A fitter nation: Swimming pools, gyms reopen in England after 128-day lockdown
The UK government has announced a fresh attack on obesity as part of the move, hoping that a fitter nation might be able to minimise the impact of future waves of the virus.Updated: Jul 26, 2020 09:56 IST
Swimming pools and gyms in England are reopening for the first time since the UK went into lockdown as public health officials extol the benefits of exercise in fighting Covid-19.
The government has announced a fresh attack on obesity as part of the move, hoping that a fitter nation might be able to minimise the impact of future waves of the virus.
But Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, says that there had been financial pressure on pools even before the pandemic and that without government support many won’t open this year — or ever.
She told the BBC that funding pools actually saves money because of the impact they have on social cohesion, crime prevention, education attainment and health benefits. Learning to swim is also a life skill.
“One of our biggest, biggest fears is that there will be a lost generation of children this year who don’t learn to swim,” she said.
Swim England on their official site has requested the UK government to “ensure swimming doesn’t become leisure’s ‘forgotten activity’ – after it was revealed almost a third of public pools could remain closed for another six months.”
Indoor pools were allowed to reopen on July 25, 128 days after they were forced to shut on March 20 as part of the nationwide effort to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
The organisation is also running a #SaveLeisure campaign to facilitate this. Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive said, “The #SaveLeisure campaign continues to have our backing and we urge the Government to provide the ring-fenced funding needed to help prevent significant market failure – which we know will hit less affluent areas hardest. Funding is also vital to help prevent facilities increasing the cost of going swimming.”
“Water-based activity is loved by millions – and we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that remains the case and people have the necessary, affordable facilities to enjoy the water,” she added.
Health experts recommend that adults get 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week to stay fit. Swimming works out the whole body and cardiovascular system, burns almost as many calories as running, and doesn’t adversely impact bones and joints in the process.
Swimming regularly also keeps stress levels low, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves your sleep patterns. So, however you are feeling, remember to just keep swimming to keep yourself physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.
-- with inputs from Associated Press