Keeping fit on a budget: Swimming with Leeds Let’s Get Active

Leeds Let's get active

Last winter when we lived in Leeds city we swam once a week at the university swimming pool. We mainly swam because it was too dark for walks after work and we wanted an activity that was fun and would keep us fit.  It cost £4 per session and had excellent facilities including a heated floor, sauna and steam room. When we moved north of Leeds it didn’t make sense to for D to travel from his workplace in Harrogate all the way to Leeds so we decided to check out the local swimming pool in Otley. When it comes to swimming pools I am a bit of a snob. I don’t like children, too many people, dirty changing rooms, cold water…. yeah you get the idea. So I was very skeptical about our new local. First of all, it’s in a school and secondly, it’s run by the council. My expectations were already quite low. I checked out the prices on the website – £4.60 seemed rather dear after the luxury of the university swimming pool. 

A couple of Friday’s ago we heading out to Otley to check the place out. Kids, about 20 of them, were splashing and shouting on our arrival.  The adult session was due to start in 10 minutes so I bet my tongue and went to the reception desk which was, strangely, by the pool. Two very enthusiastic staff greeted us and assured us the children would be leaving soon. They then went on to tell us about the free swimming sessions that were available as part of the Leeds Let’s Get Active scheme. Free? I love that price!

Swimming timetables

Leeds Let’s Get Active is part of the Leeds Let’s Changeprogram run by the NHS. As part of the scheme, several gyms, pools and community groups are offering free sessions as an incentive to get the people of Leeds moving more for a healthier life. We were handed two forms to fill out in return for the free Leeds Let’s Get Active passes. The form asked questions such as ‘How much moderate exercise do you do each week’, and ‘How many hours do you sit down each day, including at work and at home’. It really hit home how little exercise we have done since the dark evenings. After calculating it I worked out I sit down for around 12 hours a day. Shocking. 

Leeds active card

When I lived in Leeds I, more often than not, walked the two miles into work and back again five days a week. I have a desk job meaning I sit down a lot more than I would like. Let’s Change reckon everyone should do at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate exercise. We aim to swim once a week and I run 5k on Monday evenings with a friend from work which takes around half an hour. On Wednesday’s I usually walk with the Rambling club for around 1.5 hours at a brisk pace. This meets the 2.5 hours recommended but I still feel horrified at the amount if sitting I do each day. 

Leed's Let's Change

I just hope winter passes quickly so we can get back to our evening walks and adventures.

PS. Are there any schemes in your town to encourage you to get more active?

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.

  • The "experts" also recommend that adults cover a minimum of 10,000 steps a day – which equates to 4 – 5 miles. Hardly achievable at this time of year for the average person in full-time work, is it! I've been wearing a pedometer in order to assess how close I get, and last week was the first time I hit that 10k average across the week! It's a shame that more places don't do schemes like the ones you've found!

  • Bloomin' 'ek! I definitely don't walk that far. We go on hikes and cover around 8 miles some weekends but that's not every week. Great idea getting a pedometer to monitor how many steps you do- do you find it makes you eager to walk more or does it make your heart sink a bit? I might try this. Have you blogged about it? x

  • Such a coincidence: Change4Life are currently running a Twitter promotion and I am getting a pedometer in the post from them! Must be your telepathic powers

  • A couple of Friday’s ago we heading out to Otley to check the place out. Kids, about 20 of them, were splashing and shouting on our arrival.