Back in November I joined a gym, I know, I know, how am I always so ahead of the trend! Anyway I joined a gym and they gave me a number of different offers for membership.
'This one', they said 'comes with full-access to the track and field and racquet sports'...*tumble-weed. Please, its November, who wants to be outdoors! I did in fact choose this option because, aside from the appeal of hurdling outdoors at 5 am in minus temperatures this membership also enabled me to use the sauna and steamroom (come on why do we really go to gyms?!) and any of classes, gyms and pools of the branches in the BETTER network.
X-TREME AQUA FIT IN LEYTON
The swimming pool opened about three weeks before I returned and is the oddest shape known to man. 25metres but with a funny bulge at the deep end. Ooer matron. This was the first pool I used and was the location for the SAS style aqua-fit I did back in Autumn. When I got in the pool, and the water was calm, it reached the top of shoulders, when the water was in motion it was sometimes above my head! This was particularly the case whilst doing push-ups on the side of the pool; extend your arms or drown was the order of the day.
the flume pool, where children play.
LAUNDRY AND SPIN CLASS: IRONMONGER ROW
Now technically the closest to this pool I've got is the changing room but its so convenient for work that I regularly use the gym and have tried three classes there; I like the Spin class, v good humoured. Anyway, the building is fascinating. Back in 1929 only 4% of homes in Finsbury had private baths so the Council built a bath-house. The renovators have kept one slipper-bath as an exhibit, it took all my will-power not to jump in! The original building also featured Turkish Baths, because you know, if you're gonna get clean you might as well do it in style! The pools joined the outfit in the 1930's and a laundry in the 1970's. The building is an inspiring place to exercise in; its almost like exercising inside an archaeological site in a very positive sense, and without the dirt.
see look how lovely and light it is!
AN OASIS IN THE CITY: OASIS
I've kept my favourite until last. I have often walked past the grey, concrete exterior of this leisure centre en route to Covent Garden and bustling about the city centre. I had no idea the gems hidden beneath. The changing room has a plasma screen showing the news for a start! And the sauna is not bad. But the real gem is the outdoor, heated, eccentrically distanced (27.5m) pool. Within 5 mins walk of Holborn station you could be swimming outdoors; and looking at the stars if you are doing backstroke after work! I've used the pool several times and I'm always surprised by how much distance I cover - those extra 2.5 metres in each length add up - but also the cool air kept me refreshed and invigorated. Plus you can bring your towel out pool-side. Its worth knowing this as I definitely walked round the centre in my swimming costume alone, fine when you're dry. Less funny when you are leaving wet puddles in your wake!
Oasis: in summer
p.s. Just to be really clear, BETTER have not sponsored this post, as far as I'm aware they don't even know it exists :)