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Stretching for Kayaking

February 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 179

Lately there has been some controversy about whether it is better to stretch before or after exercise. Perhaps the best gauge of this is how your own body reacts to stretching. If you start your exercise with jogging and your body tells you "no" it might be better to begin with something less strenuous. For kayaking, you may want to start your warm-up from head to toe. It is also important to breathe consistently throughout any form if aerobic activity. You may want to stretch your gluteal, hamstrings, and your calf muscles gently until you can touch your toes with ease. With stretching of muscles, one method may not be right for all. Experiment and listen to your body and how it reacts to the different forces put upon it. Let's start at the top and work down.

Head and Neck: Paddling demands your attention to what's around you like changes in wave patterns, weather, and obstacles ahead such as rocks, a half sunken tree, or a change in the grade of the river causing the water's velocity increasing into rapids. You have to be able to swivel your head to observe these changes. This requires a flexible neck.

Head and Neck: Press your ear toward your shoulder. Use your hand to add additional pressure and repeat on the opposite side. As you do this, increase the tension on both sides.

Shoulders: You can injure your shoulders if you rely too much on your arms for the paddle stroke. This is typically the result of making your shoulders work in a way that they are not accustomed. So, slowly extend your arms in a horizontal direction, keeping them loose and rotating them in small circles in both directions. Start with small circles and gradually increase the diameter of the circles.

Chest: When paddling, you increase the tension on the pectoral muscles in your body core. Join your hands behind your back, grab your wrist and elevate your arms upward. This can be done in a number of ways. You can use a stationary object such as a pole, tree, or some willing bystander.

Back: Bring one arm across your chest, hook it with your other arm and squeeze your arm above your chest. You should feel the muscles stretch between your shoulder and spine.

Biceps: Hold one arm out in a horizontal position with palm facing up. With the other hand, grab the outstretched hand, hold on to your fingers and pull back..

Triceps: Raise one arm above your head, then bending the elbow, lower your forearm behind your head. With your other hand grab your elbow and slowly pull so your fingers extend down your spine.

Core: Abdominal muscles play a major part in proper kayak stroking, so they should be trained and strengthened. With your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands on your head and slowly bend to one side. You should start to feel the muscles on that side of your body stretch. Switch sides and repeat. Next, place your hands on your hips and slowly bend backwards so your chest faces the sky. Don't forget to breathe.

Groin: Stand with your feet apart, slightly wider than your shoulders. Keeping your back perpendicular to the ground, lunge to one side, keeping the other leg straight. You should start to feel the stretch on the inside of your straight leg.

Quadriceps: Stand up-right leaning against something like a tree or building, bring your heel up to your butt and grab the ankle and pull. Point your knee straight down at the ground while holding this stretch.

Hamstrings: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart without locking your knees. Bend forward at the waist, grab your ankles and pull your body core toward your legs. Stand up straight and breathe. No, bend down in the same way and hold on to one of your ankles and press your body toward your legs.

Calves: Start on the ground on your hands and knees, put the balls of your feet on the ground and slowly straighten your legs so that your body forms an inverted V.

This may sound like a lot of work, but flexibility is a very important part of enjoying the sport of kayaking and could be critical if you inadvertently go for a swim and have to return to the boat.

If you want to learn more about kayaks or you want to purchase a kayak, come to http://www.oceanstatekayaks.com Article written by Dale S. Nelson

Source: EzineArticles
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