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Plunge into a Water Workout

By Molly Hucklebridge, Communications Specialist at Barton Health

Paddle Boarding
The warm summer air and refreshing water of Lake Tahoe beckon you to play. Did you know that you can burn calories faster and tone up quicker in the water than in an air-conditioned gym? Consider these outdoor water activities for fun and healthy fitness adventures.

Water Calisthenics: Burn More Calories Faster

Swimming and water aerobics are forms of resistance training. You don’t have to be an experienced swimmer to see fitness results. “Waterobics” is ideal for any age or fitness ability and water’s buoyancy helps protect your knees and joints. Another perk: The American Exercise Association (AEA) suggests that exercise in the water burns more calories than walking on land at a moderate pace.

For a great underwater workout, try scissor kicks, jogging in place, or even hopping from side to side.

The Newest Water Activity: Standup Paddleboarding 

You may not know what it’s called, but you have definitely seen it in action. Standup paddleboarding is a new, popular water sport for calmer waters. It takes some balance and coordination, but you may surprise yourself how laidback it can be. On the south shore, rentals are available at Kayak Tahoe, South Tahoe Standup Paddle, and SUP Tahoe. Once you’ve fine-tuned your skills, try standup paddle yoga with Lake Tahoe Yoga, or glide into the Wednesday Night SUP Races, which claims to be “America’s  best standup paddleboard race.” Races launch every Wednesday in the summer from El Dorado Beach in South Lake Tahoe.

Three Paddle Boarders

Classic Water Sports: Kayak or Canoe on the Lake

One of the most exciting ways to experience the lake and test your fitness is simply to paddle. Both kayaking and canoeing engage your core and, depending on your fitness level and exertion, can get your heart pumping. Boats can be launched on most public shorelines, and kayak rental options are abundant. Always wear a PFD, personal flotation device, and check ahead for inclement weather.

For the ambitious water chasers, Emerald Bay State Park’s boat-in campground, only accessible by boat or on foot, is an exciting overnight option. Extreme adventure seekers should consider the 72-mile Lake Tahoe Water Trail – the lake’s answer to the Tahoe Rim Trail. Break it up into smaller trips or camp on public beaches and tackle the whole lake! Safety note: conditions can be rough and trips should be planned with caution. For maps and information, visit laketahoewatertrail.org and make State Park reservations at reserveamerica.com.

Water Play: A Workout for the Brain

While splashing around or engaging in a water fight is fun for the kids, it also plays an important role in their development. Water play is a sensory experience that can help children with motor skills, stimulate language skills, increase social skills, and can reinforce science and mathematical concepts. Check out “Water Play and Your Child’s Growing Brain” on YouTube to learn more.

Kids Building Sand Castles

Beyond the Lake: Raft on the River

In late spring, the snowmelt hits just the right flow on the East Fork of the Carson River. Rafters and kayakers jump on this opportunity to paddle down a designated “Wild and Scenic River” stretch through snow-covered mountains in the Carson-Iceburg Wilderness. Rafting outfitters offer one- or two-day trips which include family friendly rapids, breathtaking scenery, and an option to soak in the area’s hot springs.

For a more leisurely float, paddle a five-mile stretch down the Truckee River. Self-guided options start in Tahoe City. For trip information, directions, and available outfitters on Tahoe area rivers, visit the California Whitewater Rafting site: c-w-r.com.

Lake Tahoe Location Map

Molly Hucklebridge is the Communications Specialist for Barton Health.  This article was first run in Barton’s “Health and Life” 2014 spring and summer edition. View the current and previous editions of “Health and Life” here: bartonhealth.org/healthandlife.