Weather you are using kayaking to get fit or you want to get fit to improve your paddling, I want to give you some tools to help you. No matter what kind of kayaker you are, weather it is flat water,in white water or out in the ocean, maintaining aerobic fitness will help you enjoy kayaking more and will also prevent injuries.Kayaking is an excellent form of aerobic workout. Kayaking is not just for teenagers and 20 year olds, I have found recently people in their forties and fifties are not content anymore to just take up the traditional sports of this age group of either golf or bowls. Maybe it is because I am in this age group that I think this way. I think it is has to do with our life style and the mentality of the so called ” Baby Boomer Generation.” We are more adventurous by nature.
If you are in this age group there is no rule that says you have to stop living, far to the contrary. Now is the time when your kids are off your hands and you have more time to pursue other activities or maybe you want to enjoy these activities with your family. To start paddling you will need a basic level of fitness. Of course you may need to check with your health professional if you haven’t done any exercise for some time. So it may help to do some walking and swimming to build up your fitness a little before you start something completely new. Swimming is a good activity because you may find yourself doing a little swimming while you are learning to balance your kayak. Also being able to swim is essential to be able to save yourself when you capsize.
As I have already mentioned paddling is good for aerobic fitness but is also good for strength conditioning, core muscle building and flexibility.I am sure your mental health can also improve by being out in the outdoors and fresh air. Paddling a kayak , canoe or siton top kayak along a river or dam or out on the ocean will beat doing exercises on a machine in a gym and you will be having so much fun you won’t even realise you are exercising.
If you don’t know anyone with some experience to teach you some kayaking techniques you can look for some information on the web or read a book. I will be giving you my advise over future posts. The main practical way to learn is to get out there and start paddling. A friend of mine always says every new paddler when they get in a kayak for the first time gets a new box of circles. Meaning the kayak goes around in circles and the only way to learn how to paddle a kayak straight is use up all the circles. The easiest way to find someone with experience is to contact a local canoe or kayak club. Club members are usually only to happy to help someone who is keen to learn.
In future posts I will go into some exercises that you can do on & off the water to help with your balance, aerobic fitness, strength, core muscle building and flexibility. I have also found some yoga poses which can help in this area. This will be a series of posts to make into a complete paddle fitness building package.
Illistrations supplied by Ashlea Swan http://ashleaswan.com/