It’s never too late to take the plunge

For over 20 years now, Ageing Better Middlesbrough member Janet Pyle has been going swimming...

For over 20 years now, Ageing Better Middlesbrough member Janet Pyle has been going swimming to improve her fitness. 

The Trimdon born 95 year old, who celebrated her birthday on 2nd January, admits that swimming has made her feel younger, helped her get out of the house and make new friends. 

It all started when her late husband Jim took her to the leisure centre in Coulby Newham more than 20 years ago. 

At the time she couldn’t swim, and she admits she felt a little foolish not being able to join in when her husband and friends were having fun.

She said: “Having watched everyone in front of me while I was sat there, I felt a determination to start swimming.

“It was frustrating not being able to join them, but I also knew I needed to get fit for health reasons. I took four private lessons soon after and that was it….I was away.”

Janet has dislocated her shoulder in the past and in 2019 she had to have a knee replacement, but that hasn’t stopped her from making a splash.

“It has taken a little while for injuries to heal and it was frustrating having to wait, but I’ll never let it stop me doing my lengths in the pool. It’s become a hobby now. 

“I found it a little difficult when I first went back as it was hard to paddle, but one of the lifeguards suggested I use a woggle – a small hollow tube which goes around your arms to help you float –  and now I’m back to my best again. 

“I never really thought I’d be swimming at my age but it’s wonderful for both my health and mind set. I do 20 lengths every time I go. 

“I have also made some lovely friends, including Grant, who picks me up at 6.30 every morning and drops me back off when we’re done. But when he’s not available, I sometimes use my mobility scooter to go.

“I would recommend activities like this to anyone who wants to keep fit. If I can do it, so can you.  

“I look forward to seeing you in the pool.”

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