You can paddle your way to fitness with rowing and canoeing . These are lifetime activities that can be enjoyed at any age . Many of the people who take part in these activities think of them as fun, recreational exercises done in nature’s backyard . But it is also possible to derive an excellent workout from both .
How to Get Started
• Before you go on the water, strengthen your abdominals and shoulders and work on increasing your flexibility . Preparing your body before you start will give you a more enjoyable and beneficial workout .
• To row safely and competently, you need to fully understand the four key components to the basic rowing stroke: the catch, the drive, the finish and the recovery . If you are a new rower, ask a fitness professional at your facility to teach you the basics or seek advice from a club coach .
• To paddle safely and to propel your canoe in the right direction, learn the basic paddling strokes . They include: the forward bow stroke, the bow back stroke, the bow sweep, the J stroke, the stern rudder and the stern pry & draw . Community colleges and recreation facilities usually offer courses where you can learn these strokes and more . You can also join a canoeing club .
• Indoors or outdoors, rowing is a demanding but very safe activity . It exercises most of the large muscle groups with- 84out stressing the joints .
• Since you’re seated during rowing and recreational canoeing there is no impact on the feet . Therefore, the injury rate for both is relatively low . If you experience lower back
pain, the repetitive twisting of rowing or spinal flexing and extending of rowing may be too stressful for your back .
• When exercising on water always wear a PFD (personal flotation device—a lifejacket) . Many club rowers and paddlers do not wear flotation devices as it impedes movement .
However, coach boats go out on the water to supervise water safety when this is the case .
• Pace yourself . Rowing can be a demanding activity . Monitor your heart rate at regular intervals to be sure you are working comfortably within your target heart rate zone .
• Rowing shorts, although not a necessity, offer slight padding for your seat and make a long workout more comfortable .
• Close fitting, waist-length shirts are less likely to get caught on the rowing monorail or to interfere with your arm movements .
• Rowing is a total-body exercise . Be sure to emphasize the use of the legs for power production . Beginners often focus on pulling mainly with their upper body . However, when you include leg action you can ensure that you are utilizing your aerobic energy system and deriving all the associated benefits .
• Recreational canoeing is not normally considered an aerobic activity because you don’t use the large muscles in the lower body . But if you belong to a canoe club, the technique you will use for war canoe, C-4, C-2 and C-1 boats require you to kneel . This technique involves your legs and buttocks, making it an aerobic activity .
Rowing and canoeing clubs across the country provide non-competitive and competitive programs, so don’t be nervous about joining . Everyone, from youngsters to people over 65, at various fitness levels, enjoy these activities . or you just might like rowing in the comfort of your home in front of your television