All North Tyneside Council pools offer free swimming to all over-60s, every Friday.
‘Free swim Fridays’ have been introduced to encourage regular use of the pools among older residents, with the associated benefits that swimming offers to health and wellbeing.
Swimming supports body weight, with no pressure on joints. It’s ideal for those with injuries or illnesses like arthritis and studies show that half an hour of swimming, three times a week, can significantly reduce blood pressure. There’s also the social side of getting to know other swimmers and the rhythmic nature of swimming helps to boost psychological wellbeing too.
Tommy, aged 73 and from Wallsend, was a non-swimmer when he first started going to the pool at Hadrian Leisure Centre seven years ago. He now swims five or six times each week, motivated by the benefits to his health from regular swimming and also the social aspects of speaking with the regular swimmers and staff.
Tommy said: “I was terrified of water before the staff taught me to swim but now swimming is part of my daily routine and I feel lost without it. I’m fitter now at 73 than I was when I retired; the swimming has made me more flexible with fewer aches and pains. I started out as a non-swimmer, now I swim a mile in the morning.”
Free swim Fridays run every Friday at Waves in Whitley Bay, Tynemouth Pool, The Lakeside Centre in Killingworth and Hadrian Leisure Centre in Wallsend. There’s no need to book – just visit any pool with proof of age.
This is one of the projects supported by funding from Sport England’s Swim Local project. Sport England is a public body and invests more than £300million of National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport.