My wife and I went on an excursion on a kayaking trip to the apex of Point Reyes, a peninsula located just from San Francisco formed by the San Andreas Fault shoving a portion of California out into the sea.

Thirty minutes later, as we set out, and just below my bow water burst in a huff , and it appeared that an old school bus was passing beneath our feet. The mother whale as well as her calves took a break from their journey north to eat a snack.

They looked around, surveyed our boats, and breath on us (whale breath isn’t pleasant). Motorboats are known to scare animals away, however our two small boats seemed to blend in with the environment.

It was only one of the many amazing natural experiences I’ve had while in a kayak, and all less than a couple of minutes away from the dock. Even though we were exhausted at the end of the three miles but at no time was I concerned about injuries or exhaustionnot because I’m physically fit and healthy, but because I knew the paddling method I used was right and safe for my joints and muscles.

Kayak sales have increased dramatically in the past couple of years due partly to the epidemic. A lot of these boats are now for sale for cheap on Craigslist and other sites since kayaking is proving to be more challenging, or hard to their joints, than had hoped for.

It doesn’t need to be. Simply changing a few aspects of your stroke could let you paddle longer and avoid injury, turning your water-based day into an unforgettable experience.

There are many good reasons other than whale watching to consider kayaking. One reason is that it’s an excellent aerobic activity that is low-impact for people who are getting older or looking to build fitness.

This is because it does not engage the larger muscles in your body such as the thighs or buttocks, according to Francois Billaut Professor of exercise physiology of Laval University in Quebec and the former head of the physiologist department on the Canadian national kayaking team. The larger the muscles are, the more oxygen they require, which is the reason exercising hard, for example can cause you to lose breath.

He also said that it’s among the few outdoor exercises that work the upper body, specifically your chest area, back and the abdominal muscles, which includes the abs as well as other muscles deeper around the midsection . These muscles are difficult to train without an exercise facility. The doctor. Billaut said to think of paddling as a complement to running or biking.

“For those who run or cycle are likely to not have much muscles in their lower body.” Dr. Billaut explained. “Kayaking provides a balanced.”

However, it doesn’t mean that you need to have huge arm or back muscles to get started.

“Most people will dive into a kayak and instantly think that they need to be able to lift their arms, they need to be strong and must grab the water with aplomb,” said Alicia Jones who is a graphic designer from New York who started paddling five years ago, despite suffering an injury to her shoulder. However “it turned into a complete body workout once I learned the proper techniques .”

Mathew Skeels, a chemistry professor at St. Lawrence University and former champion of the national kayak practicing proper paddling. As the arms are dipping the paddle in the ocean, his strength comes from his torso rotating. Bryan Bennett for The New York Times

The most important thing to remember about proper kayaking techniques is that the kayaking movement is a twisting, not one that pulls.

“Your arms aren’t as strong as many of other muscles throughout your body,” said Greg Barton the Olympic Olympian in kayaking who won the gold, and founder of Epic Kayaks. “The more you integrate your whole body into the kayak, the faster you’ll get.”

Before you get in the boat, get up and put the paddle before you with two hands, slightly larger than shoulder width. Keep your the elbows straight as if you’re an mummy or perhaps you are a zombie. Imagine that the space between your chest, arms along with the paddle the size of a pizza box. Imagine that you are paddling but be careful not to smash the pizza box.

The key is that you keep the elbows straight and move away from your torsion. When your elbows bend it is when the arms become dominant and this can lead to the shoulder muscles exhausted and aching. When you are standing in front of the boat, just swivel your hips from side opposite sides until the zipper of your jacket is swinging back and back and forth. This is the motion you’re looking for.

Get in the boat and begin to hit the water. It is essential to maintain a good posture when you’re in the vessel “sitting upright all up to your head, as if there’s a rope pulling from your body,” said Lynn Petzold an experienced instructor at the NOLS wilderness school. NOLS.

If you’re worried about tipping, you should get comfortable in the shallows of the water (or an in-ground pool) in terms of how you can wiggle and twist inside the boat. The fear of tipping can hinder the technique of paddling. If you’re using an inflatable sit-on-top with a flat bottom or a recreational kayak (with an open cockpit that lets your knees to protract) You’ll be amazed at how difficult to flip.

If you’re still worried about the risk of tipping over, sign-up for a kayaking course that is introductory and get a self-rescue course.

The time is now to paddle. Make sure you are in the same place as the pizza box and hold the paddle at your side with your chest at a height of about chest and hands slightly larger then shoulder height. Start by dipping it into water near the boat’s hull close to your feet. Don’t push it back towards you Keep your elbows straight, and then twist your body so that the paddle moves along with to the vessel until the same as your butt then pull it out.

“One among the things that I was taught was the concept of torso rotation. The phrase will be in my head for a lifetime,” said Ms. Jones who is now a teacher in the Brooklyn Bridge Park Paddling Club. “If I do forget any other thing in my life I’ll never forget the torso rotation.”

Experts such as Mr. Skeels spend years working on their strokes. The trick is to prevent the elbows straight while pulling the paddle using the core muscles, and push using your feet. Alicia Jones, a volunteer instructor in Brooklyn she advised that beginners concentrate on straightening the elbows while letting their life jacket move from side to side.

This is the difference between exhaustion and effortless paddling. Hold the paddle using your arms, but utilize your core muscles for movement. As long as you are keeping your elbows straight, you should feel the pull of your stomach from both sides when you turn.

Engaging your legs can help. If you’re paddling on the right side, you can push your left foot on the foot rests or pegs to ensure that the core is locked in Dr. Barton said, while maintaining a the proper posture.

“You need to push the same side that you’re paddling on,” he added. “Rather than turning from waist to hips the hips, you’re actually rotating your lower hips .”

Do not over-grip the paddle, warned the Ms. Petzold; this is about positioning, not strength. In reality she doesn’t hold the paddle at all, instead she does circles with her index and thumb similar to lobster claws.

“That’s the place where you’ll find the paddling board. Also, I’m keeping my fingers free on a paddle whenever I’m pushing over,” she said, noting that with proper technique, she’s seen novices paddling 45 miles one day.

It’s an odd sensation moving your torso around when you look straight ahead and don’t be expecting to do it perfect in the very first attempt. Find the rhythm. When you’ve got the hang of it, each stroke will flow into another. Once you’ve mastered the stroke, you’ll discover that your arms don’t will be tired as often and you’ll notice a burning sensation within your core.

Turning a kayak involves more than simply paddling on one side. It requires a distinct movement which sweeps from side to back of the vessel. Once you feel your body turning and pushing your feet and focusing on your core Try the turning stroke , commonly known as the sweep stroketo truly secure your torso.

Start on the left side once more. Turn your body to the left, then reach the blade of your right paddle up using your feet. After that, sweep the paddle to the side and this time until it reaches at the back on the vessel. Place the pizza container in position and feel the thump in your stomach.

Be sure to watch the left paddle’s blade with an eagle from the beginning to the finish. In order to achieve this, you’ll have to turn your body around. Make use of this stroke to move around, and occasionally in your forward stroke to keep your focus on the goal.

After you’ve got the strokes down and you are able to engage your core muscles then you can begin to work on your core. Dr. Billaut recommended a few easy intervals to build strength. After warming up, you should paddle hard for five minutes, and then stop for three minutes and then return to an accelerated pace. Repeat this three to four times.

When you are exhausted, be prepared for your technique to falter and slide back to pulling your shoulders and arms. The doctor. Billaut said good technique will help you avoid injuries to joints, so be realistic about the distance you’d like to take your fitness.

If you do it right paddling a kayak correctly will take you further than you ever thought possible. It will take you to the rock gardens, into sea caves and across cute Gray whale calves. You can ride the crashing waves of an Alaskan inlet, or slowly break through the smooth surface of the ideal Baja morning. It is also possible to paddle right in the middle of the city.

“Have you considered the possibility of being able to kayak on the East River or the Hudson River?” Ms. Jones told us. “Once people learn about it they’re eager to experience it and feel it.”