I have five strange ways to warm up before I paddle. A lot of paddlers out there like to jump out of the shuttle, gear up and hop right in the water. I get it. Whitewater is addicting and we all just want to be in it as fast as possible, but for real, control your excitement and give yourself some time to stretch. Here are some weirdly effective ways you can prep your body and warm up for paddling.
Okay, before you say no, hear me out. I do handstands to warm up for every sport I do. They don’t just teach you balance but they also activate virtually every muscle in you body, especially the shoulders, back and core. Activating major muscle groups can warm up your muscles preventing tears or strains. Next time you paddle, try a handstand against a wall or tree. And if your feeling bold, try it free standing.
2. Frog pose
This one can feel awkward but it can really help stretch your hips. Stretching your hips can make sitting in your tiny kayak more comfortable and can keep your feet from falling asleep. And if you really don’t want to lay on the ground, you can do the less interesting standing frog squat pose. It also does the trick
You might want to get the whole group involved in this one so you look a little less strange. But awkwardness aside, these really do stretch and activate your core and lower back muscles. And I swear these 2 exercises improve my posture in my boat every time I do them.
4. Arm Circles
Aside from just being super fun, arm circles are good exercises to stretch and improve shoulder mobility. And just like any other warm up exercise, they can prevent unwanted injuries.
5. Forward fold (aka: try to touch your toes)
The forward fold is a great way to stretch your hamstrings and can make sitting in your boat for long periods of time much more doable. Less cramps, more comfort.
So yeah, thats 5 weird ways to get your body ready to tackle a day of kayaking. Get freaky with it, tell or friends or do it in a corner where no-one can see you, I don’t really care. But please for the love of your body, warm up before you kayak!