Burn Energy and Stay Cool – Paddling the French Broad

When the temperatures start to rise, nothing feels better than a day spent on the water.  The French Broad River travels straight through Asheville, and it makes for a great adventure to compliment your fitness routine.


Kayaking or canoeing down the French Broad is a popular activity during the summer heat.  The river is a fun way to stay cool, and it offers a wide range of scenery from forests to green pastures to the urban River Arts District.


It contains a wide range of difficulties from the calm, flat waters south of Asheville extending through the city, to class III and IV whitewater rapids just north of town.  Regardless of your experience, it’s a perfect place for a fun bout of exercise.


Don’t fool yourself thinking that traveling downstream while seated in a canoe or kayak is an easy task.  The repetitive motion of paddling builds strength in your upper body and torso, utilizing your arms, shoulders, back, and abdominals to propel yourself.


Paddling consistently will increase your heart rate and breathing, giving you a good cardiovascular workout as well.  If you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge, try paddling upstream from your entry point for a while.  You get an extra tough workout, followed by a relaxing ride as the current carries you back downstream.


There are many locations along the river where you can drop in and take out, making it convenient to enter at any point and adjust the length of your trip.  And if you don’t have any equipment, there are numerous outdoor centers nearby where you can rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, or sign up for a guided trip.


Make sure you are comfortable on or in the water (if you care to take a quick dip in the river) before going, wear all of the necessary safety equipment, and bring some water with you to keep you hydrated.  And have fun out there!

Written by Ross Elliott

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