Stand up Paddleboarding session
  • 5 September 2022

Bambi on Ice to Paddle boarding Pro – My Experience of Blue Social Prescribing

Photo of Chloe Bradshaw

Chloe BradshawPhysical Activity Development Officer

Part of our Active Blaby service is to signpost people to activities that would best suit and benefit them. As a team, we recognise that starting your journey into an active lifestyle can seem quite daunting and it can sometimes be easy for us to suggest an activity knowing it’s not something we’ve ever tried ourselves.

How can we expect beginners and those new to these activities to go to these sessions, often nervous about what to expect, and not push ourselves to do the same? So, that is what we did, we pushed ourselves to try something new!

In partnership with the Canal & River Trust and Local Authority Partners, the Waterways and Well-Being sessions have been developed as part of our blue social prescribing project. These 4-week programmes are designed to help people to improve their health, wellbeing, and social welfare by connecting them with community services and activities. In South Leicestershire, the programme offers Paddle boarding and canoeing.

I have never tried paddle boarding before and as somebody who is often described as ‘Bambi on ice’, I was extremely nervous. In the days leading up to the session, I managed to tell everybody I came across about how nervous I was and to expect pictures of me face first in the canal!

I was lucky to have my colleague Faye with me, which when trying a new activity can make you feel less anxious, so is something I’d recommend doing if this will make you feel more at ease.

How it went 

When we arrived, Sean Payne (Community Wellbeing Coordinator, Canal & River Trust) and Cassie (Paddle Boarding Instructor) introduced themselves and gave us a safety talk on what the session will entail, how to move on a paddle board, techniques on how to balance yourself and mainly how to actually paddle board. They were encouraging, answered any questions that we had and emphasised that we could take this session at our own pace.

When I first got on the paddle board in the water, there was a slight moment of panic, and I couldn’t stop thinking ‘What have I signed up for?!’ however, after a minute or so in the water (and many deep breaths), I started to feel calm. At first, we were kneeling on the boards and getting to grips with how to paddle to pick up some pace.

We were very lucky with the weather on the day, the sun was shining, and the light was reflecting off the water. It was so quiet, and the sound of the paddle pushing through the water made me forget anything that I had been doing beforehand that day. I think canals have a lot of negative thoughts surrounding them, but seeing the fishes swimming through the water and the colourful dragon flies landing on the end of our boards, these pre-conceived ideas were debunked and forgotten about.

Now that we were relaxed and feeling more comfortable on the water, we were given the option of standing. Cassie repeated what we’d been shown during our briefing and guided us to a standing position… something I never thought I could do- especially on my first session! At first, I felt very wobbly and couldn’t stop my legs from shaking, which I was told is normal. After a few more paddles, I started to feel more comfortable in a standing position. I didn’t expect to feel as relaxed as I did during this session, but there was something about being on the water that made me feel like I was in my own world, away from any stresses I’d been feeling.

As I said this to the group, I made a joke about doing paddle board yoga where we were told that the activity exists! Of course, we had to give it a go, so there we were doing our downward dog and warrior positions on our paddle boards on the canal, certainly something I won’t forget! After attending this session, I have experienced first hand the positive impact it can have on your well being. They are friendly, welcoming, and most importantly – fun!

 Why not give it a go yourself? Click on the button below to find more and view our upcoming sessions.

Blue Social prescribing – upcoming sessions


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