Re: Sleepless in the work

Posted by Robert N Pruden on Feb 1, 2006

By using proper paddling technique you can actually strengthen your back muscles and aleviate past pains. You have to start slowly by paddling for shorter periods of time and work yourself up to longer treks lasting two or more days. You know you are doing well if you paddle and your back doesn't hurt. As you feel better during those shorter day paddles, inscrease the length of time you paddle. By using this method, in short order you can paddle whole weekends without the worry of pain afterward.

Those plastic rental things generally are not very comfortable and can cause you to have to sit in a position that your back and legs are not used to.

Back strain is an insidious injury - you don't know you have it until after you are done the strenuous exercise. I took up paddling due to neck and back injuries sustained via nasty multi-vehicle collision. The paddling has made all the difference in the world for me - even strengthened my body up enough that I could get back into marathon running.

If you have a pre-existing back injury and are not used to paddling, paddling will cause a problem if you do too much too soon. That said, paddling should improve your overall condition if you "grow" into it slowly. Let your body tell you when it is time to quit. If you are experiencing that familliar burning sensation while paddling, either you have paddled for too long that day or you are using incorrect technique and straining your body unnecessarily. In brief, proper paddling technique uses a straight-backed full torso rotation instead of pulling the paddle through the water using shoulders only. Paddling with shoulders only causes the back muscles to stretch in unfamilliar ways with heavy loads, hence the strain you feel later on, a feeling that is especially poignant after a long days paddle. Think of how you have felt after walking longer distances than your legs have been used to: feet and legs are swollen and sore, lower back hurts, you hunch your back more because your back muscles are tired. Paddling is much the same only it affects a different set of muscles.

Hope this helps.

Robert N Pruden

In Response to: Sleepless in the workshop by Chris J. on Jan 31, 2006