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Family Sports

Water Weights

Sculling, canoeing and kayaking are ideal spring and summer outdoor activities. Dive into the fun and physical challenges of any of them and enjoy the ride.

Rowing and paddling are both effective workouts. The difference between the two is significant, however, and give rowing the advantage in the calorie-burning and muscle-building arenas. Both rowing (or sculling) and canoeing (or paddling) are competitive events featured in the summer Olympics.

Athletes who use two oars, one in each hand, are rowers or scullers. Because there are oars on both sides of the boat, and because the oars reach deep into the water, sculling is done in wide, deep bodies of water like deep lakes, rivers and oceans. Sculling is a great way for novices to become familiar with the sport, and is especially effective for beginners under the age of 16.
  • In sculling, the oars are attached to the boat. The oars go deep into the water and create resistance, for a repetitive movement that works the chest, arms, upper back and abs.
  • The legs of scullers get a workout too, pressing against foot stops to propel their upper body into the stroke.
  • Sculling requires balance, which builds abdominal and back muscle strength.
Kayaks can navigate narrower bodies of water that two-oared boats. Kayakers paddle their ride, sitting higher in the water. The flat bottom of the boat means it glides easily across shallow waters.

  • Paddling a kayak uses muscles in the back, shoulders and core.
  • The legs get a workout too as they press against the foot pegs as the torso rotates for strokes on alternating sides of the vessel.

Because it provides each stroke with greater resistance and uses 70 percent of the body's muscles with each one, rowing burns more calories than paddling: Some athletes burn up to 600 calories/hour when rowing vs. up to 350 calories/hour for paddling.

Whether you’re training for the 2020 Summer Olympics or out for a day on the lake with the family, sculling and paddling are an ideal spring exercise break.

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