Staying Comfortable in a Kayak

Several people, myself included, experience a growing sense of discomfort in the legs and low back the longer we sit in a kayak.  This discomfort can range from feeling stiff and achy to more sevire symptoms of numbness and tingling.  There are many possible causes for this discomfort.  This web page addresses the problem by looking at what you can do to adjust your body to better fit your kayak.  It is also important to adjust your kayak to better fit your body but, except for a few suggestions, that is beyond the scope of this page.

I am a massage therapist.  That means two things:  my suggestions come from that perspective and my medical training is limited.  I suggest measures to make yourself more comfortable in your kayak based on my perspective as a massage therapist. These are very useful and I believe will help many people.  But the cause of some people's problems may be beyond the training that I have and beyond the measure I suggest.  If you have severe symptoms or a long history of them you may want to seek out advice from other medical profesionals such as physical therapists or medical doctors.

The legs are very passive in a kayak.  As much as you might use your legs to push on peddles or grip the boat they do not go through any where near the range of motion of your paddling arms or your legs as they walk.  Nor do they take anywhere near the amount of stress of walking, let along running or backpacking.  But still many people find that the limiting factor of their time in a kayak is discomfort in their legs.   This discomfort

Symptoms

Basically, any kind of achyness in the legs. More sevier would be numbness and tingling anywhere in the legs or feet. Low back is more likely to be generally achy to more specific sharp pain. Some of the low back problems may be related to your legs and some may not.

Causes

Here are some of the possible causes:

Solutions

But the best solution is to increase your flexibility through stretching and massage.

Live long, stay active.

Tom Unger
Seattle



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Page last modified:  Feb 18 08:58 2010  by  Tom Unger