A certain level of physical fitness is necessary for safely enjoying a trip in a
kayak. Good physical conditioning may mean the difference between
rescuing yourself or needing help, being able to help others and avoiding
paddler fatigue that can result in poor decision making and the inability to
control the kayak. Good general fitness is needed to help avoid injuries.
Four basic factors contribute to an appropriate level of fitness. A certain
amount of strength is needed to carry the kayak to the water or portage
around unnavigable obstacles. Strength is also needed to complete
rigorous paddle strokes, especially in white water situations.
Additionally, flexibility is a factor in performing the most effective paddle
strokes and 먹튀검증 lessens the likelihood of stiffness. A strong core is an important
element of the flexibility required for paddling. While strength and
flexibility enable the paddler to perform effective strokes, endurance is
required for longer or more strenuous strips. Better endurance prevents or
delays exhaustion that can put a paddler as well as others in the group at
risk. Cardio-respiratory fitness is directly related to endurance. The
more efficiently oxygenated blood reaches the muscles, the more efficiently
they function. This also refers to the ability to exert yourself without
straining the heart and tiring quickly. In a worst case scenario, too much
exertion and stress could lead to a heart attack.
To prepare for a trip in your kayak, it is a good idea to spend a little time
performing some simple stretches for each set of muscles, beginning at the
head and working down to the toes. These exercises are also good for
every-day routines and off season training. To get more out of some
elements of your stretching routine, use a paddle or some stationary object
for support and resistance. The idea of these movements is to gently
stretch your muscles, not to strain them. Use slow, steady pressure for
- Head and neck ? Gently lean your ear to the shoulder, using
your hand on the same side for additional pressure. Switch to the
other side and repeat.
- Shoulders ? Lift your arms straight out from your shoulders
and move them in small circles, rotating forward for a while, then
- Triceps ? With one arm over your head, bend it at the elbow to
reach behind your neck. With the other hand at your side, bend
the elbow to reach up behind your back. Each hand should clasp
the fingers of the other hand and gently pull. Switch arms and
repeat. Another option is to raise one arm up and bend it at the
elbow so your hand is touching the back of your neck or upper
spine. Use the other arm to gently add pressure to the arm as if to
get it to reach farther down your back. Switch and repeat.
- Biceps and forearms ? Extend one arm out straight in front
of you with the palm facing up. With the other hand, grasp the
fingers and pull on them, keeping both arms straight.
- Chest ? Put your hands behind your back, one hand holding on
to the opposite wrist. Keeping the arms as straight as possible, lift
your hands alternating hand to wrist positions. Another option is
to brace your straight arm raised almost to shoulder height and
push against the brace while rotating your body away from it.
- Back ? Cross your straight are over your chest and catch it with
the other arm which should be bent at the elbow with the fist up.
Use the bent arm to press the straight arm back into the chest.
- Core ? This demands special attention because it is the source
of power and the performance of the most effective paddling
strokes. You will be stretching front to back and side to side. With
your hands on your hips and feet shoulder width apart, slowly
bend straight back from the waist while maintaining a normal
breathing pattern then lean forward the same way. With your
hands on top of your head and your feet shoulder width apart,
slowly lean to the side from the waist without leaning forward,
return to the upright position and repeat on the other side.
- Quads ? Stand comfortably up straight. Keeping your knee
pointing to the ground, raise one flexed foot up towards your butt
and hold the position. Slowly lower your foot and repeat the
procedure with the other foot. Use a support to maintain your
- Gluteal Muscles ? While lying on your back, bend one leg at
the knee and raise it to your chest using both hands to apply
gentle pressure. Slowly straighten that leg and repeat with the
- Groin ? With your legs spread farther apart than shoulder
width and keeping you back straight over your center of gravity,
bearing your weight. Hold the position, slowly return to the
upright position and lunge to the other side.
- Hamstrings ? Without locking your knees, stand with your
feet wider than shoulder width, bend forward from the waist and
try to grab your ankles (or the back of your legs as far down as you
can). Return to the upright position and repeat the process, but
alternate between holding each ankle separately after each
- Calves ? Either starting from a standing position and putting
your hands on the ground or from a kneeling position with your
hands on the ground in front of you, form an overturned V with
straight arms and legs, applying pressure equally over your hands
- Ankles ? While standing or sitting, extend a leg out so the foot
is off the ground and slowly rotate the ankle to perform circles
both clockwise and counterclockwise. Switch legs and repeat.
It is also a good idea to test your range of motion in the kayak while
wearing a PFD. Perform some simple torso twists and side to side and back
and forth stretches. After a day of paddling, cooling off with the warm up
stretches helps to prevent stiffness.
Unless you participate in kayaking excursions in extreme conditions or in
exotic places all around the world, you will probably have an ‘off season’.
Don’t let that down time ruin any physical conditioning you have gained in
the course of kayaking! There are plenty of opportunities to stay in shape
so your body is ready for the next kayaking adventure.
Cross training is the best way to keep fit for paddling. There are cardio
activities to support endurance and proper blood oxygenation and
strength exercises to keep muscles in good shape. Swimming is an
excellent exercise because it works on both aspects of fitness. It gets your
blood flowing faster, works many muscle groups and aids flexibility.
Combining swimming with basic diagonal crunches, pushups and pull ups
that are easy to do anywhere help maintain fitness. Other activities such as
aerobics or jogging, bicycling on the road or in the gym and a variety of
weight and resistance activities that mimic the motions of paddling will
keep you interested in the routine and hopefully enable you to have some
fun at the same time.
Nutrition and Hydration
For someone to maintain physical fitness and mental alertness, it is crucial
to eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. If you are
anticipating a particularly strenuous outing, more calories will be burned
than if you are paddling along a calm river or still lake so you may need
additional food to supply the energy. Calories derived from fresh fruits,
vegetables and whole grains are the most beneficial to your body along
with lean meats and fish or some other protein substitute.
On a day trip or longer excursion, snacking on some fruit, ‘trail mix’ as well as something
salty keeps your blood chemistry in line so you remain alert and can focus
without suffering from hunger. Similarly, adequate hydration is needed to
avoid confusion and tiredness. Roughly 200 - 250 ml of water should be
consumed every 20 - 30 minutes throughout the trip. It is almost impossible to drink too much water but it surprisingly easy to become