Oskaloosa.com

August 21, 2013

A healthy activity in the outdoors

By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald

MAHASKA COUNTY —

With what most would call ideal weather conditions, many area residents took to the waters of the Des Moines River Saturday.

Dave Sedivec, director of the Mahaska County Conservation Board, said Saturday's float was done in cooperation with the Mahaska Wellness Coalition.

Sedivec said the purpose of the canoe and kayak float was to provide people with an alternative to running on a treadmill or around a track in order to improve their health.

“They get out here, they can enjoy nature, plus benefit their health at the same time,” said Sedivec.

Canoeing and kayaking can be somewhat of a full-body workout. Although there's a good amount of upper-body exercise with paddling a kayak or canoe, the lower body can get a workout, as well, noted Sedivec. He said that the lower body can get exercise when bracing one's legs in a kayak and helping to steer the vessel with the tilting of the body.

“It's a pretty good overall workout,” Sedivec said.

Those in canoes and kayaks began their Saturday float at Eveland Access, just southwest of Oskaloosa. Sedivec said that, from there, they'd float toward a boat ramp on the west side of Eddyville.

People participating in Saturday's canoe and kayak float were in for an experience on the Des Moines River lasting about five hours, noted Sedivec.

Sedivec said conservation boards from Marion County and Wapello County worked in cooperation with the Mahaska County Conservation board for Saturday's canoe and kayak float on the Des Moines River.

“We appreciate all the people taking part in an event like this,” said Sedivec. “This is a good way for us to promote the outdoors and living healthy at the same time.”

Sedivec said canoeing is a “lifetime activity.” He explained that families can do this kind of thing for many years, while pointing out that everyone from toddlers to senior citizens can participate.

Annette Whittrock, a naturalist with the Wapello County Conservation Board, said around a dozen people from her county participated in Saturday's kayak and canoe float. Since she's been with the Wapello County Conservation Board, this is the first time a collaboration on a kayak and canoe float has occurred with the Mahaska County Conservation Board, she said.

“We've done our own canoe floats in the past,” explained Whittrock. “But, this year, it so happened that we had our canoe float on the river scheduled the same day as Mahaska County. So, we just kind of decided to work together on that.”

Just before the canoes and kayaks launched into the waters of the Des Moines River, Whittrock spoke about the value of being outdoors.

“I think any time spent out in nature with your family — just seeing what is out there — is really the key to the whole thing,” she said.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.