Rowing? Surely I am way too old?!

I started a ‘Learn to Row’ course aged 47 and I loved it. Two years on and I’m still loving the physical and mental challenge of rowing, not to mention the camaraderie that comes with training and racing in the bigger boats.

As I am barely 5’4”,   I have to be stronger, faster and better technically to make the line up. Admittedly, I’d be no match for the younger, taller women at the top of their game, however, no other sport in my adult life comes close to giving me the drive and determination to do my best.

Being short does have its challenges in the boat. You’re always tempted to get that extra millimetre but, at what consequence: tennis elbow, disc prolapse, sciatica, hamstring tears, tendinopathies of the wrist, hip or elbow, you name it and if I haven’t experienced it, as an osteopath, I’m hyper vigilant to the risks of poor rowing techniques. All these are avoidable if you follow the correct technical instruction and if you stretch.

My rowing patients look at me with a quizzical smile when I tell them I’ve taken up rowing, but I chuckle and say “I know, not your typical rowing physique but let’s see shall we”. And yes, it’s only now when I stand next to some of my crew mates that I realise I’m not as tall as I feel!

So, would I recommend rowing to anyone in their 40s, 50s or older? Absolutely.

There is no other sport that works the whole body like rowing. By design, the action of rowing rebalances most work-related stresses and strains like desk work which conversely encourages a rounding of the shoulders and tightening of the hip flexors. In contrast, rowing could be the perfect complement; strengthening those otherwise long and weak muscles such as the lats, rhomboids, serratus anterior, glutei, quads and postural para spinal muscles.

But, remember, if you want to remain injury-free there are just no short cuts. Many local clubs run ‘Learn To Row’ courses where you can experience rowing on and off the water whilst making new friends and having new experiences. Give it a go!

Camilla Peirse, Registered Osteopath

To make an appointment with Camilla or any other member of our team, please call us on 020 8977 3295.


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