Indoor Rowing Versus Kayaking

Since the dawn of time, man has come up with innovative ways to interact with nature, whether for fun and sport or merely for survival. The problem: a body of water; the solution: a boat in which to safely cross it. Originally a boat built for hunters, kayaks have evolved from simple animal skins or hollowed out wood to fast and comfortable models made of material such as fiberglass and plastic. Over time, kayaks have become lighter and more versatile. Kayaking is a great year round sport that fills you with the sights, sounds, and smells of nature and is great exercise as well.

The counterpart of kayaking is indoor rowing. An indoor rowing machine mimics the motion of rowing on the water using a handle and chain attached to a wheel while the rower sits on a seat that glides over a beam. The amount of resistance is adjustable. While indoor rowing does not provide the same scenic views or escape into nature that kayaking offers, it is a great way to train for kayaking and get the same cardiovascular and strengthening benefits, especially if you do not live near water or do not own kayaking equipment.

Types of Kayaks:
There are two main types of kayaks: sit on top and cockpit style. The cockpit style allows the kayaker to sit inside of the kayak with the hips and legs covered by a spray skirt.

Types of Indoor Rowing Machines:
A wide variety of rowing machines are available with different forms of resistance such as water, air, magnetic, hydraulic, and flywheel resistance. Various constructions, such as wood or metal, are available as well.

Advantages of Kayaking:
*Kayaking can be done on almost any body of water: an ocean, river, lake, or even a small pond.
*The difficulty level can be enhanced by adding elements such as rapids or high waves.
*Kayaks are portable and can be transported on top of a car.
*Kayaks are available in single or double seating so you can enjoy the sport alone or with a friend.
*Kayaks can serve as a mode of transportation for other sports such as fishing or snorkeling.
*Kayaks can be used competitively for racing.
*Some kayaks can fold for easy storage and transport.
*There are kayaks for all levels of ability and ranges of activity from recreation to competitive sport.
*Kayaking is a great form of both cardiovascular exercise and strength training.

Disadvantages of Kayaking:
*It can only be done outdoors, in a body of water.
*There is a lot of equipment involved, which can be quite expensive.
*Obvious risk factors include injury, sickness from getting wet and possibly death from drowning or crashing into obstacles.
*Frequent and quick breaks are not easy to accomplish; you must find a suitable exit point and secure the kayak.
*There is only one sitting position available.
*Speed and distance are difficult to track.

Advantages of Indoor Rowing:
*Indoor rowing can be done anywhere from a gym to one’s own home.
*The cost is limited to purchasing and maintaining the machine; no other equipment is needed.
*There are no weather restraints and it is climate-controlled.
*Risks are minimal as long as the machine is used properly.
*Practicing on a rowing machine is great training for kayaking.
*Indoor rowers can be used regardless of skill level and offer low impact exercise.
*Speed and distance can easily be tracked.
*Rowing machines are a great method for both cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
*It is convenient to stop rowing and take a break whenever necessary.

Disadvantages of Indoor Rowing:
*Most indoor rowers do not elicit the equivalent dynamics of rowing on water.
*It can become monotonous and boring as the scenery does not change.
*It is an individual sport that cannot be done with a friend.
*The variety of difficulty is limited to the machine’s adjustments.
*Machines can be noisy and take up a lot of space.
*There is no element of nature or escape as there is with a kayak.

Which One?
Both kayaking and indoor rowing exist as competitive sports, hobbies, and forms of exercise. The choice between kayaking and indoor rowing is not either or but both and. They complement each other in training, function, and enjoyment.