Getting Your Body Ready For Paddling
It’s just about time to put away the skis, snowboards and snowshoes and break out the boats! Before you put in for that first paddle of the spring, I strongly recommend that you spend a little extra time in the gym to get your core muscles ready. Now, let me be clear that I’m not a personal trainer, but I’m a big fan of neck and shoulder presses, lateral raises, and shrugs. I generally start with a 15 minute warmup on the rowing machine to get ready before I run through my half hour circuit of upper body and core exercises. Abdominal exercises like situps and crunches are great for the core because, after all, paddling begins at the core. Adding these types of exercises into your current workout routine will help you avoid overexertion when you take that first trip of the year.
Speaking of your maiden voyage, be sure to take it easy your first time out. Don’t expect to be as strong as you were at the end of last season. I recommend to even the most seasoned sea kayakers that you take your first trip of the season on a pond or small lake to get your rhythm back, revisit basic technique, and take that first Eskimo roll in protected water where you’re less likely to get yourself into trouble. Remember, your first trip of the season is not about going out and doing a 20 miler. It’s about reacquainting yourself with your boat and bringing your paddling skills out of hibernation.
When you’re back on dry land, I recommend doing some windmill stretches with both arms to shed that lactic acid before you bring your boat back to your car. Once you have that first trip under your belt, you can start venturing further afield and exploring the places you didn’t get to last year. If you’re looking to take your paddling and/or your navigation skills to the next level, we offer lessons from beginner to expert at six different locations on the east coast and we’d love the chance to work with you, your family and your friends.
Don’t forget – keep your head above water!