Warmer weather is here, which means anglers are ready to get on the water! While most of us enjoy fishing for fun and relaxation, long hours of repetitive casting, bending, and standing can take its toll on your body. Anglers who fish in tournaments, in particular, are at an increased risk for repetitive injuries. This could include tennis elbow, rotator cuff strains, back injuries, and muscle cramps. Now is the time to start incorporating a general stretching and strengthening program to prevent injuries this spring and summer.
Your shoulders, forearms, and abdominal muscles all come into play when casting and reeling in fish. Performing forearm stretches such as the “prayer stretch” and wrist extensor stretch, will help prevent tendinitis in your elbows and wrists.
It is also important to address mobility of your shoulders and back, when it comes to fishing activities. The open book stretch is a great way to improve your overall shoulder and spine mobility.
Your legs and lower back take a beating while working trolling motors and standing for hours. For that reason, core exercises are extremely beneficial to anglers. By halfway through the day, many of our backs start to ache and cause us a lot of discomfort. Strengthening exercises can help to alleviate those problems. Weight lifting, daily walks, and mobility work all help in strengthening key body parts. They also improve your stamina and ability. A few key strengthening exercises that will hit the legs, core, and even grip strength include squats, planks, and farmer’s carry. The farmer’s carry is particularly important for when you need to carry that heavy stringer of fish from your day’s work!
Also important to note is the value of having good balance while standing on the boat, walking the shoreline, or standing in the stream for fly fishing. You might be surprised how off balance you are when you start to do balance building exercises. It’s much easier to stand on the deck of a boat or walk on gravel bars all day when you’ve taken the time to improve your balance and core strength. Doing something as simple as balancing on one foot for short periods of time each day will help to improve your balance.
If any of these exercises or stretches are causing pain or you notice significant issues with your balance, give us a call! Our physical therapists can get you back to fishing, pain-free!
Here’s to having a healthy fishing season!