Dipping an oar into a new way of keeping fit

BRITAIN’S rowing success at this year’s Olympics has helped to promote the sport to a whole new audience ...

NHS staff get fit in the water tank at the Tyne United Rowing Club
NHS staff get fit in the water tank at the Tyne United Rowing Club

BRITAIN’S rowing success at this year’s Olympics has helped to promote the sport to a whole new audience ... and now NHS staff have become the latest to stick their oar in.

Fourteen members of NHS staff took to the new state-of-the-art rowing tank at the Tyne United Rowing Club on the south bank of the Tyne at Newburn last week.

It is the latest activity to be offered to staff as part of the Workforce Workfit programme which aims to get employees more engaged in physical activity through their employers.

The tank, which holds nine tonnes of water, is a real asset to the club as it is an excellent all-weather training aid.

The coaches can easily wander right around it to give individuals support and tips.

The tank can even circulate water to replicate the conditions on the Tyne and is unique in that it can accommodate eight people in line, either in a rowing or sculling configuration.

The feedback was so positive from NHS staff involved that negotiations are now under way to take things to the next level with a full learn-to-row course.

Tony Baldasera, clinical programme lead at NHS North East, said: “That was the most fun I’ve ever had on water without the risk of capsising or drowning!”

David Bell, project coordinator, added: “I thought the whole experience was great and it felt really surreal being in the tank.

“I think with this being one of the big successes in the Olympics it was great to have a go.

“You don’t realise how hard it is and you learn to appreciate how much hard work the athletes went through to get to that standard.”

Elaine Wilson, the NHS Olympic Ambassador, said: “The UK had such a lot of success in the Olympic rowing events this year and our office is right next to the Tyne ... just two reasons why it made sense to include some rowing activity in our Workforce Workfit programme!”

Tyne United Rowing Club (TURC) was only founded in 2007 but has grown substantially in a short time. TURC also has a suite of 18 Concept2Ergo indoor rowing machines which are used for training and they also offer indoor rowing courses.

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