RESIDENTS in the Ribble Valley are being invited to take the plunge for fitness in a host of swimming activities at Ribblesdale Pool, Clitheroe.
The Edisford Road pool has launched a series of aqua-fitness events and classes that will run throughout the year.
The pool is also to host the new national scheme, Swimfit, launched by the Amateur Swimming Association and backed by five-time Olympian Mark Foster. This offers free online gym-style swimming programmes aimed at maintaining health, shaping up and toning, reaching peak fitness levels and swimming competitively.
The pool will host throughout the week Swimfit sessions, at which training cards and pool equipment will be available free. These will include one for ladies only on Tuesdays from 8 to 8-45 p.m.
An aqua circuits class to work major muscle groups and improve cardio-fitness will take place at the pool on Thursdays from 6-15 to 7 p.m., while the pool will also host aqua tone classes catering for people of all swimming abilities on Wednesdays from 9 to 9-45 a.m. and Fridays from 10 to 10-45 a.m.
A new aqua mobility session aimed at adults with health problems or on exercise-referral programmes and led by qualified teachers will take place at the pool on Tuesdays from 2-45 to 3-30 a.m.
The pool is also offering early-bird swimming sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. and adults-only lane swimming sessions, including Swimfit, on Wednesdays from 8 to 9-30 p.m. and Sundays from 7 to 8 p.m.
Swimming lessons are also available for anyone aged four and over to gain water confidence or develop stroke technique.
Colin Winterbottom, Ribble Valley Borough Council Leisure and Sports Development Manager, said: "Many people cycle or run to get fit, but don't think of swimming as a major route to a healthier lifestyle.
"But even a gentle swim can burn over 200 calories in half-an-hour and a fast front crawl can burn as many calories as an eight-mile run.
"Swimming can support up to 90% of the body's weight in the water, meaning those with disabilities, injuries or illnesses, such as arthritis, can take part in sport in a comfortable and safe environment.
"We are therefore inviting residents to take the plunge and take part in the excellent new activities on offer at Ribblesdale Pool."
Coun. Robert Thompson, chairman of the council's Community Committee, added: "We are particularly delighted to support the new Swimfit programme, which will give Ribble Valley residents the opportunity to be the swimmer they have always wanted to be."