If you're out on the water in a small craft without a motor, you're paddling!
When it comes to a good workout, paddling checks all the boxes. It can improve cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility, and endurance all at the same time. Whether you're kayaking for weight loss or rowing to get in shape, you can't go wrong with paddling as your exercise of choice.
Paddling has been proven to lower stress levels for a number of reasons. The endorphins brought on by active exercise contribute to that, but paddling itself is also meditative by nature. You're out in the great wide open, breathing in the fresh, mountain air, free from the hustle and bustle of workaday life, engaging in a rhythmic activity—that's a recipe to relax the mind.
If you're looking for an eco-friendly activity, paddling is where it's at.
Paddling is powered by you. You're the driver and the motor, and you don't need gas!
Motors can leak. Oil and gas are harmful pollutants to freshwater bodies and their aquatic ecosystems.
Excessive speed harms the aquatic balance. Boats and vessels that are powered by motors move faster, and excessive speed can disrupt natural currents. That can stir up sediment and cause shoreline erosion that affects a lake's ecosystem.
As much as you may travel around the Adirondacks by foot or by car, there are some things you just can't really experience here unless you're out on the water, like unique lake islands, protected shorelines, hidden ponds, and yes, even moose sightings!
No matter what type of paddling you choose to do in the Adirondacks, it's essential to take measures to ensure the safety out there on the lake or river.
By New York State law, kids have to wear personal floatation devices (PFDs), and it's usually recommended that adults do too. For more on finding the right PFDs, visit the U.S. Coast Guard's website.
The U.S. Coast Guard also recommends that while out on the water during the day you carry a whistle or noisemaking device that allows you to alert other boaters to your presence to avoid collision. At night, it's a good idea to carry a flashlight, or attach a light to your boat, too.
While there's plenty of Adirondack shade on the hiking trails, there may not be much out on many of the bodies of water you'd be paddling on. So take care to cover your skin properly, either with clothing or with sunscreen. And if you're paddling during cooler weather in the spring and fall, you will want to make sure you dress appropriately.
Just because you're on the water doesn't mean you don't need to stay hydrated. Be sure to bring a canteen or a bottle of water to re-hydrate throughout your journey.