As the summer approaches, Canary Wharf swimmers will be pulling on their costumes and taking the plunge to cool off in the seasonal heat.
It’s an effective antidote to the, hopefully, scorching weather, as well as one of the best forms of exercise for those who wish to get, or keep, in shape.
But where should you go? Indoors or outdoors? Those docks don’t look too inviting.
The case for a plunge in the pool
Andrew Clark is national sports and aquatics manager at GLL, which operates the London Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as well as Tiller Leisure Centre on the Isle of Dogs.
He said: “Pool-based exercise is a great way to lose weight and get fit.
“As it is non-weight bearing, you’re less likely to injure yourself, which makes it ideal for people of all ages and abilities.
“Swimming is not only a great way to stay healthy, have fun and socialise, it’s an essential life skill too.”
He believes that there are “hidden dangers” in outdoor swimming and encouraged swimmers to continue using leisure centres.
“Our pools provide a safe environment for you to cool off or have fun in the water this summer,” he said.
“Swimming is such a fun activity for people of all ages, whether climbing across our pool inflatables or enjoying a swim in one of our outdoor pools there are sessions to suit all regardless of the weather.”
There are also several facilities at Canary Wharf including Virgin Active Canary Riverside with membership costing £109 a month. The Canary Wharf Health Club in Cabot Square and Third Space (formerly Reebok Sports Club) in Canada Square also have pools.
The case for a dip in the docks
Rich Kiddle is the organiser of London Royal Docks Open Water Swimming and believes more people are ditching the indoor pool for open waters.
Rich said: “We started last year in July and we had about 700 people.
“We are actually looking to triple that this summer.
“Open water swimming is really growing. It’s no secret that people are moving out of health clubs in droves because of the outdoor exercise market, whether it’s military training or groups of people going for runs.
“For swimming, a lot of people join health clubs because they have a swimming pool and they don’t use it because they don’t like the environment.”
According to Rich, the draw to the outdoors is the incomparable “natural, refreshing and invigorating” feeling.
“It isn’t just for people who want to keep fit,” he said, “we get people of all shapes and sizes. I think it’s more about being in the water and the way it makes people feel.”
As a halfway house, if you don’t fancy the docks (we don’t recommend the Thames either on account of the treacherous currents), why not try Charlton Lido, a bridge between worlds.