Posted on September 23, 2019 by Jeff Hale
Stand up paddle boarding is one of those rare forms of exercise that benefits the mind, body, and soul. Which is probably why it’s the fastest growing water sport in America. But according to ISLE Ambassador January Newland -- our resident certified holistic nutritionist, personal trainer, and all-around wellness maven -- if you push yourself too hard in the water, you could set yourself up for an injury. So what’s the solution to avoid potential aches and pains? Some easy paddle board stretching exercises to increase mobility.
Like any physical activity with repetitive movements, paddle boarding can put some strain on your muscles and joints. While injuries from paddle boarding are few and far between, it’s still important to prepare your muscle groups and joints before your paddling session. But it’s even more important to spend the time to take care of your body after your paddle with some post-surf stretching, especially if you’re new to paddle boarding. Follow January’s easy-to-do routine and you’ll be able to push yourself in the water with confidence.
When you participated in physical education in school, stretching before any exercise was an absolute must. But recent expert opinion on the subject is pointing to the importance of a gradual and active “warm-up” period before exercise.
Researchers are finding that stretching healthy muscles before you exercise does not prevent injury. In fact, clinical research published in the Journal of Athletic Training in 2005 found that “pre-exercise stretching of the major lower extremity musculature using a specific stretching protocol does not result in a meaningful reduction of lower extremity injury risk.”
Instead, you’ll want to focus on getting your blood flowing to the right muscle groups and loosening your joints. Here are five dynamic stretches and warm-up exercises you should add to your pre-paddle routine.
Basic bodyweight squats are a great way to warm-up the lower body for standing on a SUP.
This quick routine is great for warming up the muscles and joints needed to balance on your board.
The lunge to lean warm-up includes lateral movement for your spine while also strengthening your core and obliques to prepare your body for paddling.
Some easy plank to Down Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) will help warm-up your core and shoulders, essential areas of the body for paddling power.
The wide-leg twist will increase blood flow and flexibility to help get your shoulders, lats, and core prepped for paddling.
You probably didn’t do much stretching at the end of your physical education class in school. But truth be told, the best time to stretch is when your muscles are loose and warm. That’s why so many people enjoy practicing types of yoga, like Bikram, where the studio is heated to 105 degrees. So, before you pack up your gear after a nice long stand up paddle board adventure, you’ll want to take some time to address the muscle groups you used during your workout.
This is the same basic movement from your pre-paddle warm-up, but now with a hold to release your hip flexors and obliques.
Help your back, forearms, and shoulder muscles and joints after a good paddling workout.
Known as Uttana Shishosana to yoga practitioners around the world, the puppy pose is a great paddle board stretching exercise for your lats and lower back. It’s an excellent way to make sure your back feels relaxed on the ride home after a long day of paddling.
The paddle stretch is an excellent way to help delicate shoulder joints and muscles recuperate.
Your feet have so many muscles that work hard when barefoot and balancing -- this one can get intense!
The cobra stretch will feel amazing in your stomach and entire core after a few hours on the water. This type of paddle board stretching feels more like a reward than an exercise.
Injuries from paddle boarding are rare. That being stated, listening to your body is the easiest way to prevent an injury on the water. You can help prepare your body by getting the blood flowing to the right muscles before you exert them too much with some easy paddle board warm-ups. Finally, performing post-surf stretches after your muscles are warm will help improve your joint range of motion, mobility, and athletic performance while reducing your risk of chronic injury.
A very special thanks to January Newland for inviting us to Wild Island Collective for our photo demonstration.
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