your paddling so that you can have longer and more enjoyable sessions.

Common Kayaking Aches And Pains

1. Back Pain

How comfortable is your kayak seat? How often do you adjust it? Cheap uncomfortable seats are one of the reasons why paddlers experience stress on their backs.

Most of the kayaks in the market today come with low-quality seats that don’t provide good back support. Now, if you already have back problems, the seat will get unbearable after a short period of time and you may not be able to continue with your paddling.

If you have been wondering how to avoid kayaking pain on your back, then start by investing in a quality kayak seat. One that is adjustable or with a back band could get the job done pretty well. Sure, it may be a little expensive but much better and cheaper than treating an advanced spine condition.

2. Sore Backside

Sometimes the charm of paddling makes us forget how long we have had our poor bums sit on the kayak. Even if you have a comfortable seat, if you sit for too long, you will cause stress on your bottom and it will soon start to ache.

To alleviate this, always pack an extra bum cushion whenever you go for a kayaking adventure. Also, if your kayak is stable enough, try stretching or standing up when you are not paddling. For instance, instead of filming the scenery when seated, why don’t you try getting up on your knees or standing up completely to allow blood circulation to your bottom? Just make sure the moves are well calculated, otherwise, you will end up tipping your kayak.

3. Sore Arms

Many paddlers think that the arms are what move the kayak forward. The truth is, if you use proper paddling techniques, your arms will only exert little force during the strokes. The pain in your upper and lower arm muscles is caused by holding and moving the paddle the wrong way.

To prevent these aches and further arm injuries, put your arms shoulder-width apart. Instead of pulling and pushing the paddle, let the arms stay at a fixed length, and transfer the energy generated by your core to the strokes.

Also, be careful how you hold your paddle. If your grip is too tight, you will wear your arms out which puts your hand joints at risk of developing arthritis later in life. To ensure a loose grip, let your middle finger maneuver the paddle while the thumbs rest around the shaft.

However, you should only hold your oar loosely when you are in calm waters. If you are kayaking in an ocean, sea, or any other area where water is rough, you will need to make your grip a little tighter so that you don’t lose your paddle to the waves.

4. Leg Pain

It is very difficult for non-paddlers to understand why a kayaker should be complaining about sore legs. Well, even beginners don’t understand how the legs are connected to paddling so let’s break it down…

The legs act as the connection between your body and the boat. While your arms paddle the kayak forward, your legs brace, turn, and stabilize it.

If you have been paddling for hours, you will definitely experience pains in your lower leg muscles. Sometimes, the pain can be a result of riding a boat that is not fitted properly or that is too small. To prevent soreness in your legs, keep stretching them whenever possible. Also, make sure your kayak is well adjusted before going for a water adventure.

Before Hitting The Waters


If you have tried all the above tricks and none of them seems to work, try working out more. Those yoga classes you ditched might be the only thing you need to prevent kayaking aches and get your paddling back on track. Here are more tips on how to avoid kayaking pain on your overall body:

1. Stretch

Before you head to the waters, take a few minutes to warm up. This will get you flexible and prepare your muscles for the task ahead. Those neck and arm circles, toe reaches, and trunk twists will get your muscles ready for the awaiting motion.

2. Strengthen

Whenever you go to the gym, make sure to do a workout that gets your back and core muscles stronger. This will help them remain functional and prevent them from wearing out even when subjected to rough stunts or long hours of paddling or canoeing.

3. Drink Plenty Of Water

A big fraction of muscle strains are caused by dehydration. So drink plenty of water before going out for paddling. You may also want to pack a few bottles of clean water to keep yourself hydrated during the excursion.

4. Stick To Your Lane

So you just bought this kickass kayak and now you want to show everyone what it can do? Well, you may want to hold on for a moment. Think about what this might do to your spine and arm muscles, especially if it is your very first time paddling. As these muscles are not used to performing repetitive moves like what you are just about to do, you may end up overstressing and causing them pain.

Know what you can and cannot handle. Don’t do a 5-hour paddle if your muscles are not used to it. Work up your pace and if you start feeling soreness in your muscles, take a break or even better, call it a day.

Globo Surf Overview

We hope that this guide has given you all the information you needed on how to avoid kayaking pain. We also hope that you are not going to abandon your yak like many others have done before, just because they didn’t want to try these simple tricks to prevent muscle soreness.

Get a quality seat for your kayak, don’t sit for too long, and most importantly, paddle the right way. Also, include muscle strengthening exercises in your workout to make sure that your muscles are strong enough for paddling.

More Kayak Reviews:


  1. Kayaking Aches and Pains – How to Avoid Them, inflatablekayakworld.com
  2. Muscle And Body Parts Used In Kayaking, thoughtco.com
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!