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Back to swimming – tips before you dip

Unlike other forms of exercise, swimming during lockdown was pretty much impossible (unless you’re one of the lucky few with a private pool!).

That means that everyone headed back to the pool is likely to have not been in the water for a long time.

Whether it’s your first swim of the year or first swim in several years, you might benefit from a few tips before you dip.


1.     Pick the right session

At the pool, there will be different sessions on throughout the day, such as general swim, adult swim or family swim. Which session you choose to attend could have an effect on the pool layout, busy-ness, competency of other pool users and equipment in the water.

If you’re after some exercise, a session that uses lanes is probably the most appropriate, as other pool users will have the same intentions and distractions should be minimal.

Due to COVID spaces for each session may be limited, so ensure to book online ahead of your swim.



2.     What to wear

We would encourage you to arrive swim ready to reduce contact points and time in communal areas. ‘Swim ready’ means arriving with your swimwear on under your clothes so you can dive in and get those extra lengths in as soon as your swim session begins.


3.     Pick the right pool area

Like we said, the session you choose may have an impact on the pool layout.

If you attend a lane session, pay attention to information about speeds and swimming direction. This will help you to pick the most appropriate lane for you, which should mean that you don’t constantly overtake or hold up others.

If you’re not too confident in deeper water, make sure you swim in an area in which you can stand up or reach the side easily. Make sure to be considerate of other pool users and their needs as you swim.


4.     Set goals

Like with any other form of exercise, setting goals for your swim will be beneficial. Start small and slow, perhaps increasing distance swam or time in the pool. Don’t try too much too fast, and remember that 10 lengths of good stroke is better than 20 lengths of struggling.

Try incorporating drills into your swim. Drills are mini exercises that focus on a particular part of the stroke to help you swim faster and more effectively. You can research them and practice on your own, or if you’re really after improvement you can always enquire with pool staff into training and adult swim lessons.


5.     Hydrate

Sounds weird, but although you are swimming in a body of water, you still need to drink actual water throughout your swim. Bring water with you and pop it at the end of the lane to get a drink every couple of lengths. 

We can’t wait to have you back at the pool!


Getting back to the gym

Has lockdown left you feeling unfit and unmotivated? Or have you found a new passion in fitness and want to see where it will lead you?

Either way, getting in the gym is a great place to start.

Now first days are always a little daunting, but remember that every single person in the gym also had their first day in the gym, whether it was yesterday or 20 years ago.


What to wear

Your gym gear doesn’t need to be the most fashionable pieces you can find. Whatever you’re most comfortable in will be fine, but suitable trainers are essential. 


What to take

You don’t need to take much with you at all. Essentials include a bottle of water (you’ll get thirsty in your workout) and a towel (you want to get sweaty don’t you?).


What to do

Before you’re let loose in the gym, you should’ve had a gym induction. During this you should’ve been shown how to use all of the machinery and equipment. In your workout, take your time and make sure you try everything you want to.

Put back equipment, such as weights, so that it is ready for the next person and make sure you wipe everything down.

Don’t feel pressured to do too much or stay on for too long, you can always tailor your routine as you figure out what works for you.


Setting goals and targets

Not everyone’s gym goal is going to be the same. Perhaps you want to lose weight, or maybe tone up, or even just get generally fitter? Either way, your goals will be personal to you.

Setting an overall goal isn’t a bad idea, however you will need smaller goals or targets in between your starting point and your end goal. If you’re not a gym goer, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to do 1000 pull ups on day one. Your targets need to be achievable and measurable, so that you can clearly identify that you are making progress.

Start small so you can achieve big. To progress, consider small increases in sets and weights, gradually increasing difficulty of exercises and length of time spent on each. But remember that progress takes time and effort, so go at a steady pace that suits you and remember to adapt your targets and goals as and when necessary.


New gym rules

Obviously, this new normal means that some things are going to be different.

One thing we can all do to help gyms remain open is to take responsibility and follow procedures whilst in the gym setting and using the equipment. 

-       Sanitise on entry and exit

-       Utilise cleaning stations

-       Follow arrows/one way systems

-       Respect limits on numbers of people in certain areas

-       Book your slot in advance where possible

-       Pay with card where possible

-       Minimise contact with others

On the evening of the 24th of February, Rossendale Borough Council unanimously voted in favour of a package of financial support for Rossendale’s local leisure and culture partners Rossendale Leisure Trust (RLT), the Community Association of Whitworth (CLAW), and The Whitaker, to mitigate the impact of closures through Covid-19.

Rossendale Leisure Trust welcome the Council’s continued support with regards to financial viability, which will enable the Trust and partners to rebuild their financial base and continue to support local people, community services and activities. Each organisation has developed sound business plans focused on recovery, and with the Council’s support, feel confident about the future outlook. The full report presented to Members of Rossendale Borough Council is available and details the financial support.

One of the decisions made by the Council was to support the continued closer partnership working of CLAW and RLT, and RLT and The Whitaker.

Rossendale Leisure Trust and Community Leisure Association of Whitworth

CLAW and the broader Whitworth community have developed and sustained a brilliant offer to local residents through the two facilities for nearly two decades. The decision taken by Rossendale Borough Council yesterday, progresses the discussions between CLAW, RLT and RBC to build upon those years of hard work and dedication with the sole focus being on protecting facilities for local people. The proposal will see the leases for Whitworth Leisure Centre and the Riverside transferred to RLT, with new governance structures and processes in place to ensure the Whitworth community has a clear voice and involvement in the future decisions regarding Whitworth facilities.

To ensure local involvement, the RLT Board will appoint two new Directors to the Board, who are skills-based and have a knowledge of and care for Whitworth. In addition, RLT will form a new Whitworth Committee as part of the formal governance structure, thereby ensuring transparency, and that the perspective of local people is central to decision making. Finally, following the decision by RBC, RLT with CLAW and Whitworth Town Council’s support, will be setting up public discussions with Whitworth to ensure that views as to service needs are heard in the coming weeks. Both the RLT Board and staff team are committed to continuing to work with CLAW and Whitworth Town Council to ensure that the legal transfers are completed effectively and with suitable protections and provisions built into the leases and agreements. Most importantly, the Trust will work to ensure that the services and facilities are reopened with the best possible chance of long term success.

Rossendale Leisure Trust and The Whitaker

A great deal of excitement surrounds The Whitaker and its reopening following significant grant investment from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, and subsequent Covid-19 recovery support from Arts Council England. Yesterday, Council voted unanimously to support the recommendation to progress the partnership between The Whitaker and RLT. The partnership will see The Whitaker form part of a group structure with RLT, like the one previously announced between Ski Rossendale and RLT. The focus of the partnership is to provide additional strategic and managerial capacity to support the operation of The Whitaker, and developed shared processes and efficiencies with an integrated hospitality offer. The merger creates the opportunity to integrate physical activity, mental health, arts and culture into a holistic wellbeing offer to local people.

It is welcome and positive news to hear the Government’s step approach to reopening services like museums, events spaces, swimming pools and gyms. CLAW and RLT are working through detailed reopening plans for their respective sites, and The Whitaker is planning its exciting and grand reopening in the summer. The staff teams at CLAW and RLT are excited to be open, delivering the services to communities, and welcoming people back with warm welcomes. All sites continue to ensure they are Covid-Secure, and offer safe opportunities for all of Rossendale to enjoy. We all look forward to welcoming communities back into sites and services, and supporting communities’ health and wellbeing in the future.

Further information:
RLT: Ken Masser, Chief Executive,
CLAW: Karen Ruane, CLAW Chair,
The Whitaker: Carl Bell, Managing Director,


Sport England have announced their 10-year plan to ‘tackle deep-rooted inequalities and unlock the advantages of sport and physical activity for everyone’.

Here is how Rossendale Leisure Trust is committed to their vision…

Rossendale Leisure Trust exist for the Valley’s communities. Rossendale Leisure Trust’s mission is to support the community to be active, support good health, and have fun.

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