Help me get in shape for my travel adventure holiday
August 22, 2014 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Because I wanted to make my fortieth something special, I asked about adventure holidays here before settling on slickrock's adventure island. But now I need to get in shape for this adventure. Since I'll mainly be snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking, I was wondering if there is a particular training plan for those activities.

I have until mid december and I'm very out of shape as this summer was super depressing (my cat died and so I stopped working out altogether for a month.)

Just a reminder that I am mildly mobility impaired and live in nyc. I have a membership to a gym with a pool and I own ankle weights. I am willing to buy a few videos (I do use yoga/meditation videos at home) but I'll have to buy enough gear for the vacation that I'd prefer to keep this as low tech as possible. If there are specific programs in nyc like a kayaking bootcamp, I'd be willing to try that.

I'm honestly looking for a couch to 5k for scuba/snorkeling/kayaking type of plan if that makes any sense.
posted by miss-lapin to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Lap swimming would get you in shape for all of those activities, as it works out the core as well as the upper & lower body, while also doing cardiovascular conditioning (endurance). Also, if you need to normalize using a snorkel (some people have a hard time adjusting to mouthbreathing-only) you could lap swim with a snorkel (not uncommon at my pool).
posted by Pocahontas at 4:00 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do you already know how to scuba dive? If not, I'd suggest finding a pool-based scuba course in NYC where you can take the lead-up to the Open Water certification. I did this a few years ago and the pool-based part of the course and the theory part (from workbooks) taught me everything I needed to know to enable me to do my open water dive and get my certification.

When I did this I was 44 and not terribly fit to start with. I was much fitter at the end of the course.
posted by essexjan at 4:19 PM on August 22, 2014

Kayaking requires a lot of upper body strength and endurance to be enjoyable. You're really looking for a Couch To 100 Pull-Ups program.
posted by Sara C. at 4:59 PM on August 22, 2014

Scuba really doesn't require much. The only thing you need to do to prove you're OK in water was swim maybe 100m? 200m? and tread water for a couple of minutes. I can't give you the exact distance swum because my instructor tested by telling me to swim around the dive boat 3 times. It didn't matter how you managed the swim test, as long as you were still alive, calm, and breathing at the end of it.

Kayaking is surprisingly hard though, but not quite 100 Pull-Ups program hard. What makes sea kayaking so hard for most people is how long you're out on the water and the need to paddle efficiently. Make sure you learn how to paddle properly (side to side strokes, not up to down) because you'll be out on the ocean for hours on end. It helps to visualize pushing the paddle away from you instead of pulling it in too.

Surf kayaking's a different beast though. It's like surfing....but in a kayak, meaning you'll most likely capsize a lot and need to drag your kayak places (note: never get caught between the beach and the kayak. I've seen someone's shoulder dislocated this way, and that was considered a good, lucky hit!). Doing a rescue (or getting yourself rescued) is really hard on the upper body because you're having to haul kayaks up, flipping them around, or hauling yourself back in without tipping over again (keeping your chest on deck, butt low helps prevent another capsize).

For kayaking, you'll need to do upper body strength and hip strength. It's not too bad cardio wise though. Hips because most of the control for turning and balance come from the hips.

You should really pack lots of Advil for the kayaking. I'm pretty in shape and a day out on the water wipes me out.

So actual exercises:

Strict shoulder press
Lat rows/lat pull-downs/pull-ups (whatever you can manage really)
Split squats
Box jumps/step-ups
Farmer's walks
Dead hang from bar
posted by astapasta24 at 5:29 PM on August 22, 2014

Scuba really doesn't require much.

According to the resort website: Certified divers MUST present their cards and attend a check-out session. You must remember your cards or you will not be able to dive!

So if the OP doesn't have a PADI (or equivalent) certification, she won't be able to scuba.
posted by essexjan at 7:23 PM on August 22, 2014

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