Keeping Physically and Mentally Fit at Sea


Sailors cruise for months on end before ever setting foot on land. If keeping physically and mentally fit is problematic on the ground, then it is a lot worse at sea.

There is no space and work out tools are limited. Motivation can be low, and routines can become dull too quickly. Seafarers must be creative to stay healthy.     

Below are some examples how seafarers, Marine Corps, and cruise vacationers keep fit.   

Stand-up paddle-boarding   

Stand up Paddling is a sea exercise that has been carried down through generations of island communities. This type of water sport / exercise was invented by surfers who were looking for a way to burn calories on board.

Today, many sailors take breaks from their vessels to hit the waters with a board and paddle.    Paddle-boarding engages all the muscles of the body, and all the while your brain will be at work keeping balance and maintaining course.

Your leg muscles and core will come in handy to stabilize your stance on the board. As you paddle, you will be engaging muscles of the arms, shoulders, and back. The fact that paddle boarding requires both mental and physical attention makes it a very useful exercise at sea.   


Space is the biggest impediment to keeping fit afloat.

Kayaking has paved the way for many sailors and delivers similar fitness results as hiking or treadmill running would on land.

There are portable and inflatable kayaks that don’t take up much space on board but efficiently build muscles on water.

Apart from the foldable and inflatable kayaks, the long and slender hard kayaks are also small enough fit on deck. Kayaking is a moderate exercise that sailors use to relieve stress and strengthen their muscles.   

Kayaking engages muscles on the chest, arms, shoulders, and back. Your core muscles participate in the workout as you rotate your body pushing forwards on the paddle. For an intense exercise, sailors choose to kayak against a current. That is equitable to an extraordinary work out at the gym.  


Most sailors keep carrying a rowboat on board for making short sea trips while fishing or as an emergency measure when something goes amiss on the big vessel at sea. This same rowboat can be the ideal workout machine at sea.

A daily morning routine on the canoe can help sailors burn calories and attain the right frame of mind.   


Just like rowing and kayaking, swimming is a relaxing exercise that sailors love to indulge. While at sea, you must find conducive waters with less stray currents to cool off the afternoon heat and engage your muscles.   

You can do laps around your boat or ship while racing with your fellow seafarers. That is a chance to have fun while burning calories.

Sometimes you will get a chance to spot beautiful marine life - that makes it more compelling.   

Seafaring is not the laid back and comfortable life that many like to imagine. So far away from home, and so far away from your doctors it falls on you squarely to do everything you can to stay fit both physically and mentally. Swimming, kayaking, and canoeing are some of the ways to stay fit at sea. Either that or you will fall victim to obesity, heart attacks and epidemics in the corners of the world that you traverse.    

Mayfair, we care.