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 Life Begins At... 
Life begins at . . . . A senior citizen canoes by Dick Bance



THIS is my personal account of how I started to canoe at the age of 65. Having spent an active sporting life skin diving and water skiing, when 65 came around it was time to find a less dangerous sport. The local swimming pool listed activties like aerobics for senior citizens - not my cup of tea. However, on the last page was indoor canoeing - just the job for me.

Now at the advanced age of 73, canoeing is the ideal sport. You can put as much or as little into it as you like, according to your state of fitness.

During the past eight years, I have learnt to eskimo-roll a canoe, and taught at least 17 other canoeists to roll too. I also now have a Level 1 coaching certificate and really enjoy working as assistant coach with various canoe group activities.

Admittedly clubs, and individuals, vary in the attitude to wrinkly paddlers. Some just donít want to know, but others welcome you with open arms, as they appreciate us oldies considerable experience in the great University of Life.

You need to understand your limitations as you get older. For example, it is better to have assistance when doing a rescue rather than do it on your own.

As a retired person, canoeing ensures you remain fit and healthy, as well as helping you to meet lots of interesting people. In my case, canoeing has helped me to overcome rather bad asthma.

If you would like to take up the activity, it is best to join a local club. This shouldn't be too costly, and the club will usually provide introductory tuition as well as providing you with a suitable craft to use at no extra cost.

The sport has many different branches such as recreational outings (flat or flowing water), sprinting, marathon, white water racing, canoe polo, slalom or merely splashing about in the waves at the seaside. I know an d 80-year-old who is still very good at eskimo-rolling and does sea trips in the Solent. During the winter months, you can happily continue canoeing with suitably warm gear, such as a neoprene suit. Alternatively, do some exercise in the club gym.

The senior citizen who canoe needs never grow old. Go for it.

Landsdowne Boathouse
81-83 Petersham Road
Richmond upon Thames
Surrey TW10 6UT
United Kingdom

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