Even though many of us are still deep within the frigid winter, it is never too early to begin planning the return to the spring rafting season! Whitewater rafting is a sport that actively combines exercise with adrenaline in such a way that most people don’t even realize how hard they are working because they are having so much fun! Because of this, it is important to try and spend some time conditioning before your first spring rafting trip. Weight and cardiovascular training can help strengthen the muscles that are commonly used in white water rafting, helping to prevent injures caused by overuse. Of course, it is always best to consult with your doctor before beginning any sort of exercise routine, but we have created a list of some of our favorite tips for getting fit for the water!
Any fitness program should be started and increased gradually! If your body starts to get sore, it is important to consider the source of the pain and whether or not you should continue at the same difficulty. Like with rafting, reading the conditions of your vessel (raft or body!) when determining whether or not your fitness program is really working. For more information about specific exercises or how to get in shape, contact your local gym.
Here are some guidelines that we suggest when getting into shape:
- Variety is important! Just like on the water, it is important to experience a variety of different environments and actions to ensure balance and fun!
- Stay hydrated. Water makes up most of our bodies, and as we start to sweat and become more efficient, it becomes increasingly essential to maintain hydration. Before you raft, it may be helpful to spend a few days drinking extra water to make up for what will be lost on the river.
- Working out should be fun. If you hate it, you are more likely to be sloppy with your motions and hurt yourself. Find an activity that keeps you active and interested.
- Listen to your body! I know we already mentioned this, but it is valuable enough to bring up twice. An injury in the winter can mean a missed rafting season in the spring.
- Invest in safe and comfortable equipment. Poorly fitting or cheaply made equipment is likely to break and often more difficult to use. Once you have determined that your workout will be a long-term pattern, invest in quality equipment.
- Make time to work out. Intense exercise for 3 hours on one day is not the same as moderate exercise for 1 hour over 3 days. In fact, it is worse. Spread your exercising out and your body and brain will thank you.
- Stay motivated. How many days until rafting season? Watch movies and read books to get your mental self ready for the water.
- Get your friends involved. Working out is much more fun when it is a social activity. Group fitness classes are a great way to meet people too!
- Go outside! If the weather is cooperating (or you are brave enough), get outside into the fresh air – it really is good for you. This is especially true as you get closer to your rafting adventure!
- Feed yourself properly. If you are working hard both at your exercise program and your daily life, it is essential that you fuel your body with the right choices. Lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and dairy can help to meet these needs.
These are some of our favorite tips to help make the best of the late winter/early spring workout routine! Of course, we know that nothing can really make up for a weekend on the whitewater – but we can at least help to pass the time more quickly
Do you have a workout or health tip that you think should be here? Leave it in a comment below!