Most people are so excited to go kayaking that they try to get into their boats as fast as they can. Unfortunately, this is often at the expense of proper stretching beforehand. Since kayaking involves muscles and joints from the whole body
, it is obviously a good idea to have a comprehensive stretching routine for kayaking
. Here is a list of stretches that kayakers can easily do before kayaking, while taking a break on a kayaking trip, or afterward.
Stretching Your Core Muscles For Kayaking
While many paddlers wear out their arms kayaking, that is not the intended muscle group to do the brunt of the exercise when paddling. The core muscles, such as the abdominals, the hips, and portions of the back do the majority of the work when proper kayaking technique is used. It is therefore ironic that stretches that focus on the these areas are usually neglected by kayakers. Here are some stretches you can do to ensure your core muscles are ready to go when you go kayaking.
Stretching the Shoulders for Kayaking
The shoulder muscles definitely need to be stretched and kept healthy in order for maximum flexibility and the range of motion needed for kayaking. Furthermore, Loose shoulder muscles are important for a healthy and properly functioning rotator cuff, which is a key body part utilized in kayaking. Here are some stretches to keep your shoulders in tip-top kayaking shape.
Lower Back Stretch for Kayaking
Whether it be from the twisting and turning in the kayak, practicing rolls, or just sitting too long with poor back support, the lower back can take a toll in kayaking. Of course, if you have lower back problems to begin with, kayaking merely exacerbates this. Even though I included this in the core muscle section above, here are some lower back stretches to make sure you don't pull or overwork your lower back while kayaking.
Arm Stretches for Kayaking
The arms should mainly be transferring the work done by the core muscles in paddling. Still, even if they aren't generating the power, they obviously are playing a role in propelling the kayak across the water. It therefore makes sense to stretch the biceps, triceps, and forearms when kayaking so that these muscles are loose and ready to go.
Stretches for Hamstrings for Kayaking
While many people don't think of stretching their hamstrings for kayaking, it is actually very important. Taller boaters know this all too well, as they tend to feel more cramped while sitting in their kayaks for longer periods of time.
Stretching Your IT Band for Kayaking
While it doesn't seem the Iliotibial Band does much in kayaking, when it tightens up due to lack of use, it sure can get sore. So, even though the legs aren't doing the work in kayaking, their lack of use can cause the IT Band to tighten up, while the gluteus maximus, or rear end muscles used in sitting stay loose. This causes an imbalance in the muscles which leads to pain both while kayaking, and afterward.