Advanced Care Research Centre

Looking for Participants: New Exercise Programme for Balance and Strength for Older Adults!

Find out about a new free fitness programme - Aqua Steps - not run by the ACRC, but may be of interest.

Do you sometimes feel unstable/unsteady, or have poor gait or balance?

Do you have a history of falling, or are at risk of falling? 


If some of the above are applicable for you, then you could be eligible to participate in an exciting new aquatic exercise programme called Aqua Steps!

Please see some information on the programme below. If you are interested, please get in touch with our Aqua Steps administrator, Ms Diane Chirnside, via email ( or phone (07385 114254; you may also request a call back, if preferable).


Participation in the exercise programme is FREE of charge and the programme starts in March 2024. As the spaces are limited, if you are interested in participating we would encourage you to get in touch with us as soon as possible, and ideally by early to mid-February.

Kind regards,


The Aqua Steps team


--- More Information on the Aqua Steps programme---


What is Aqua Steps and what are the benefits of it? A new aquatic exercise programme, developed by experts in the field, from the University of Edinburgh, Glasgow Caledonian University and Edinburgh Leisure, among others. The programme aims to improve your balance, strength, endurance, confidence and independence.

Who can take part in Aqua Steps? The programme is aimed towards people who have some/any of the following: feel unstable/unsteady, have poor gait or balance, have a history of falling or are at risk of falling, have low bone density or previous fracture.

Do exercise sessions take place in a swimming pool? Yes, in the shallow water only (around waist/chest depth).

I am not a great swimmer; do I need any swim skills? Absolutely not! The exercises take place in shallow water, so no previous experience or skill is needed. You will be able to work at your own pace during the class, guided by our expert instructors.

I may find it difficult to get in and out of the pool without some help, would there be any support available? Most definitely! Our exercise instructors and pool lifeguards will be helping you on the poolside, and to enter and exit the pool when needed. Volunteers will also be available to help in some sessions, and you are welcome to bring along a family member, friend or carer, should you wish so. Finally, pool hoists (for safe entry/exit from the water) are available at swimming pools and will be used when necessary.

What’s the cost? The classes are FREE for participants, as the cost is covered by funding secured by the collaboration through the Chief Scientist Office for Scotland. What’s more, we will also have a small gathering after each session, with complementary tea, coffee and biscuits.

Where does the programme take place? In 5 swimming pools, the first 4 in Edinburgh and the 5th in Midlothian: 1) Warrender Swim Centre (Marchmont), 2) Dalry Swim Centre (Dalry), 3) Ainslie Park Leisure Centre (Inverleith/Pilton), 4) Glenogle Swim Centre (Stockbridge), 5) Penicuik Leisure Centre (Penicuik).

How often and for how long? There are 2 sessions per week (30 minutes in the water for each session). There are a few different time slots, so you can choose the ones convenient for you. The programme will last for 16 weeks.

When does it start? The programme will start in the first week of March 2024 (last week of March for Penicuick). We may accept people starting later than those dates, if there are still spaces available, so feel free to speak to us even if unable to start in March.

Can I choose the swimming pool that I prefer? In most cases you should be able to choose the pool that is most convenient for you. However, as spaces in each pool are limited, if a group is full we may offer you an alternative pool.

It sounds interesting! How can I get more information? We would be delighted to contact you with you with more information. For us to do so, please get in touch with our Aqua Steps administrator, Ms Diane Chirnside, via email ( or phone (07385 114254). You may also request a call back, if preferable. 

When is the deadline for contacting you? There is no strict deadline. However, given that spaces are limited, we would encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible, and ideally by early to mid-February. We would however also be happy to accommodate later requests too, providing that there are spaces left, so do feel free to contact us later on February or in March if you wish.