Why Do My Legs Hurt After Kayaking? (The Surprising Answer)

You might ask yourself, “Why do my legs hurt after kayaking?” If so, you’re not alone.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced kayaker, you might wonder why your legs hurt after kayaking.

Leg pain is common among kayakers, especially after a long day of paddling.

This blog post will explore the causes of post-kayaking leg pain and provide tips on preventing it.

Legs Hurt After Kayaking

There are a few reasons why your legs might hurt after kayaking. First, paddling in a kayak that doesn’t fit can strain your legs and back. If the footrests aren’t properly adjusted, you may also strain your legs unnecessarily. And finally, if you’re not used to using your leg muscles, they may simply be sore from the effort.

Foot Positioning

Anyone who has ever been on a kayaking trip knows that it can be tough on the legs.

After all, you’re sitting in one position for hours at a time, and it’s easy for your legs to start cramping up.

That’s why it’s important to position your feet properly when you’re kayaking so your legs don’t hurt.

Your legs should be slightly bent, with your feet touching the footrest.

Additionally, take breaks every so often to stretch your legs and give them a chance to recover.

By following these simple tips, you can make kayaking much more enjoyable and less painful.

What To Do With Your Legs

Did you know that using your legs can help alleviate leg pain when you paddle a kayak?

You can take some of the load off your arms and shoulders by applying pressure to the footrests with your feet and bracing your lower legs against the edge of the cockpit.

Additionally, using your legs gives you more power and control when paddling, allowing you to paddle more efficiently and navigate through choppy waters.

Your legs are not just for steering – they’re also for propulsion.

As you stroke with your arms, use your legs to provide resistance by pushing against the footrests to drive the kayak forward.

This will not only give you a stronger stroke but also help build up the muscles in your legs and reduce leg pain over time.

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So next time you hit the water, remember to use those legs. With time, your legs will become stronger and less prone to hurting after you paddle.

Your Paddling Stroke

If you’re new to kayaking, you may not be aware that your feet and legs play an important role in propelling the boat forward.

In addition to using your arms to paddle, try using your feet and legs to alternate strokes. Think of pedaling a bike and pressing against the opposite footrest with each stroke.

To do this, put your feet against the footrests (remember to keep your knees slightly bent) and use your legs to push off. As you paddle with your arms, transfer your weight from one leg to the other.

This will help you evenly distribute the workload and prevent any muscle group from becoming overworked.

This paddling technique, and a little practice, might help with leg pain.

With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to paddle with ease and enjoy all that kayaking has to offer.

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Anyone who has been kayaking can attest that it is a workout for your entire body.

However, your core and leg muscles are critical in providing power and stability.

Fortunately, there are simple exercises that can help to improve strength in these areas.

For starters, walking and biking are great ways to build overall fitness, while body weight squats can help to target the leg muscles.

Try adding a weight plate or dumbbell to the squat for an extra challenge, which will help increase the intensity of the exercise and build even more strength.

By including these exercises in your routine, you can be sure that you are giving yourself the best possible chance for success out on the water.

Take A Lesson

Kayaking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise, but it can be tough on your body if you’re not used to it. 

So it’s important to learn the proper techniques from someone who knows what they’re doing.

An instructor can teach proper paddling techniques to cover the same distance (or more) with the same effort and fewer sore muscles.

In addition, an experienced kayaker can also teach you how to get the most out of your kayak and have more fun on the water.

So if you’re thinking about getting into kayaking, be sure to find a good instructor and learn the basics before heading out on your own.


Kayaking can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be tough on your body if you’re not used to it.

These simple tips can help prevent leg pain and make kayaking more enjoyable.

In addition, taking lessons from an experienced instructor can teach you the proper techniques to make the most of your kayaking experience.

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.