Last spring I was well on the way to a great year of kayaking. I set out at least once a week for a good 25 km paddle leading up to one epic day circumnavigating my home island of Salt Spring. (I am aiming to beat my best time this spring). I was feeling better and better with each paddle stroke until I made the grand mistake of bagging a full time job and within a couple of weeks I was side-lined with numbness and pain in both my forearms and wrists. With years of paddling I had not succumbed to the kayaker’s complaint of tendonitis, it took an 8-hour shift five days a week doing something repetitive and apparently stressful that caused such an extreme flare-up. I was gobsmacked by this turn of events as I have worked with my hands all my life and this was the first time it had become an issue. Coupled with being staggeringly pooped at the end of the day the idea of getting out on the water in the evenings, or on the weekends was a struggle of time and pain management. Reluctantly, I hung up the paddle for the season and tended to earning a few bucks while dealing with a certain amount of chronic pain. The result being that too much time on land has made me crazy.
Not this year! I am off work for the winter and looking for something less taxing on the old joints than the old job. Options open I am spending the time reacquainting myself with my lovely wooden kayak, which currently resides in the workshop while getting a fresh new look. I am also looking into exercises to use for kayaking now that the specter of tendonitis and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome CTS are looming over my head. I accept that this will alter my paddling, then again, maybe not. I feel the arms healing already and eager to get back in the seat of my kayak. But, a new regime of preparation and daily stretching is in order to help prevent or at least dull the lingering affects.
While investigating various ways of easing the pain and suffering I may now achieve with each paddle stroke I found this short but informative video on youtube. Very simple exercises to add to my regular paddling stretching before and after a day on the water. I thought I would share this as I know there are paddlers out there popping anti inflammatory tablets as I speak.