Kayaking can be highly versatile: It can be done at almost any intensity level or length of time. Obviously, it is important to have a certain level of fitness before you start. Getting fit for kayaking can be accomplished with our tips and advice below.
If you’re just looking for a break, you can jump in a boat for an hour on a nearby lake, flatwater river, or quiet ocean bay.
If you’re looking for a longer time on the water, then you can plan accordingly.
You can choose between a relaxing paddle or engaging in a wind sprint developed to enhance your strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Table of Contents
- 1 Stretching your muscles: 3 sets of stretches
- 2 Make it a habit to stretch before and after kayaking
- 3 Getting fit for kayaking with a physical fitness program
- 4 Additional advantages of more physical strength
Stretching your muscles: 3 sets of stretches
Many newbie kayakers like to stretch before starting out, replicating movements that will be done while kayaking.
Stretching before each kayak excursion will help you avoid injuries like tendinitis and dislocations and lessen muscle soreness due to stress. It will also improve your movement on the water.
The following 3 stretches are perfect for your experience on the water, promoting a more effective way of paddling without injury, whether training solo or in company.
Stretch gently to the point where you feel the stretch. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat 3 times for each set.
Your torso will be stretched in the same 3 movements used while kayaking.
Warming up first is recommended
We suggest that before doing them, you engage in a short warm-up.
Some light running or imitating paddling movements will suffice for example.
Stretch your hamstrings
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Lift and straighten one leg and bring it near your ankle, gently pulling it toward you.
If you have difficulty reaching your leg with your hands, use a towel or a resistance band.
Twist your torso: Getting fit for kayaking
Sit on the ground as if you are in a kayak, with your legs straight in front of you.
Turn your chest and shoulders and concentrate on feeling the stretch in your upper body.
If you do the same in your kayak, you will see how helpful this stretch is. You will be pointing simultaneously at both ends.
Stretch into a C shape
Stand with your feet apart. Raise your hands above your head and lace your fingers together.
Gradually, lower your arms to the side, bending at the waist, still joined at the hands, so your body makes a C shape.
If you’re doing this correctly, you should feel a stretch in the side you are leaning away from.
Managed? Well done! You’ve done the C-stretch!
Make it a habit to stretch before and after kayaking
Before each paddle, you should do a warm-up and some stretching.
Stretching as a cool down after the exercise will help prevent muscle soreness and stiffness the day after.
Getting fit for kayaking with a physical fitness program
Rowing is the optimum fitness exercise for kayaking. Many elite kayakers believe that the best way to improve is to spend as much time as possible on the water.
It seems pretty obvious, however this is due to the cardinal rule of sports training: practice.
The more prepared you are, the better (and thus more enjoyable) your kayaking performance.
Besides kayaking as a way of improving your physical fitness levels, you can also prepare your body before going out on the water, and this will only serve to make your experience more enjoyable.
In this light, we like to point out an interesting frequently asked question: Does kayaking burn belly fat?
Additional advantages of more physical strength
You will have higher energy levels and you’ll be able to kayak for longer without feeling tired.
Your increased strength will be a bonus when it comes to other kayaking-related tasks, such as carrying your gear and the high weight capacity kayak for bigger paddlers.
You’ll find that being stronger will be a blessing when you encounter windy days. Tip: To face wind and water, the right plus-size kayak clothing is necessary!
More strength means more versatility. Hence, your whole body will help you stroke stronger and more efficiently.
One of the essential tips for novice kayakers: Engaging in a basic physical fitness program at your local gym or fitness club will definitely make your kayaking days more enjoyable.
Ask one of the club’s fitness specialists to teach you a general physical fitness program.
Tip: Make sure that you request a couple of upper-body workouts to help your paddling! And read our tips about how to paddle stroke a kayak too!