In this two-part blog, we will talk about how to keep your mind and body in great rafting shape for the spring water! In the first entry, we will cover some great resources for keeping your mind focused. In addition, we will go over some indoor exercises that can be done to keep your rafting muscles warm even when the water is cold.
Mental strength and understanding are also important parts of rafting. In order to ensure the strength of your mind for the season, it may be helpful to watch movies that emphasize the motions and technique of the rafters, many of which can be found on YouTube. There are also many great books about rafting, covering every topic imaginable; ranging from history to technique to different destinations around the world. One great resource online for the avid water enthusiast is paddling.about.com. Although many of the topics and articles are about kayaking, it is still often relevant and interesting information for the rafting enthusiast. By studying the ideas behind rafting, not only will you keep your brain prepared for the spring, but you will also pass the time more quickly!
Rafting requires quite a bit of physical fitness, so it is important in the winter (even when you can’t get outside) that you still maintain a base level of fitness to ensure a smoother transition back into the water. One important aspect of your winter fitness plan involves strengthening your endurance in the water by developing your cardiovascular system on the ground (or, in the pool). A great way to keep up this fitness and also keep you focused is with a rafting machine. If you don’t have access to one, you can still spend time running, dancing, having snowball fights, or chasing the dog to get your cardio time in! In addition to the cardiovascular system, strong shoulders are essential to any rafting success. There are a variety of shoulder exercises that can be done without even leaving your house. Pushups and weights are an easy and inexpensive way to keep up your shoulders that can be customized as you become stronger.
If you make sure that you spend some time every week (or day!) maintaining your body and your brain, you are sure to find the spring rafting season to be a great one! We can’t wait to see you in 2014 on the New River Gorge!