Many of you will be going on “spring openers.” Several days of paddling coupled with going too hard in a big group and for many it’s the first time on the water in a long time - perfect time to get hurt. Now I’m not knocking the concept of the spring opener, but because of the whole group dynamic thing and the fact that we’re excited, we often end up doing too much, too soon. There you are playing on that perfect surf wave, trying new moves that you saw on the latest video over the winter and before you know it, your shot….and you still have several miles and several play spots to go and you have tomorrow to paddle. Just some things to think about. Know when to say when and ease yourself into it.
Thanks to all those who attended my presentation at Canoecopia. Hopefully it spurred some thought on being in shape for paddling and what that really means. There are many aspects that determine whether one is “fit” for what they do. It’s not just about that activity specifically. You may make a good effort to get out on the water several times a week, but what if you have a flexibility issue? What if you have poor posture that crept in over the years? Do you have adequate strength to allow for proper mechanics and functioning of the shoulder? It really is every aspect that you have to think about.
That’s why I encourage everyone to learn as much as possible about the demands of the activity they want to engage in and ask that fundamental question about whether they can handle it safely and enjoyably. Like I mentioned in the presentation, the big disconnect that I see as a health care professional is that people take their bodies for granted and end up doing things above and beyond what they are capable of doing and injuries occur. Understand the demands, assess your own fitness, and from there formulate a plan to get where you need to be. It’s that simple. Then hopefully that transition to the water this spring will be easy.
Like cars, our bodies require regular maintenance to work right. As car owners, we want to make sure they run well, and last a long time. With cars being the complex machines they are, most of us just take em into the shop and let the mechanic do the work. With our bodies though, we have to be our own mechanics. How many know how to do this maintenance though? Does it take advanced training or a degree in exercise physiology? No, but what it does take is a willingness to take ownership of our bodies and realize that we have full control of the shape we're in. With that ownership in mind though, we do need to learn as much as we can. We need to look at the activities we do and have an understanding of the physical demands those activities impose. Understanding the demands helps shape what we need to do to get ready for it. This site hopefully will serve to spark some thought regarding fitness for not only paddling, but for all your outdoor pursuits.
I have to admit I'm not a fitness junky. I don't workout for workout's sake. I don't worry about how much I'm bench pressing (you shouldn't be doing that exercise anyway, but that's for a later post.), what my body fat percentage is or how defined my triceps are. It's not about numbers, but about ability -ability to do the things I want to do for as long as I can. Its as simple as this.
So bookmark this site and check in every now and then. Hopefully, you'll learn a thing or two about getting in shape for paddling and about fitness in general.