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This weeks’ Swimming Fit Friday – Goal Setting

This weeks’ Swimming Fit Friday we are going to talk Goal Setting and getting started.

Well into our second month of 2018, congratulations you made it! For those us of who were quick to make up new years resolutions, maybe some of us have fallen off the horse. On the other hand some of us may be late to making major changes. If this is you, there’s no time like the present. A good friend of mine said it’s good to start things on a Monday, keeping that in mind we’ll spark a fire to get active on a Fit Friday, prep over the weekend and hit the ground running on Motivation Monday!

SMART, that’s the acronym those of us working to be successful follow. Take the time to read these questions provided by the SMART acronym when that light bulb goes off.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday:
Alex and Eamon going over SMART goals with their swimmers.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific: What do you want to achieve?
  • Measurable: Is this goal something you can measure?
  • Attainable: Can you accomplish this goal?
  • Relevant: Does this goal add value?
  • Time: What is the time frame we are going to do this in, and is it reasonable?

It is through this method we filter our ideas and get specific, and start to make real progress. Take this tool and share your SMART goal with someone you care about, hold yourself accountable to your goals. Through sharing we are now accountable to ourselves and those we shared it with.

 

 

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: Swimmer practicing Front Crawl.

Let’s look at an example:

S – Swim Freestyle 100m in under 2:00m

M – Yes, because we can use a timer to verify success

A – Yes, because I know how to perform basic Freestyle

R – I am training for ASAC

T – The ASAC meet is in 4 months

Understanding that this is where we want to be in 4 months time, we can add milestones throughout our journey. This can be checked at the end of each practice, or at the end of each month. Having Milestones in addition to our SMART allow us to re-evaluate our plans to attain this goal.

We’ll that’s all for this weeks Swimming Fit Friday. All the best!

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Swimming Fit Friday: Progressive Overload

Todays’ Swimming Fit Friday, will discuss progressive overload. This builds off of our last Swimming Fit Friday post, in which we discussed the use of the F.I.T.T Principle. Playing around with its various components and understanding how they work.

Below we have highlighted the key points of the F.I.T.T Principle.

F.I.T.T stands for:Swimming Fit Friday

  • Frequency: the number of repetitions, or times a week.
  • Intensity: The speed or resistance used to perform an exercise
  • Time: The duration one spends performing an exercise
  • Type of Exercise: How does it challenge the muscle group

Lastly:

  • When performing our exercises it is KEY to maintain ones form, bad form is an opportunity for injury! Continual posture checks throughout ones workout help to keep one in good form.

For a full review of the article click this link: http://aquafunacademy.ca/swimming-fit-friday-f-t-t-principles/

What is progressive overload?

Without change one cannot grow. This is especially true in regards to working out. To perform the same routine and expect our body to grow and develop continuously is very misguided.

In order to challenge the body to develop, the use progressive overload is employed by all trainers. Lets look at it in the form of an example:

If one decided to swim 50 lengths once a week, the body will eventually find this easy to do.

What are ways in which we can keep these 50 lengths difficult?

Below we have listed 4 ways in which you can employ the use of progressive overload.Swimming Fit Friday

  • We can swim 50 lengths twice a week.
  • We can swim 50 lengths arms only or legs only
  • We can swim 50 lengths in 20mins
  • We can do a more difficult stroke or less practiced stroke for 50 lengths.

Those are some ways in which we can employ the use of progressive overload. Eventually these adjustments will become easy and we will have to alter them to allow the body to continue to progress in strength speed, and efficiency. Try on your own to employ the use of progressive overload into your routines and enjoy the benefits of exercise, until next time!

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Swimming Fit Friday: F.I.T.T Principles

For today’s Swimming Fit Friday we will discuss personal fitness within the realm of aquatics. Specifically the F.I.T.T principles and how to apply it to your life both in and outside of the pool!

F.I.T.T Stands for:

  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Time
  • Type of Exercise

When looking at exercise guidelines, it is recommended to exercise 3-4 times a week for, a duration of 60 minutes. Knowing this a common theme is that 3-4 times a week for 60 minutes is not something that fits nicely into everyones’ schedule. If one is blissfully unaware of the F.I.T.T principle one often sees exercise as an ultimatum. As a result many of us go without exercising. Lack of exercise can lead too poor or worse health, lack of motivation and drive, lowered self-esteem, and high levels of stress. Finding a way to get exercise into your schedule really works wonders for the individual and all those they are connected too.

To get more out of our day, we can increase the frequency in which we work out, to twice a day for 15 minutes. It is easier to find small windows of time. Another example would be 15 minutes of a high intensity workout 3 times a week. In which we increased both the frequency and intensity.

Understanding this means we know that one does not want to exercise at a leisurely pace, with your increased exercise frequency, reduced time period, you need to increase the intensity of the workout. This helps us reap similar benefits as if we were to follow the recommended guidelines. Making modifications to our exercise routine with the use of the F.I.T.T principle, helps us to achieve our exercise goals!

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: A person performing water running with assistance of a buoyancy belt.

Intensity can be adjusted in various ways. For example:

  • Running 10, 100m sprints, instead of jogging a mile. Would be an increase in intensity.
  • Water running, instead of running on a treadmill, you’ve increased resistance and therefore increased the intensity.
  • Holding a push up, and performing an isometric hold. Check the link below for a quick 20 seconds demo!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqAjyXjfQpc

  • In an aquatic situation you can perform with only body weight or add the addition of a noodle, or dumbbells to work against buoyancy. When performing a push down, as shown by the woman in the photo underneath to the right.
    Swimming Fit Friday

    Swimming Fit Friday: a woman performing push down with the use of a buoyancy resistance tool, called dumbbells.

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Swimming Fit Friday: Swimmers in a deep water aquafit class, using the noodles to increase the resistance in their arm action. Buoyancy belts are a common tool for deep water aquafit.

Intensity can also be coupled with the concept of exercise type. For example, you can do crunches or you can hold a 5pound medicine ball to increase the load while performing sit-ups. Similar exercise, higher intensity! In an aquatic situation you can perform with only body weight or add the addition of a noodle, to work against buoyancy.

 

Well that’s all for todays’ Swimming Fit Friday, and the F.I.T.T principles! Until Next Time!

P.S Remember when performing our exercises it is KEY to maintain ones form, bad form is an opportunity for injury! Continual posture checks throughout ones workout help to keep one in good form.

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Swimming Fit Friday Balance and Core Strength

This weeks’ Swimming Fit Friday, is going to look over balance and core strength. In the world of fitness there is specific terms also called “jargon” used to identify various movements, and target areas. One of those terms is core. Seemingly straight forward, your core refers to the centre portion of your body. The muscles that compose ones core in the front are as follows:

  • Rectus adbominis
  • Internal Obliques
  • External Obliques
  • Transverse abdominis

The back core muscles include, the multifidus and erector spinae group.

In simpler terms, the abdominals, obliques, and erector spinae groups are the main muscle groups within ones core. These muscles are key components of what allow us to have proper balance when performing various tasks within our day-to-day life. If our core strength is weak, our balance will be shake and that makes one prone to falls.

As we age, strengthening and maintaining ones core muscles is essential, because most hip related injuries occur during falls. It is also important to understand that having hip injuries that lead to hip replacements significantly reduce our life expectancy, and overall quality of life.

Another factor that comes with age is that it becomes increasingly more difficult to bare excess weight. Excess weight creates an additional strain on our joints. To combat this aquatic workouts are the most effective! As a result of the reduced impact on the joints, furthermore due to the buoyancy of the water we can challenge different muscle groups more effectively.

The following are examples of exercises one can do to help strengthen and maintain their core strength & balance:

  • Leg sweeps: For this move you will keep one foot on the ground. With the other leg you will abduct or move away from the center of the body in a sweeping motion. Once your leg is pushed as far as you feel comfortable, bend at the knee and adduct or move the leg back towards the center of your body. Do this move on both sides, as it challenges balance and core strength, as well as provides a great leg workout!
  • Swimming Fit Friday Natation Forme VendrediTree pose: Often done in yoga, can also be performed in the water. The swimmer will have one foot remains on the ground. With the other, the swimmer will place their foot on the inner calf, not the knee or ankle(as that will put unnecessary pressure on the joint). As this is done, one can raise the hands up towards the ceiling inhaling and as the arms relax back down exhale. This can be done as many times as the swimmer wants, make sure to work both sides, with this great core and balance exercise!
  • Crunches: Using a pool noodle, the swimmer will lean back and suspend them selves in the water on the noodle. Thus the swimmers feet should be off the ground. Once steady the swimmer will pull their knees in towards the chest and then push away repetitively for about 60 seconds. This can be done in between other exercises.
  • L-sit or V-sit: Using the noodle the swimmer will lean back and suspend them selves in the water on the noodle. Bending at the hips/waist the swimmer will hold their feet up so that their toes are either at the top of the water or are exiting the water with straight legs. To make either an L or a V shape. Hold for about 30-60 seconds at a time.Swimming Fit Friday Natation Forme Vendredi

Now you have some examples of exercises you can take the pool with you one your next swim. Well that’s a wrap for this weeks swimming Fit Friday, until next time!

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Swimming Fit Friday: Exercise and Arthritis.

 

 

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Above is a photo of Aqua Fitness participants, with noodles

This swimming Fit Friday we will talk about ‘Exercise and Arthritis’.As we’ve discussed before the properties of water do fantastic things for the body.  One aspect that is noted often is that the water allows for a low impact environment. The water also allows those with reduced muscle mass, to weight bear with ease.

When working with participants who have arthritis the goal is to extend ones range of motion, building on flexibility while conditioning the muscle for positive developments in strength.

Because participants usually come with a limited range of motion, it is a preference of mine to only use ones body to exercise. Thus my classes in these cases tend to be equipment free. Warm water pools like Sunny View are perfect! Because the mobility required to thermo-regulate can be limited for the participants with decreased range of motion.

As an instructor I work to increase ROM (Range of Motion) by starting with small finer movements and gradually making the movements larger and more fluid. For example movement in the shoulders can be stiff, thus we can start by extending our arms as seen in the photo below. 

Swimming Fit Friday

Above is a photo of Michael Phelps arm span.

Once we’ve done this we will start by moving our arms in small circles and slowly increase the size of these circles with our arm. It is important to do this in both directions for a total time of 60 seconds, and 30 seconds in each direction.

A trend common amongst instructors who specialize in teaching this demographic is to limit every exercise to roughly 30 seconds intervals. Doing so allows the body time recoup and reduce muscle fatigue for the duration of the class.

In regards to building strength for this demographic it is also important to focus on balance. Having participants challenge their core strength, through various leg lifts, and holding various positions for 30 seconds at a time. Conditions the stabalizer muscles and promotes muscular endurance. Overall improving the participants’ quality of life, as they are able to stand for longer period of time. Which can allow them to do more around the household such as cooking and cleaning.

For opportunities on various adult classes and fitness programs visit the link below:

Health and Fitness

That’s a wrap for this weeks, Swimming Fit Friday!

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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/

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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”:

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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!