GROWING Old, Living Dangerously is an over-50s paddling group that is about more than just having fun and making new friends.
Before hitting the water, South Fremantle physiotherapist Gillian Henderson puts the group through its paces with a half-hour exercise regime designed to build core strength, movement and flexibility – on and off the water.
There’s also an informal talk on health issues like bone density, pelvic floor exercises and how to get up if you have a tumble.
“Along with chronic pain and the changes in the latest neuroscience around it,” Ms Henderson says.
With the help of experienced kayakers, new paddlers are taught about training and water safety, including learning to rescue others in trouble and getting out of an upturned kayak and re-righting it (a “wet exit”).
“Some people are terrified, but once they do it the fear is gone because they know how to get out,” Ms Henderson says.
Back on dry land the kayaks are washed and stacked on racks, which is also good for fitness, Ms Henderson says.
“Lifting is good because resistance work is so good for us.”
A BYO lunch and afternoon tea is a chance to make friends.
Beginners are taken on leisurely paddles along the upper and lower Swan and Canning Rivers.
The more experienced paddlers like Ms Henderson are happy to push the boundaries, including a recent trip to Stragglers Rocks, about 10km off South Beach.
“Our eldest member is 80 and he regularly paddles nine or 10km.”
GOLD meets Mondays noon-4.30pm at the UWA boat shed on Matilda Bay in Crawley.
For more information go to http://www.sport.uwa.edu.au/recreate-courses/find-your-course
by JENNY D’ANGER