We don’t often think about having a formal regimen to warm up for a day of paddling. I know mine often consists of a practice roll and then paddling a few strokes in order to peel out of the eddy. In reality, a lot of our warm up happens on the river. For newer paddlers, however, even being on the river can be a place of dis-ease, but warming up is just as important. As a yoga instructor and general river enthusiast I have put together some guidelines to creating a land-based warm-up to prepare your body for a day of paddling, before you even get on the water. Warming up lessens your risk for injury, increases performance, and even helps out with the psychological aspect of the sport.
Before paddling, repetitive movements that focus more on engagement and less on long-deep holds will prepare your body better for movement. In order to spread more oxygenated blood throughout our body we want to increase our heart-rate. This could be anything from sun salutations to lunges and squats. Save the longer stretches for the take-out.