Obviously, the main reason I got into dragon boat racing is that it seemed like a lot of fun. I’d never even heard of it before I received the recommendation from a friend, and it sounded cool. After having received my diagnosis and after managing to beat cancer, let’s just say I was feeling a little more adventurous than I was earlier in life. I don’t know if I would have tried it ten years earlier, but then again, I may never have even heard of it.
However, one of the reasons I stuck with it were all of the health and fitness benefits. Rowing of any kind is going to burn calories, since it requires a lot of physical work. Nothing is pulling a dragon boat but you and your rowing mates. There is no motor. It’s you against the water, and it’s a human-powered piece of technology. Doing that with a canoe is hard enough. A dragon boat is so much larger and longer that it’s going to take even more energy to move it.
It’s true that if you’re a dragon boat racer, you’re going to have a lot more help when it comes to rowing. However, you and your boat mates are also going to be adding even more weight to the overall boat, which is going to make a huge difference when it comes to the amount of effort that it takes to move the boat. There’s a trade-off. You need more helpers for a boat this size, but they add weight to the boat themselves and make the process harder. That’s just the right situation to create a lot of challenges for you.
Of course, the number of people is part of the point. With a lot of other athletic activities that aren’t team sports, you’re not going to end up meeting a lot of people. It’s already hard enough to meet people as an adult professional, and I didn’t want to start a hobby without having some sort of opportunity to meet a lot of new folks. Not only will you meet a lot of people when you try dragon boat racing, you’ll be working together doing something that is both challenging and fun.
Few things can build a bond between people quite like doing an activity that’s difficult together. Even people who outright hated each other have been able to bond under circumstances like that. People who were just strangers will be able to establish a bond very quickly under those circumstances. After a day of dragon boat racing, you and your teammates are automatically going to feel like you’re old friends even if you lose, and that’s saying something.
A dragon boat race is also an accomplishment. I’ve been a part of groups before where it felt like we sat around and chatted the whole time. I like that too, but it’s also nice to really be part of something and really feel like you’re doing something, and I feel like something like dragon boat racing fits the bill in a way that a more generic activity just doesn’t.
I’ve over forty now, and I have to take more care of myself in general. Even if I wasn’t a cancer survivor, it would be a good idea to get involved with something that burned a lot of calories and exercised a lot of different muscle groups. I get mistaken for a younger person all the time these days, and that’s partly because of all of the fitness benefits of dragon boat racing. It shows on all of you. That’s a reward by itself.