LAP IT UP: The Forum Swim Academy’s head coach Paul Sharman, left, and assistant coach Chris Griffin with a morning Swimfit class. Picture: SuppliedI was never a swimmer growing up.

I can now slowly rack up a few laps but still wouldn’t classify myself as a swimmer.

I would like to be better at swimming and watch enviously as my kids do their weekly swimming lessons. At their ages I dreaded the yearly school swimming carnival.

It wasn’t until in adulthood that a couple of friends and I braved the pool and baths one summer until we finally got the hang of it.

And I say braved because for someone who had never had proper swimming lessons as a kid –I did the mandatory week-long sessions in infants school but I was so anxious I think it did more harm than good -the act of going to a pool to try to swim laps was intimidating.

Now though, when spring arrives and I know summer will soon follow, I look forward to incorporating some swimming into my weekly exercise regime.

I find it relaxing, almost therapeutic. I can switch off for half and hour or quietly plan out the day ahead. My kids are getting to an age now where they can come along too, which is nice to get active as a family.

There are so many benefits of swimming and it offers a lower impact alternative for your body if you run a lot or if your body cannot handle high impact exercise.

It is also a nice, cooler alternative in the warmer months.

If swimming is something that you have often thought you would like to do it is never too late to get help.

I spoke to Beth Bird, The Forum Swim Academy aquatics manager, and discovered there were loads of options for people starting out.

The Forum Swim Academy offers swimming lessons forbabies through to adults, including learn-to-swim classes focusing on things like water awareness, safety and stroke techniques, to squad training.

You can book private adult learn-to-swim lessons and The Forum also offersSwimfit, which is a 75-minute session for a range of ages and abilities.

“We get all shapes and sizes,” Beth said. “We get people who are just starting out and can barely swim a lap to those who are into doing triathlons and ocean swims.

“The coaches will cater for anyone and it’s a fun environment.”

Swimfit is held at The Forum Monday to Friday at 7am as well as Mondays and Wednesdays at 6pm.

If you have a specific goal in mind –it could be being able to swim in the pool confidently to a specific event on your sporting calendar –coaches can help you to reach it.

Swimming is great for cross training. If you do a lot of high intensity land workouts then swimming can aid with mobility.

It also offers a whole body workout andif you are on the comeback from injury then it offers a training alternative to improve strength and cardiovascular fitness.

The Forum also offers Do It Yourself Swimfit each day at noon, where a pre-programmed session is provided.

Having an expert on hand and other people to train with can be more motivating than trying to go it alone, and that goes for any sports or activities.

The Forum also offersaqua fit classes, which will help improve cardiovascular fitness and strength with little impact on your joints.

According to www.theforum成都桑拿.au, water aerobics also builds endurance and increases flexibility and offers benefit for all ages.

If you are looking for an event that requires swimming, there are a few coming up in our region.

The Maitland Triathlon is celebrating its 20thanniversary on November 4. There are three courses available with the swim options 750 metres for the sprint distance, 1500m for the standard/Olympic distance and two kilometres for the middle distance.

You can get a team together and just do the swim leg or do the whole thing.

For a longer-term goal, the Across the Harbour swim is generally held on Day and the Sparke Helmore Newcastle City Triathlon is on February 24.

Upcoming Fitness EventsMongrel Classic, Richmond Vale, October 20:It is marketed as the ‘newest and fanciest mountain bike event in the country’. Suited tothe whole family, there is12km, 40km and 60km.

Fernleigh 15, Fernleigh Track, October 21:A 15-kilometre course along the Fernleigh Track. Do it as an individual ora team of five with change-over zones at each railway station.

Maitland Triathlon, Morpeth, November 4:There arethree courses on offer with amiddle distance, Olympic format and sprint distance event. It is celebrating its 20thanniversary and there is also the 10-kilometreSummer Run as an option.

Spring Sessions Week #7More wet weather is forecast butyou can still get a workout without stepping out the door. Try this:

Set 1:5 squats, 5push-ups, 10 mountain climbers/standing shuffles, 5dead lifts with row, 10lunges with biceps curls, 5triceps extension, 5burpees.

Set 2:10 squats, 10push-ups, 20mountain climbers/standing shuffles, 10dead lifts with row, 20lunges with biceps curls, 10triceps extension, 10burpees.

Set 3:15 squats, 15push-ups, 30 mountain climbers/standing shuffles, 15dead lifts with row, 30lunges with biceps curls, 15triceps extension, 15burpees.

Keep going by adding step 2 then step 1.

Send your health and fitness news to [email protected]成都楼凤.au.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.