Why You Need To Paddle In The Morning | Adventure Kayak Magazine | Rapid Media
A standup paddleboarder surfs on a wave in the sunlight. Cristian Negroni

Paddling first thing in the morning is good for your body and soul.

Every morning, along your local shoreline, some brave soul is pioneering the day. Cooking up miles for breakfast is a powerful way to start the day, promising benefits for everyone who can keep their finger off the snooze button. That silhouette on the horizon could be you.

“Getting in a paddle before most people are awake gives me a sense of accomplishment that carries me through my day. Regardless of what I face, I’ve already ensured that at least part of my day was my own, enjoy- able and challenging,” says dawn patrol enthusiast and competitive racer John Beausang, the man behind paddleboard e-news source The Distressed Mullet. “Being on the water first thing in the morning connects me to nature and helps me stay grounded,” he adds.

New research suggests that getting out on the water in the golden hour has lasting benefits on your physical and mental capabilities throughout the day. A study by PHIT America measuring performance by students in Illinois saw a 93-percent improvement in math scores and a 56-percent in- crease in reading scores after exercise. “What’s good for kids has to be good for adults, too,” says Jim Baugh, founder of PHIT. “Getting active in the morning wakes up the brain, improves concentration and gets the brain ready to learn and be productive." Plus, it fires out mood-boosting endorphins that stay with you for hours.

Discover the trip of a lifetime with the Rapid Media Paddling Trip Guide

Dawn patrol also offers greater opportunities for consistency. Evening paddling sessions risk being delayed, interrupted or abandoned entirely due to working late, running errands and getting blindsided by unexpected to-dos. There are fewer obstacles to getting on the water at 6 a.m. than at 6 p.m. “I love getting that jumpstart on the day,” says Julian DeSchutter, co- founder of Vancouver-based outdoor group Chasing Sunrise, which organizes 4:30 a.m. adventures that have attracted as many as 800 participants. “Everyone else is still sleeping. By going out at sunrise you’re putting yourself first, and that’s a powerful thing.” The phone isn’t ringing, and there are no distracting emails or texts.

“There is energy at the beginning of the day. A silence,” DeSchutter adds.

Find the world's best boats and gear with the Rapid Media's Paddling Buyer's Guide

Research also shows that morning fitness promotes a better night’s sleep. Appalachian State University’s Dr. Scott Collier studies the effect of exercise on blood pressure. “Much to our surprise, 7 a.m. exercise was better in terms of reduced blood pressure throughout the day and greater sleep benefits than exercise at 7 p.m. There was little blood pressure or sleep benefit when exercise was done at 1 p.m.,” he says. “We don’t yet know the physiological mechanisms that result in these changes, but we do know enough to say if you need to decrease your blood pressure and if you need to increase your quality of sleep, 7 a.m. is probably the best time to exercise,” Collier adds.

Finally, for fitness paddlers who are as motivated by losing weight as setting a new personal best, exercising in the morning boosts your metabolism and keeps it elevated for six to 10 hours afterward—you’ll burn more calories throughout the day thanks to a morning workout. Exercising on a pre-breakfast empty stomach has been shown to burn a greater percentage of fat for fuel, rather than carbohydrates. 

CCC_PartnerBadge_Web.pngKaydi Pyette is the former editor of Canoeroots

Watch THE CANOE an award-winning film that tells the story of Canada's connection to water and how paddling in Ontario is enriching the lives of those who paddle there. #PaddleON.

Related items

  • As anglers take paddle fishing to extremes, inflatable paddleboards are becoming more popular for easy transport and reliable performance. Sea Eagle’s Fish SUP 12.6 is an ultimate fishing SUP peppered…


  • BOTE Boards took us throught their lines of paddleboards, SUP's, and microskiffs at Outdoor Retailer 2018. All of their product lines are available in both hard and inflatable options. Thier…


  • SIC Maui showcased their new Okeanos and Sage lines of paddleboards at Outdoor Retailer 2018. The Okeanos line has the same DNA as the RS (Rocket Ship) line of race…


  • SOL Paddle Boards is known for their durable SUP's. They use a double reinforced side-wall and triple PVC on the nose cone to protect against abraisions. They offer a lifetime…


  • Popular Articles

    Free Newsletter

    Join 100 000+ fellow paddlers! Get the latest paddling news and special offers delivered straight to your inbox.  


    1 (613) 706-0677