There are a number of avid kayakers residing in the Plymouth Harbor community. Of course, for those who store their own kayaks there by the Bay, paddling through the nearby mangrove tunnels could be a daily routine. For others, they can look forward to the semi-regular group forays organized by our Wellness team.
Just such an outing was planned for the morning of March 20. It was a picture perfect day and the participating residents had a guide to lead them through the many mangroves stands on the fringe of Sarasota Bay.
The tour was both peaceful and exhilarating. Imagine gliding silently over the water with fish and fowl so close by. Of course there was plenty of friendly chatter, but kayaking is a often a meditative activity as well.
The group observed several beautiful birds with their young such as Osprey, Ibis, Blue Herons, a rarely seen Wood Stork and, of course, the ever-present companions, the Cormorants. From the shallow waters of the mangroves the tour guide pulled a Florida Horse Conch and a very large sea snail called a Lightning Whelk (pictured below with Nancy Lyon).
It’s so beautiful and stimulating to be enjoying the day this way, that few kayakers where thinking about the benefits of this low impact activity to improve their aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. In fact, there are some specific health benefits that sneak into this activity that make it all the more enticing:
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Increased muscle strength, particularly in the back, arms, shoulders and chest, from moving the paddle
- Increased torso and leg strength, as the strength to power a canoe or kayak comes mainly from rotating the torso and applying pressure with your legs
- Reduced risk of wear-and-tear on joints and tissues, since paddling is a low impact activity.
Don’t worry, there will be plenty of other opportunities to kayak at Plymouth Harbor. After all, the beautiful Sarasota Bay IS our backyard!