If the idea of being on the water over the winter period is something you just don’t do or want to do, it still remains important to keep in shape during this cold period, where nights are long and the days are short. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere this is what we are now enduring and it’s only going to get worse. Firstly, if your level of physical activity is going to drop, it’s important you maintain a healthy diet or indeed improve your diet if you feel the need to do so. By good food alone and sensible nutrition and intake over this cold period you can hope to maintain for longer your general level of fitness gains achieved in the spring, summer months. Think of your life in terms of aerobic and anaerobic which simple means maintaining good cardiovascular / respiratory health and musculature, together with strengthening and indeed repairing all joints and sinews that hold us together which may have been stressed during the summer. Walking over extended distances can be as beneficial as jogging / running and if you’re not a natural runner, walking will be the better option and then there’s alway cycling. Few aerobic activities beat swimming and as a cross-training partner to a water sports activity it is at the top of the list if you can find a place to practice it.
Yoga and pilates are superb activities for reasons well known and obvious and indeed in respect of paddlers, they are some of the most inflexible athletes on account of simply building muscle in such a way as to shorten all the fibres not lengthen. You could spend some time in the gym but always under guidance with specific goals in mind to achieve. Invest in an indoor rowing machine which can be refitted with a canoe paddle via an adaptor. One of the reasons many paddlers spend time in the gym, is to work the muscle groups not used in paddling or windsurfing in order to balance the body out, while at the same time working on the muscles needed for the particular activity. Above all, keep moving over winter if not on the water, then over the land or indeed in a gym or swimming pool as mentioned. With a regime in-situ that works for you, you will be ready to take advantage more immediately of the improved weather in the spring time.
And never rule out some water time on the board during the winter on those days when the weather is mild and calm when you can make the most of it – check the forecast and stay alert to ceasing the day – some of your best days can be on the water in winter when few are around and waterways are quieter. Consider also, with investment in the correct winter and paddling clothing you could actually spend more days on the water than you may have imagined and luckily, Mistral have a range of technical apparel which make it perfectly possible and pleasant to enjoy winter days on board!