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Get Out! Fall Exercise Tips for Fresh-Air Fun

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Row Your Boat

Avoid Catching a Crab: Pro paddler Emily Jackson shares how to stroke, not choke, in a canoe.

  • Row to your toes. To begin your stroke, put the blade of your paddle in the water alongside your toes. (A kayaker, by contrast, goes "tip to hip," meaning the blade enters the water toward the tip of the kayak and is pulled as far back as your hips.)
  • Be superficial. Submerge only about three-quarters of the blade during the stroke, especially if the water is shallow. "Catching a crab" is rowerspeak for when the blade gets stuck in the water -- it can catch on sand or rocks or even get caught in an unruly undercurrent -- and acts like a brake as you get its handle in your gut.
  • Crank it! Don't just sit there as if you're slicing bread -- put your entire core into each stroke. As you pull back the paddle, rotate your torso in the direction of the stroke to amp the power behind it. Pull the blade out once it's alongside your hips.

Get a Grip: Seasoned paddlers have calluses on their palms, making them semi-impervious to blisters. Here's help for the rest of us to avoid this collateral damage.

  • Loosen up. "The trick is not to hold the paddle too tightly," says Martina Wegman, a whitewater-kayaking pro. If you do, not only will your hands tire too quickly when you're white-knuckling, but the friction against your skin will be increased.
  • Swipe away sweat. Clammy palms are ripe for blisters, so wipe them dry from time to time with your bandanna or any dry corner of your outfit. You can also coat your palms with GhostGrip ($8, ghostgrip.com), an antislip antiperspirant that Wegman swears by.
  • Leave the bling at home. Rowers shouldn't put a ring on it, Wegman says. Calluses form where a ring and paddle hit, and the skin below the band gets rubbed raw.

How Not to Look Like a Poseur: So you don't have calluses -- that's not a sign that you're a newbie. But the running sneakers? Real boaters know better than to choose shoes that soak up water and go all slippery when wet. Boat shoes are called boat shoes for a reason, people! Jackson wears Sperry Top-Sider SON-R Sounders ($90, sperrytopsider.com) because they have the telltale zigzag treads that funnel away water when you step on soggy surfaces.

Get Going: Go to paddling.net/launches for a listing of all the nearby places (almost 20,000 are in the database) where you can push off in your kayak or canoe. No boat of your own? Call the location -- a lake marina, say -- ahead of time to see if you can rent equipment. Or take an intro class at the REI Outdoor School (rei.com/outdoorschool), which offers paddling courses in 14 cities nationwide.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2013.

 

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10/27/2013 02:19:11 PM Report Abuse
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