The sure signs of spring are often thought to be robins and daffodils. But for dragon boat paddlers like Knot A Breast Cancer Survivor members, there is only one significant symbol of the shift from winter to spring: boats in the water.

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On Saturday, April 13, 2019, the three Welland dragon boats, weighing about 600 lbs (270 kg) each were removed from storage at the Welland International Flatwater Centre and placed in the canal. Through multi-team collaboration with members of Knot A Breast, SNCC Warlocks and Rowbust, each boat was slowly walked down the hill in a coordinated awkward shuffle.

Spring training has officially started!

It’s finally April and our breast cancer survivor teammates are eager to get outside! There are so many benefits from working out outdoors — from increased Vitamin D levels to mood improvement. However, if we don’t take some precautions, we could quickly get injured.

1. GO SLOW

Every website we visited listed this piece of advice. Even if we have been walking/running on a treadmill, spinning indoors, or doing the elliptical, we cannot expect to take the same level of training outdoors right away. The pavement is harder, the weather adds to the workout, and the incline varies outdoors. Scale back to about 70% of what you were doing inside and gradually work your way back up. And if (gasp) you haven’t been working out inside, START REALLY SLOW!!! There is time — you will get there. Start with a brisk walk.

2. ALTERNATE INDOOR AND OUTDOOR TRAINING

This way you can get in some tough workouts indoors, but still reap the benefits of the outdoors. Try increasing the incline on the treadmill to prepare yourself for elevation changes outside.

3. KEEP UP YOUR RESISTANCE TRAINING

So often we are so happy to get outside and run or bike or swim or walk or hike that we forget to keep up with the weights! But in order to do cardio, our muscles and bones need to be strong! You could even take the weights outside. Dragon boating demands cardio fitness and strength.

4. DRESS APPROPRIATELY

Now is a good time to evaluate your “gear”. Check your shoes. Do you need more cushioning for your feet? Do you have layers that can be taken off when you work up a sweat? Do you have a water bottle to take with you outside?

5. GET OUT THERE

No more excuses! Now is the time to get fit!!! Have fun!