Winter can be a tough time of year when it comes to your health. Its cold out, gets dark quicker, and with all of the holidays and surrounding activities there just doesn’t seem to be the time to keep to a regular exercise routine. Many people hang up their paddles in winter, but if properly equipped, dragon paddling can still be enjoyed and risk minimized.
Some paddlers take spare clothes in a waterproof pack. If they get wet, they go to land to change into dry clothes. Avoid clothes that are highly absorbent and slow drying. Cotton is poor, wool is better, but many synthetic materials absorb little water and are fast drying. Polyester or polypropylene clothing is popular because it is effective in moving moisture away from skin and into outer layers of clothing, where it can evaporate. It is fabricated into both thin materials and fleece-like piles. Dress in layers to allow for adjusting to variable weather. Waterproof shells are important as an outer layer to add protection from the cooling effect of wind and evaporation. Breathable shells allow water vapor to escape but keep wind and water out.
Weather and condition appropriate closed-toe footwear should be worn. Neoprene socks and booties are great for cold water paddling.
Sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm should be worn even on cold days when the sun is out. It’s amazing how exposure to the sun while out on the water can really have damaging effects on your body even when it isn’t that hot out. The lip balm will also help protect you from unnecessary discomfort caused by the wind.
Water and Snack
Even if you are only going to paddling for a short period of time it is essential to bring a full water bottle with you. It is quite common for paddlers to become dehydrated due to the combined effect that the sun and wind have on the body even during the winter periods. Also, you will be expending a lot of energy even if you don’t realize it so be sure to bring a snack so you don’t get light-headed from hunger.
Paddling is indeed great exercise, providing fantastic aerobic and cardiovascular effects as well as upper body strength. Enjoy paddling in winter!