Kayaking: The Perfect Workout For People With “Wimpy Arms”

Hi everyone!  Thanks for all your support on my post about my recent issues with anxiety – I am happy to report that things are going well and I seem to be doing better after 3 glorious days off!  It’s so nice to have my usual 3 days off again! Monday I applied for a bunch of jobs as soon as I woke up, and it put me in such a productive mood all day!  I was able to clean our room, do laundry, and run 8 awesome miles before hanging out with friends all night.  And Wednesday I had my first phone interview for a position up here, applied to over 15 jobs, and set up 2 more interviews! Wish me luck because as soon as I get a job I can stop worrying so much!  But the best day this week was Tuesday.  We woke up to the most beautiful, perfect weather and knew that this was our chance to check something big off of our Seward Bucket List:  sea kayaking around Fox Island in Resurrection Bay!  We are very lucky that our boats are the only ones going out to Fox Island, and therefore this is a free activity for employees!  We got our approval, threw on some clothes that could get wet, and headed out into the bay!

20140820-235155.jpgOn the Nunatak!

20140820-235212.jpgOur view of Seward from the boat.  No more snow on the mountains!

Andrew and I have sea kayaked in Alaska 2 times before this, and have kayaked on lakes many times back in Philly.  It’s a totally different experience in the ocean, and given my history with motion sickness I knew this had a chance of getting rough.  But I’d come across an article recently that talked about using kayaking as cross training, and even went as far to say this:

“Kayaking is an excellent cross-training modality,” Cotton attests, “especially for runners, who often have great legs and wimpy arms.”

Um hey, watch what you’re saying about my wimpy arms!  But the article totally pumped me up to give sea kayaking a try in this week’s workout plan!  Plus the crazy beautiful views don’t hurt either.

Once we finished up our lunch on the island, we got suited up and had a basic kayaking training with our guide, Ben.  There were only 2 other girls on the tour and one of them had never kayaked before, so I knew we were going to take it slow and just enjoy the scenery.  And once we were out in the water, I finally started to relax!

20140820-235457.jpgPretty waterfall with a rainbow – but if you look closely at the top center of the picture you will see 4 puffins (look for the white stomachs) in a crack in the rocks!

20140820-235302.jpgMore puffins!!!!  My favorite!

We first paddled by some waterfalls and a group of puffins (fun fact:  a group of puffins is called a “circus”).  After leaving the cove, we were out in the ocean and the wind helped push us along past seals, starfish, eagles, and jellyfish.  The clouds were so pretty, and the sun was so warm!  It was just what I needed to feel like myself again!



Once we reached the north end of the island, we turned back.  This is when things started to get difficult – we were now paddling into the wind, and the waves were much more noticeable.  I could feel my arms and abs burning more and was very grateful when we could pull into a cove to rest.  But it was worth it because we had an amazingly close encounter with a sea otter!  They are usually very skittish but we were able to paddle very close to this one!

20140820-235435.jpgYou can already see the otter – it’s a tiny black speck in the center at the top of the water!

20140820-235446.jpgSea otters are my other favorite – we were so close we could see its face!

After the excitement was over, we were back to paddling our arms off until we made it back to our starting point.  I started feeling nauseous as the waves increased in size, and I was honestly pretty glad to be back on solid ground once we were done!  I think 3 hours in a kayak is my limit!  Clearly that guy was right about my wimpy arms too  🙂   But it was an incredible day and definitely a good workout that gave my tired legs a break.  I fell asleep on the boat ride home and then we went to be really early, so it took a lot out of us!  I think I’ll try kayaking on lakes again once we live in Anchorage because me and the ocean do not mix.


How can you try kayaking?  Look up nearly lakes at your local parks, and check Groupon for deals.  Many local and state parks will have kayak rentals if they have a big enough lake!  Sea kayaking is an extra challenge but if you live near the ocean you should try it out!

Have you ever kayaked before?  Do you have wimpy arms like me?

10 thoughts on “Kayaking: The Perfect Workout For People With “Wimpy Arms”

  1. That looks like a lot of fun! And it has me wanting to get out kayaking. I’ll have to hurry before the rentals near me stop at the end of the summer! Also, I have wimpy arms and definitely feel it in the kayak.

  2. I’m glad you said it was for people with whimpy arms because that is very much an accurate description of me 🙂 I love kayaking though it such a great way to see nature especially when you live in Alaska!!

  3. So much fun! I had no idea puffins lived in Alaska- I thought it was just eagles, moose & bears up there 🙂
    I went kayaking off the coast of CA for my birthday a couple years ago and loved it! We saw a ton of seals & learned some cool history about the area (and saw Dr Suess’s house!). My arms were so sore afterwards too- silly runners and our wimpy arms 😉

  4. Puffins and otters!!!! Soo cute! Your kayaking adventure looks so fun! I have been kayaking a few times… once in a pool lol (not that fun) Great cross training tip too! I’ll def have to check them out in French Creek State Park’s lake : D

  5. Sea otters are my favourite for sure. They’re SO adorable… and they hold hands while they sleep so they don’t float away from their families (insert the awwwwww here). I love kayaking. I’m working on increasing my arm strength, so I’m hoping soon I will have wimpy arms no more.

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