There’s no question that rowing machines provide a great all-over workout, while also burning calories. But in the warmer months, why not reap the benefits of Mother Nature — and actually get somewhere with all that rowing? Watercraft activities provide many of the same benefits as stationary rowing machines, with the additional boosts from enjoying nature and hanging out with friends.

Paddle Boarding

Perhaps even trendier than rowing machines, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is having a bit of a moment right now. And why not? With minimal equipment — just a board and paddle — you can hop on the water and explore lakes, oceans and even gentle rivers.

SUP is especially prized for its ability to engage the core. Unlike canoeing or kayaking, you’re standing as you move your craft forward. That means that all of the effort involved in keeping yourself upright engages your abs in ways you probably won’t even be aware of as you’re paddling. Your legs also get great toning, because they need to brace and shift continuously. And, of course, your back and arms are obviously working overtime as you paddle.

In terms of calories, you’ll burn around 300-400 calories doing a gentle pace — depending on weight and gender — and 600-700 at a moderate pace. If you become proficient at SUP, over 1,000 calories can be burnt off in a mere hour!

Kayaking and Canoeing

Sitting down in a craft to paddle a canoe or kayak might not give you quite as much all-over toning as paddleboarding, but the bracing actions your legs need to undertake actually does give them a bit of a workout. The real beneficiaries, however, include your core, which needs to be continuously twisting and dipping as you dip the paddle from one side of the kayak or canoe to the other, or pull the paddle forward. And, of course, biceps, triceps, as well as “lats and traps,” are all get vigorously worked.

In terms of cardio benefits, you won’t burn quite as many calories in a canoe or kayak as you would SUPing. But it’s still a great workout, burning up 300-400 calories per hour, for a moderate pace, and as much as triple that amount for racing or choppy conditions!