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Swimming Fit Friday: Social Posture

This weeks Swimming Fit Friday we will discuss posture, and exercises one can do to improve, maintain and build their posture. However first we will discuss posture and its implications.

Posture is an important feature of our everyday lives it helps us communicate various characteristics such as confidence, power, authority, and strong leadership. These qualities are associated with good posture. Though these qualities may not be something inherent to the individual. Posture is something we can develop. With improved posture others may expect these positive characteristics from us. This is an advantage, for as humans we are performative creatures. Having others perceive us in this positive way can elicit us to act this way. Thus we become confident, powerful, and possess strong leadership.

Form is an implicit part of exercise success a lot of aquatic fitness, and water yoga rely on the ability to maintain ones posture. Body checks are done regularly throughout the class ensuring that participants are mindful of their proper form.

Starting at the top of the back underneath the shoulder blades, we have the Rhomboids; these muscles are crucial for developing proper posture. In aquafit, we can strengthen this area by standing in our athletic position; one for forward, and one back, and shoulders over hips.Swimming Fit Friday With our arms we will bring our elbows close to the torso of the body with the palms open. It is from this position that the athlete will relax the arms forward with the palms facing down until they are in front of the athlete, and then turn the palms 90 degrees, pushing the hands to the sides of the body, squeezing the shoulder blades together maintaining that the elbows remain close to the torso and that the hands do not extend past the shoulders. Repetition of these 25 times will build the upper back and shoulders.

To engage the entirety of the back, we can engage in various noodle work. The simplest is bicycle. This can be done by either sitting on the noodle or propping the noodle underneath ones arms. The points of interest are to maintain ones shoulders over hips throughout the cycle. Furthermore one wants to bring the legs forward in front of the body rather than underneath. By doing this we activate many of the postural muscles. It is through exercising these that we not only improve our health but our social standing as well.

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Swimming Fit Friday: Water Yoga

Today’s Swimming Fit Friday is all about Water Yoga

Why Water Yoga? Well as the old saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Exercising in the water as a stand alone has a multitude of benefits for the body.

  • Reduced stress impact on joints
  • Increased blood flow due to hydro-static properties
  • Water resistance assist in balanced muscle development
  • Water buoyancy assist in maintaining as well as increasing range of motion

These are just a few of the benefits that come with working in water, when coupled with Yoga we introduce a broader list of benefits, that also incorporates a positive effect on the individuals’ mental health.

  • Reduces mental tension
  • Improves cognitive functions
  • Regulation of sleep schedule
Swimming Fit Friday

Tree Pose

Please refer to the link below for the article on Oneness and Buoyancy:

http://aquafunacademy.ca/swimming-fit-friday-oneness-buoyancy/

When combining water and yoga together, we can enhance the following benefits:

  • Postural strength
  • Muscular endurance
  • Weight distribution*

When thinking of our weight, often it is simplified to how much one weighs. Contrary to this method of thinking, the distribution of weight can be broken down into and various elements. Visceral fat (around the organs) or subcutaneous fat (underneath the skin), musculature, and water weight; all of these are important. Through the movements of Yoga combined with water and performed correctly, can improve overall weight distribution.

Focusing on the overall number of our cumulative weight distracts us from achieving our fitness goals. Through Water Yoga, we can,

  • Boosts Metabolism
  • Promote and maintain muscle growth
  • Better balance and coordination
  • maintain and increase flexibility
  • Promote brain elasticity by engaging in new movements*

Working in water forces us to adjust the way we move in it. In order to properly isolate muscle groups, and safely utilize the resistance of water. Learning these new techniques and movements strengthens the motor centers in the brain, promoting brain elasticity.

aquafit-slider-2Well that just about wraps up  today’s Swimming Fit Friday. Why Water Yoga -not convinced? Seeing is believing, but why not try a class?

Check out Aqua Fun Academy’s Health and Fitness section in the link below:

http://aquafunacademy.ca/health-fitness/

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly – Dolphin Kick.

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday Butterfly – Dolphin Kick.

Butterfly is a more advance stroke, for it requires controlled upper body strength and coordination of the arms and legs. Because of how advance this skill is we will revisit and discuss other components in future article, so keep your eyes pealed for some helpful pro tips.

Swimming is all about transferable skills, for those who have master Breaststroke an intermediate skill in which there is a large amount of coordination involved between the upper and lower body. The coordination of arms and legs during Butterfly will come more naturally in comparison to those who are still grasping Breaststroke. Another transferable skill is mastery of dolphin kick, as it is a direct building block for the overall mastery of Dolphin Kick.

In today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will focus on the how to execute the dolphin kick component of Butterfly.

When executing dolphin kick a large part of the movement comes from isolation of the hips. In a streamlined position along the water, the swimmer will push their pelvis downward to generate momentum that will move down the body from the hips, thighs, knees, calves, and then feet.

This downward push of the pelvis is done twice. The first wave to allows for mostly forward momentum, the second wave is used to generate upward momentum to bring the torso and head out of the water. Allowing the swimmer to breathe.

Pro tips:

  • Swimmers often use the imagery of a mermaid tail to describe how the legs push through the water, while keeping them close together.
  • The catch in between kicks is important, you want to pull the hips up higher on the second kick to help generate more downward momentum.
  • While doing the kick the first kick will always be smaller then the second. The size of the kicks refers to the amount of downward movement from the hips.
  • Powerful downbeats of the feet then propel the body forward. Try to keep your legs close together with your ankles relaxed.Swimming Tip Tuesday
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Swimming Fit Friday – The Importance of Stretching

Today’s Swimming Fit Friday Post we will discuss the importance of stretching.

Many of us are guilty of neglecting stretching as a part of our regular routine. Though as we age it becomes increasingly important to stretch in our daily lives. Stretching dependent on the duration and intensity can be it’s own separate work out. For example Yoga is highly focused on learning ones body but also on stretching ones body and increasing the general range of motion. Our range of motion is composed of two elements; how well we can rotate and twist around a joint, secondly, how easily are these movements accomplished. The more frequently we stretch our range of motion increases. In the water it is relatively easier to work on expanding our ROM (range of motion).

I’m going to give some pointers on a helpful stretch one can do over time to help alleviate stiffness and reduce pain, which one can do in the water, as well as on land. Though the effectiveness of these movements is greater within the water.

A stretch for those of us with tight hips, or pain radiating down the outer most portion of the thigh the following stretch can help.

The equipment needed for this stretch is a pool noodle. Though it can be done without if one has a very strong scull.Swimming Fit Friday

  • Bringing the noodle underneath ones arms and keeping good posture
  • Place your right foot over top of your left knee.
  • Just above the ankle as well as to the left of your knee apply pressure and ease yourself into a seated position.

This stretch will open up the hips. If one has good balance within the water, try to pick your foot closest to the ground off of the floor – putting the body into suspend. This will further allow you to open up your hips and stretch the IT band down the side of the leg. Hold for up to 15-30 seconds at a time, on each side. If one is doing this as a beginner on land do so while sitting on the edge of a chair to Swimming Fit Fridaymaintain proper form.Swimming Fit Friday

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Swimming Fit Friday: “No Pain, No Gain”

This weeks Swimming Fit Friday we will discuss the saying “No, Pain, No Gain”:

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: The following photo has the phrase, “No Pain, No Gain” .

We’ve often heard the phrase “No pain, no gain”? How often do we push ourselves too far because we wholeheartedly believe in this sentiment? Though through no fault of our own, we have been plagued with the idea that in order to achieve success in exercise that it must be painful. This sentiment can lead us to overworking our bodies and ultimately injury. Bringing us further away from achieving exercise success. With this in mind it is important for us to reframe the way we understand what it means to exercise successfully.

When thinking of exercise, think of the exercises we enjoy. The ones that are seemingly effortless (with practice). Remember difficulty in execution of an exercise is not the same as pain. When we encounter execution hurdles it is important to take a step back evaluate what needs to change for a successful execution.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: An example of a push up, or rather a push down with the added resistance of buoyant dumbbells.

Sometimes certain exercises just require more practice. By accumulating more strength or more flexibility. Put the emphasis on improving this over a period of time, allowing your body to progress at its own pace. Challenge is good for brain development as well as the body. It is through our mental and physical development that we can characterize success.

The water is a great environment in which we can rehabilitate the muscles strength and flexibility. The water has a cushion effect which can reduce impact on the joints. As a result of the water pressure it assists the body in venous return, the increased blood flow allows the body to deliver nutrients faster and promotes healing for the muscles, bones, and cardiovascular system as a whole. Due to the buoyancy and resistant effects of the water, we can not only target antagonist muscles groups but we can achieve higher workloads to prevent muscles atrophy and promote muscles development. All of this allows us to work smart and slow while still improving our personal fitness.

Remember to always be smart, be safe, and have fun! 

 

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Swimming Fit Friday: Water and Resistance

Today’s Swimming Fit Friday of the week: 

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday; an example of working in a streamline position

There is fourteen to fifteen times greater the resistance on the body when exercising in water, than in comparison to when exercising on land. This effect of resistance is experienced significantly when exercising in a vertical body position in contrast to a horizontal body position. A horizontal body position is used to streamline the body and make movements easier, allowing one to work with instead of against the water resistance.

As a result of this, aquatic fitness and water yoga instructors utilize this property of water by doing the majority of their movements in a vertical body position. An advantage of working within this increased resistance allows us to improve our muscular endurance and muscular strength. How you might ask? In combination with the resistance one must move their body differently in the water.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday; an example of an antagonist muscle group

Due to this difference one can easily target antagonist muscle groups such as the triceps, and hamstrings. Resulting in further development core strength, as well as postural muscles. In regards to how one improves muscular endurance, one can accomplish more repetitions per set while working within water instead of on land. For example, on land a typical set is 5-8 repetitions per set. In the water, we can accomplish 8-25 repetitions per set. This increase in repetitions enhances our muscular endurance.

In combination with the water, we can use buoyancy equipment to intensify the level of resistance one is working against and thus increase muscular strength in a more profound way. However as we intensify the level of resistance with equipment, the number of repetitions accomplished will decrease.  As our muscular strength increases we can continue to improve our muscular endurance with the addition of buoyancy equipment to intensify the water resistance.

Remember to always be smart, be safe, and work slow, and have fun!