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I noticed on my few trips out on my kayak that I ended up getting some aches and pains setting up after a few hours on the water.
As a PT (Physical Therapist) I thought I might be able to provide some tips to fellow kayakers on ways to prevent some of the aches and pains that may set in while kayak fishing.

Many of you are doing some types of stretching or moving around to limit your own aches and pains already, or you have upgraded your seating systems with improved back supports.
Long term sitting in one place can cause a number of problems: back pain, cramps, numbness and tingling, or circulation problems in your legs.

If anyone has ever taken a long plane ride, the airlines will give you exercises to do to prevent most of these problems, along with avoiding the risk of blood clots in the legs.

My job as a PT is to help people recover from injuries, surgeries, as well as aches and pains, but we also like to show people what they can do to prevent problems before they arise.

So….here are some things I have tried while on my kayak that may also help you.

Follow these simple rules and you might be able to stay out on the water longer which could possibly lead to catching more fish.

**Practice on your floor or couch first, then try the exercises on your kayak.

RULES:
  • Perform all exercises in slow motion, very small movements, safely, and controlled.
  • DO NOT stretch to the point of pain, only feel a good stretch.
  • Do a little bit often. (Try some of the exercises while tying on your next lure)
  • Always consult with your Doctor or local PT before trying any exercise.


LOW BACK:
  • Paddling trunk muscle stretch: Slowly bend forward, rotating and reaching toward your OPPOSITE calf or ankle. Hold 20-30 sec. Repeat both sides.

BACK and BUTT:
  • Butt march: Slowly shift your weight attempting to hike one hip, then the other nearly off the seat. (Picture a fish you just caught hanging and wiggling above the water on your line, mimic this but in slow motion). Repeat several times.
  • Forward and Backward rocker: Slowly press your low back into your seat back, then push your stomach out forward. Repeat several times.
  • Kayak Combo: Combine both above movements by moving your hips and stomach like they are swirling in a bucket or going down the drain. Repeat several times.

LEGS:
  • Hamstring stretch: With your legs straight, gently lean forward about 1-2 inches while keeping your back perfectly straight. (Keep your chest and head up). Feel the stretch in the back of the legs. Hold 20-30 sec.
  • Calf stretches: Slowly flex your toes up toward your shins. (legs straight) Hold for 20-30 sec.
  • Heel slides: (for numbness and tingling) slide your heels up and down along the bottom of your boat repeating both side often. No need for those using a Hobie)
  • Ankle circles (for numbness and tingling) Rotate your ankles/feet in circles several times.

UPPER BACK:
  • Shoulder blade squeeze: Slowly pull your shoulder blades and elbows back, try to feel a stretch in your chest. Hold 20-30 sec.

We all start to figit around when we start to feel aches and pains. That is just your body telling you that it is time to move. Don’t wait for that to happen, just do a little bit of these exercises often, and you may not feel the pain.

Other hints:
  • Never sit on your wallet.
  • Good posture is hard to maintain for long periods of time, but at least think about your posture more and try to make several corrections to sit up straight and pull your shoulders back. This will help you in the long run to avoid pain and that hunch back posture as you age.

Sorry that this was long, but I could not give you pictures.
Let me know if you have any questions on the exercises.

Chris….PT Yakker
 

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Randy
Can we move this into the Kayak-fishing Articles section so it doesn't get lost?

Good stuff, PT!
I need to submit my fishing bills to the insurance company -- my MD really did agree that it ought to be good for my blood pressure. (It'd probably help more if I could go out more than twice a month...)
 

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Good stuff Chris. Welcome to the site. I've Learned that you don't normally have to keep your kayak under you. Sometimes you are much better off parking and getting out. Most salt marsh fishing is done near the shoreline. If you plan ahead and wear proper clothing and footwear, wading and fishing from shore can beat fighting wind and current. It also helps prevent the problems caused by staying in the "saddle" for long periods. I have also thrown a fold up chair in my yak so I could sit down while fishing from shore . That is helpful too.
 

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Randy
Good stuff, PT!
I need to submit my fishing bills to the insurance company -- my MD really did agree that it ought to be good for my blood pressure.
That's how I got my 'yak. Told my wife that my hypertension specialist said that I needed to get out and exercise more. Seemed like the right thing to do. Now, if I could find time to get out and paddle ... and some water to paddle in.
 
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