"If you fall out of the boat and get dragged underneath,
you won't be under there for long"
"If you fall out, whatever you do, keep your feet down stream, DO NOT try to stand up".
This safety briefing was different though - gripping, even. Like something out of a horror film. Alright, maybe not quite that bad, but it was scary enough for someone who is terrified of deep water and whose best 'swim' is more a coughing, spluttering flap. They still made us jump in the fast flowing water and get washed down stream for the swim test though (which, miraculously, I actually managed to survive):
|Me and the others jumping in the deep end|
Do something that scares you
But, it's good to do stuff that scares you, right? To try new sports and experiences. Our bodies are wonderful machines - why not see what they can do while we still can? (Even if it scares the shit out of us). Being inactive shortens the lifespan by 3-5 years. By 2020 the average Brit will be so sedentary that they will use only 25% more energy than if they spent the whole day sleeping. That's pretty scary too if I'm honest.
The reason we were at Lee Valley in the first place was down to spogo. This wasn't the first time I'd tried something new with them either - a few months ago they invited me to try rock climbing and bouldering which was also another EPIC day.
Born out of the legacy left behind by the London 2012 Olympics, spogo is a great new website and online tool to not only help you find local sports and fitness classes/clubs/activities in your local area, but also give you the confidence and skills to get started.
Kayaking: making it fun
|I'm aware I look like a child.|
Even though I've done kayaking before and know how to roll I'm still terrified every time the boat rocks or wobbles in a way that I don't mean it to. So the games and exercises where we had to stand in our boats and sing Head Shoulders Knees and Toes really helped to put me at ease and remind me just to enjoy having a play.
|Head, shoulders, knees and shit don't rock the boat!!|
The instructor was great and made it really fun as well as cramming in as many core skills as possible in just an hour.
Going back for more
Unlike these guys (CAN YOU IMAGINE?!)
|Rather them than us!|
We went round the course five times, with each time getting progressively more challenging. The instructor (who was great, by the way), taught us all the signals and moves in the flat before we got on the white water and told us exactly what to do throughout the loop. We surfed waves head on and side on (the latter of which was pretty terrifying at times as I thought I was gonna fall out!), and paddled and sat down into the boat when instructed. The sitting down into the boat part I was quite happy with, as you can imagine!
Despite the genuine fear of falling out and dying it was such an exhilarating experience and really was so much fun (in an Oh-my-God-I'm-scared kinda way). We alternated between cackles of laughter and repeated girly screams - apparently we were the loudest boat there!
It's a great feeling when you're scared of something but then do it anyway, I recommend it to anyone. Life's too short to not try these things!
If you wanna have a go at kayaking or white water rafting check out the Lee Valley White Water Centre website, or if you're not nearby, visit the Go Canoeing website for events, clubs and trails in your local area. There's no better time than now to get into it, it's Go Canoeing Week on 24th May – 1st June 2014 - what are you waiting for? GO! GO! GO!
Oh, and if you fancy finding another sport to try in your local area, visit the spogo website and get started!
Have you ever tried any water sports? Are you scared like me or
do you love getting in the water?