To train for kayaking, imagine you're paddling and move those arms and upper body

Fitness Q & A

Health & Fitness

October 17, 2004|By Gailor Large | By Gailor Large,Special to the Sun

I am going to take a class in smooth-water kayaking. According to the instructor, I should be exercising my upper body and arms. What exercises would be good for this? I belong to a gym and have access to exercise equipment.

To answer your question, we enlisted the help of Edith Callahan, certified athletic trainer at the Downtown Merritt Athletic Club. The best way for you to train, says Callahan, is to mimic the kayaking motion as closely as possible. The simplest way to do this is to break down the activity into steps, and re-create each stage with free weights.

Your kayaking instructor, or even a trainer at your gym, should be able to help you with this. You will most likely target muscles like the deltoids, anterior deltoids and pectorals. Callahan also recommends the rowing machine for a slam-dunk upper-body and arms workout.

Are there any real physical benefits to getting a massage?

"Massage is weaving its way into mainstream medicine," says Pete Backe, physical therapist at Kernan Physical Therapy in Millersville. There are clear benefits to massage, including increased blood flow and reduction of muscular spasm, says Backe.

While a massage may not cure serious physical problems -- although, then again, it can -- it can certainly do wonders to ease existing ailments. If nothing else, it's great for relaxation.

Do you have a fitness question? Write to Fitness, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. You can also fax questions to 410-783-2519 or e-mail

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