Studies show that warm ups and stretching increase performance and reduce injuries.

Quality stretching should be part of your paddling day or session, even if you are not paddling a daily stretch will increase your range of movement, reduce injuries, and promote healing of injuries.

Here are some very basic stretches, you might want to add your own for specific ones for areas that are giving you a problem. If you want more advice don’t hesitate to contact us at Kayak Caledonia.

Jogging on the spot, jogging around in circles, lifting your arms to the side as you jog, lifting your arm above your head, running on the spot, lifting the knees, we are trying to get our circulation going.

Arms and shoulders
Gently start rolling the shoulders 5 x forward 5 x back, gently start circling the arms one at a time, 5 x forward and 5 x back, gradually bringing the arm up to your ears, change arms. Now circling both arms together 5 x forward 5 x back again bringing them up t your ears. Now one arm forward and one arm back.

Rolling a kayak can really do a number on your neck, and keeping neck muscles loose is vital. Start by nodding your head gently forward and backward. Next, slowly turn your head to each side, looking behind your shoulders. (A variation on this is to tilt your head toward each shoulder.) You may also want to rotate your head clockwise and counter-clockwise. It’s important to do each of these exercises slowly, hold each position (besides the rotating) for a few seconds, and repeat each a few times.

Perform the same types of movements as for the neck, but add one or more paddle-specific movement: while seated on the ground in a normal paddling position, hold your hands out in front of you with arms extended as though you’re holding a paddle. Twist your torso back and forth, holding each twisted position for 15 seconds. Repeat a few times.

While seated, reach forward and hold your toes, keeping your legs straight. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat a few times. While standing, spread your legs apart greater than shoulder width, and reach for your toes or the ground. Hold for 15 seconds, and then come back up slowly. (Don’t bounce.) Repeat, moving your feet closer to each other each time (three or four reps) until they’re touching, and reaching as far as you can, holding for 15 seconds.

Make sure to roll your wrists and ankles clockwise and counter-clockwise a few times. Also, take hold of your fingers on one hand with the other, and alternately bend your hand back (toward the top of your forearm) and forward (toward the bottom of your forearm), holding it in each position for 15 seconds. Do this for each hand.

Stretching your torso and legs will also help loosen your lower back. All stretches should be performed both before and after you paddle. A good stretching program will keep you on the water longer, more often, and with greater enjoyment. And – as a bonus – you’ll find you feel better in all your daily activities.

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