Welfare Advice

Here at DCBC, we look after your general well being with the highest priority. Life in Cambridge is full of lots of exciting opportunities. It can, however, be overwhelming. Especially in the first term, whilst you’re getting used to it all, it’s important not to burn yourself out and to listen to your body! We want everyone to have a really fun and enjoyable first term, and we would love if rowing can be a part of that. But, ultimately, we only have so many hours in the day, and only so much energy. If you’re constantly falling asleep in lectures or you’ve got an ache that just won’t go away, try and drop something. Doing too much at once will only lead to you getting injured or seriously ill. We’ve had our fair share of injuries and illnesses, and we wouldn’t want you to make the same mistakes!  

Your captains and committee are always here for you if you ever need someone to talk to in the club. We also want to make sure the club is a supportive environment for anyone who wants to join! If you have any rowing related health concerns, any of the Lower Boat’s Captains would be happy to talk to you, or you can contact the college nurse at . You can also visit Lensfield Road GP for anything more serious. Gavin Flynn, our Senior Treasurer, is also our current Welfare Officer – for anyone who has any concerns, please feel free to reach out to him at !

Meryn and Caitlin, our previous Social Secretaries, also made a Welfare Handbook containing lots of useful information for taking care your mental, and physical, health – both on, and off, the water. You can find it here.

Below you will find a few tips on staying healthy, whilst also both rowing and enjoying the Cambridge life to the full!


Drink lots of it! Normally you should be consuming around three litres of water a day without exercising. This does, however, need to be increased when doing sport. Doing sport and sweating for an hour quickly dehydrates you, so you need to drink about another litre of water to replace the fluid lost. Water is the most important thing as it will help your health, prevent you from getting ill, and keep you more alert for your supervisions and lectures – trust us, the struggle is real!


Obviously, you are starting uni, and it is very much expected that you will potentially be going clubbing, to the pub, or to events where there is a lot of free alcohol. This includes many boat club run events!  Just bear in mind that alcohol further dehydrates the body, so, after a night out, have two large glasses of water before you go to bed – not only will it help with the hangover, but it will stop you from getting ill.


Everyone finds it hard to cook cheaply, and healthily, at uni and a busy schedule makes it very tempting to keep going for fast food. Now, there is nothing wrong with the occasional 11pm Dominos – in fact, we would encourage you to eat more food than you would normally if you haven’t been used to doing lots of exercise before taking up rowing, (rowing is a very strenuous sport, and your body will use up a lot of calories which need to be replaced!) but don’t have a takeaway every night. We are very lucky here at Downing to have such a good range of food provided at ‘slops’, which removes the hassle of cooking and provides you with food (Like Vegetables!) that you might not normally buy! Alternatively, try cooking for yourself a few times a week. This, like going to slops, can be a very social activity! Vitamins and minerals are key to maintaining cell chemistry and keeping you healthy. You can even try replacing the snacking on biscuits, or crisps, with fruit.


 While it may seem obvious, make sure you get a sufficient amount of sleep! With early morning outings, going out clubbing, and the occasional necessity to work late, it’s easy not to get enough sleep. If you’re not going out in the evening, try and get a slightly earlier night, otherwise consider napping in the afternoon. If you are fortunate enough to have your lectures recorded, you can consider if it’s really worth going to that 9am hungover, and exhausted, or just to catch it up that evening – but be careful, this is a slippery slope, and we strongly encourage you to go to all of your lectures, especially if they are  in person, (they’re a great way to meet people on your course!).


Again, this might sound a bit obvious, but it’s worth stating. Often people will end up getting wet, and, as the weather can be notoriously getting wet, and, as the, it is worth investing in a pair or two of sports leggings, and a light waterproof jacket. Please always bring a water bottle to training sessions and a sensible pair of shoes. It’s not worth the risk of slipping, falling, and potentially breaking a wrist. There are showers and changing rooms at the boathouse, so do bring a change of clothes in particularly dire weather, (and bringing a spare of socks is never a bad idea, trust me).


Before going out rowing, it is very important to warm up properly and make sure all your muscles are stretched and loose so you don’t pull anything and injure yourself. Equally, after having done any training, it is as equally as important to also stretch – this will stop you feeling stiff the next day!

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