Last updated on 13 May 2013
Taking exercise, or doing some form of physical activity, can be an enjoyable way to spend your leisure time, as well as being of great benefit to your health. The activities described in this section are ways of keeping physically active that will also get you out and about, giving you the opportunity to meet new people.
You can find out more about the health benefits of taking exercise in our section on Keeping physically active.
It may be worthwhile getting an Active Newcastle Card which is a discount card that can give you savings at a wide range of leisure and sports facilities in Newcastle.
Age UK Newcastle/Active Ageing
Age UK Newcastle offer a weekly programme of opportunities to stay fit, active and learning in and around Newcastle City Centre. This currently includes dance classes at Blackfriars, fitness classes like Yoga and Tai Chi at Northumbria University’s Sport Central and an IT drop in at City Library. For times, prices and more information about any of their classes contact the Customer Services team.
You don’t have to move around much to take some kind of exercise. There are exercises that you can do while sitting down, or while standing up and holding on to a chair to help you.
Chair-based exercise classes tend to be held in the community, for example in community centres, sheltered housing complexes and churches.
Active Newcastle has more information on where classes are held in Newcastle.
If you have enjoyed competitive sport in the past but now find games like tennis too physically taxing, croquet could be the game for you.
There are many health benefits for older players; including gentle physical exercise, intellectual stimulation and warm sociability. It can also be played competitively or purely for pleasure.
You can cycle by yourself or as with others as part of a group. As a group exercise, cycling encourages team building and leadership skills.
WATbike organise regular guided leisure bike rides for all abilities across the North East. They provide support, training and access to a great range of cycle routes in the region. They use minibuses and bike trailers to transport bikes and riders to various locations including longer rides to Whitehaven, Edinburgh and John O’Groats. The guided rides take place mostly at weekends and evenings. They charge a small fee to pay for transportation and support.
Breeze Newcastle offers fun and free bike rides to women over the age of 18.
The Breeze Network can help you find a bike to ride, get some basic training and join other women who just want to enjoy a safe, local bike ride. There are also opportunities to volunteer to help encourage other women to get back on a bike. You can contact them on 0161 274 2117 or email@example.com. Please visit the Breeze Network website for more information and to find bike rides in your area.
Newcastle City Council Cycling have online advice and news on cycling in Newcastle including cycle routes and planning your journey.
Newcastle Cycling Campaign lobbies for better provision for cyclists in Newcastle by coordinating the efforts of individuals and cycling organisations to enable Newcastle to become truly cycle-friendly.
Recyke y'bike is a community project that accepts donated bikes from members of the public and recycles them for use by groups of people, such as the long-term unemployed, those who have been homeless, and those with mental health problems. If you have a bike that you haven't used for a while you could donate it to Recyke y'bike, or you could go to one of their workshops to learn how to fix it yourself. They also sell the refurbished bikes (and bits for bikes) at a low cost.
Anyone can enjoy dancing, regardless of age, shape, size, or whether or not you have danced before. Usually, you don’t need any special equipment to be able to dance. You can dance as part of a group, or alone, and in a variety of places. The social side of dancing can reduce isolation and help you to build your confidence and self-esteem. The following organisations may also be of interest.
Active Newcastle For more information on dance sessions in Newcastle.
Age UK Newcastle hold several different dance classes as part of their Healthy Living Centre programme.
Dance City is the National Dance Agency for the North East of England and is based in Newcastle. They have a programme of dance classes, as well as running workshops and holding performances that you can go and watch.
Newcastle Dance Centre also has a programme of dance classes for all ages and abilities; whether you are a beginner, an accomplished professional, or just seeking extra enjoyment from dancing.
Gentle Exercise- after illness
If you have long term medical conditions, or you've always thought that exercise wasn't for you, it can be almost impossible to think of ways you can exercise safely, comfortably and enjoyably.
HealthWORKS Newcastle Next steps – exercise class. This class involves gentle movement to music helping to gradually build up your fitness and your confidence. For more information and times of classes please visit the Healthworks Newcastle Website.
HealthWORKS Newcastle Exercise on Referral. Healthworks can work with you to organise a tailored made exercise programme suitable for you and your medical condition. They start slowly and help you to gradually build up your fitness and your confidence in the exercise equipment. You don't have to do anything that you don't want to or use equipment that you don't like and you won't be on your own in a room full of fitness fanatics. To get involved you will need to be referred to the scheme usually by your GP, Practice Nurse, health visitor or Physiotherapist. Please visit the Healthworks Newcastle Website for more information or to download a referral form
Groundwork The Green Gym is a health project for adults who lead inactive lifestyles, experience isolation, or have mental or physical health problems. Each person who takes part can gain in fitness, health and wellbeing. New skills can be learnt, new friends made and new interests discovered.
The Green Gym brings local people together to 'work out' in their local communities, through activities such as litter picking, woodland management and hedge pruning. Training and support is available to all members of the group, so that they can develop their skills and confidence. For further information, contact Groundwork
Newcastle United Foundation - Community offer Free Walking Football sessions. This is low impact exercise for over 50s on Wednesdays 4.30 to 6pm. Play at your own pace and meet new people. This may be of interest for people who want to get back into exercise and play football. Suitable for all abilities. The sessions take place at Complete Football, Newcastle Racecourse, NE3 5PH. Please note the sessions are organised by Stephen Hutchinson, Community Health Trainer at Newcastle United Foundation
New Age Kurling
Search Project is currently running New Age Kurling sessions. New Age Kurling is a form of curling that can be played on any flat indoor surface. It is accessible, fun and can be played by people of all abilities, including wheelchair users.
Groundwork offer free Nordic Walking Sessions from Ouseburn Farm, Mondays 10am. The walks will last no longer then 1 hour and are great for getting/keeping fit, losing weight or just enjoying a nice walk with new friends. They supply the poles, just bring yourself and some comfortable walking shoes. For more information or to book a place, please contact Janine Dormand on 0191 428 1144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Over - 50s Fitness In Exhibition ParkGroundwork are running sessions to teach you how to use the outdoor exercise equipment in Exhibition Park with a trained instructor. Activities will include health walks, Nordic Walking, sensory gardening, French Boules or indoor activities if it rains! Sessions are suitable for all over-50s no matter what fitness level. Café available for refreshments after the session. Make improvements to your health and make some friends too! Every Tuesday starting 7th August, 1.30-3.00pm Meeting at the café in Exhibition Park - Introductory offer £3 per session
Pilates combines western and eastern philosophies; teaching body awareness and breathing techniques, as well as promoting strength, flexibility, balance and co-ordination.
Active Newcastle for more information on pilates sessions in Newcastle. See their Over 50s section
Body Control Pilates has a network of qualified teachers who work to a strict Code of Practice governing their teaching standards and professional ethics. Visit their website to look for a qualified teacher close to you.
HealthWORKS Newcastle runs the Staying Steady programme. It is for anyone who is worried about their balance OR is afraid of falling OR has had a fall OR has osteoporosis. The Staying Steady Programme is scientifically proven to improve balance, reduce falls and to keep people living in their own homes for longer. Taking part will help you to keep mobile and to be more able to do the things you want. The classes will also give you an opportunity to make new friends and are designed to be enjoyable. For more information or to download a self-referral form visit the Healthworks Newcastle website.
Tai Chi originates from China and is a form of martial art which gently exercises the body, strengthens muscles, increases flexibility and improves balance. It is a great way of relaxing the mind and body, helping to combat the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Active Newcastle has more information on tai chi sessions in Newcastle.
Rookie Sports offers Target Golf. It is suitable for everyone, including older people, people with sensory impairments, and people in wheelchairs. It's a great way to meet new people and to get some gentle exercise.
Walking is an ideal way to get some fresh air. You can walk by yourself, or you can join others on an organised walk. There are some local organisations that provide support for walking activities, some of which are mentioned below.
Active Newcastle has information on organised walking groups in Newcastle.
Walk4Life enables you to create short walks near where you live, to find way-marked miles, or track your progress. It also lists free walking events.
Newcastle City Guides take people on guided tours around landmarks in Newcastle. You can join them on a range of public walking tours from May to September. All of the guides are trained volunteers.
Green Badge Guides There are also a number of Green Badge Guides who are self-employed accredited tour guides who have completed a course in all aspects of tourist guiding. They are able to research and customise tours for everyone from conference visitors to local community groups.
Newcastle & District CHA HF Rambling Club has been around since 1902. They organise 3 led walks a week and weekends away.
Newcastle Ranger Serviceprovides details of a number of self-led walks on countryside sites in Newcastle. Locations vary from areas of ancient woodland to country parks developed on reclaimed land. Ranger-led walks are also available by request.
Ouseburn Trust have developed several heritage walks around the Ouseburn Valley. They also have a programme of organised walks and talks.
Search Project organises several different walking groups.
Newcastle U3A - University of the Third Age has several walking groups, undertaking coastal strolls, nature walks and rambles. Members walk at a steady pace, giving plenty of time to look around and chat. For further information, contact Newcastle U3A using the details given below.
Yoga originated in India and combines exercise with posture, breathing and relaxation techniques. There are many different types of yoga.
Active Newcastle has information on yoga sessions in Newcastle
British Wheel of Yoga is a registered charity and is the governing body for yoga in Great Britain. They have a nationwide network of qualified teachers and can help you to find a class in your local area. They promote yoga classes to the general public.
HealthWORKS Newcastle Core fusion – exercise class A mix of Yoga, Pilates & callanentic moves that concentrate on working the core muscles, build stamina, strengthen, lengthen and stretch the body. Core is beginner - medium level fitness. You get out what you put in to the exercises and everyone works to their own level, non-competitive. Suitable for any level of fitness and any age group.
HealthWORKS Newcastle Stretch and Relaxation at The Lemington Centre A class containing the moves adapted from Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi to stretch the muscles, work the spine, lubricate the joints, and strengthen the core, finished by guided relaxation to set you up for the day. A wonderful way to exercise and de-stress. Suitable for any level of fitness and any age group.
Other Useful Information
- SpoGo includes information on a wide range of sports facilities. You can use their database to search for the nearest sports and leisure facilities to you, or to find a particular organisation.