Aqua Fun Academy
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Swimming Fit Friday: Exercise and Self Esteem

On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday, we are going to discuss exercise. as well as how it can have a positive effects on our self-esteem. With ads and social media influencing our self-perception of shaping what is and is not of value. It can be increasingly difficult for people of all backgrounds, sizes, shapes, and abilities to hold onto what makes them amazing.

I would like to say that as a person you do not owe anyone health, fitness, or beauty. Exercise can provide a space to discover one’s passions, capacity for learning new skills, and overall growth.

Swimmimg Fit FridayTaking up an exercise can provide us with an out, it can take us outdoors, exercising can get us unplugged from ads and social media momentarily.

We can find excitement in our new abilities; from lifting your first weight, to running your first ½ marathon, to swimming in your first competition. Overcoming challenges has a positive effect on our mental state. The endorphins released into the body are responsible for feelings such as happiness.

I have also noticed that the confidence that comes with knowing you’re good at a skill has a way of translating intoSwimming Fit Friday other avenues of your life. It can become its own well in which we draw from to actively discover new passions.

Engaging in exercise can also give us new friends, or even and entire community. Joining a sports team, or league, having a weekly swim buddy, or a network of people at your pool. Being surrounded by amazing people makes us better.

Excelling at our exercise / sport of choice builds our perseverance, our character, and our self-esteem. Exercise provides us with a template for learning, it demonstrates to the individual that time and effort are fundamental in achieving our goals.

I challenge all of you to go out there and find an exercise, sport, or activity that feels good to you!

Until next Swimming Fit Friday

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Swimming Fit Friday: I Like To Move It!

On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday we will discuss different ways you can get into fitness or out of a fitness rut. Winter is a difficult time to stay physically active but with spring and summer approaching, there’s more to do outside!

Things to keep in mind, you do not have to commit to a full 3-4 day exercise regime. There are many opportunities throughout our day that we can do to increase our physical activity overall. Start slow and increase the amount of physical activity as you progress. Going on walks, is fantastic for improving your circulation. I recommend going on a walk twice a day at a moderate pace. How do we find time for walking? See some opportunities below:Swimming Fit Friday

  • Taking the dog on a walk.
  • Joining a friend for a walk.
  • Joining a friend with a dog for a walk.
  • Parking further away from the store entrance.
  • Some end of season shopping at the mall.
  • Walk to the mailbox.
  • Prep the yard for garden work or set up the patio.

These are just a few ways to get more steps into your day! To get back into a regime you can always start with exercises that have you laydown or sit down.Swimming Fit Friday

  • Leg raises
  • Squats over a chair or stool
  • Crunches
  • Superman planks (on stomach)

 

For regular exercisers who are feeling less motivated to stick with their regime, remember to make your workout versatile! Add a new skill and track your progress every two weeks. Some land and aquatic exercises are listed below:

  • Pull ups
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Front squats
  • Flexibility test as simple as touching our toes.
  • Sun-tan superman
  • Seated kick backs (with flutter board)
  • Or implement a circuit with 5 activities ranging from 30 – 60 seconds.

Here’s a beginner circuit we would do with our ASAC program:

  • 30 seconds legs only flutter kick on front (to warm up).
  • 5-10 push ups (to build upper body and core strength).
  • 30 seconds dolphin kick (to strengthen lower body).
  • 10-15 sit-ups (to strengthen core).
  • 25-50m of arms only front crawl with a pool buoy (to strengthen upper body).
  • 4 front crawl sprints with 30 second rest period (to improve speed and endurance).

Happy Exercising! Until next Swimming Fit Friday!July 26, 2017

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Elbows in Front Crawl

This week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday lets us hone in on high elbows in Front Crawl and ways to practice executing this skill. High elbows are the beginning of a more efficient stroke. It allows us to reduce the amount of drag and to set ourselves up for a more powerful pull action.

Tip: Focus on having high elbows after you pull straight back.

To help you guys out, I’ve written out two very simple drills using very little equipment that you can find around your local community pool. Both these drills emphasize the arms for front crawl.

Swimming Tip Tuesday Workout 1:

Equipment: A Buddy & 2 Flutter BoardsSwimming Tip Tuesday

Use of Equipment:

  • The swimmer will use one of the flutter boards to aid them with buoyancy.
  • The buddy will hold the flutter board at a consistent height (the highest point the swimmer can bring their elbow up during the stroke) and walk alongside the swimmer, all the while encouraging the swimmer to have their elbow meet the board.

Action: Using one arm, perform bent arm front crawl, with your buddy walking alongside you. Switch arm after each distance.

Emphasis: Bringing the elbow out of the water.

Distance: Dependent on the skill of your buddy and type of pool. Perform this within the shallow portion (where you can touch) of the pool. If your buddy has steady eggbeater you can do the full length of the pool.

Swimming Tip TuesdaySwimming Tip Tuesday Workout 2:

Equipment: Flutter board.

Use of equipment: hold the flutter board in both hands in front of the body.

Action: Perform bent arm front crawl.

Emphasis: Focus on exaggerating the rotation of the body and having your armpit facing upwards as you recover the arm around.

Distance: Repeat for 100m, 30 seconds of rest in between each 50m.

Reason: The flutter board will provide extra buoyancy during exaggerated rotation. This motion will give us enough room to focus on bending the elbow high above the body.

For more workouts on how to improve your strokes, check us out every Tuesday!

Focus on having high elbows after you pull straight back

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Sofia performing beautifully executed Front Crawl with high elbows.

That’s a wrap for today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday!

 

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Swimming Fit Friday: Presence & Exercise

Today’s Swimming Fit Friday of the week:

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: Presence and Exercise

Very often we are distracted by the daily buzzing of our thoughts and day to day activities. Did I grab the mail today? What time is that appointment on Thursday? We are out of tune with the present moment. Through exercise and mindfulness practices we can come back to the present moment. We can accomplish this by paying attention to our breathing. We carry our breath with us everywhere, and due to this, one can always be aware of the present moment!

Start by following your breath in, either through the mouth or nose, paying attention as your lungs fill up, causing the chest and abdominals to expand, and follow the breath out as your abdominals and chest relax and the air flows upwards into the throat and out of your mouth and nose. This practice can be done for as short as 30 seconds or as long as 1 hour, and as often as necessary to help ourselves return to the present. Drifting is completely normal, and for as many times as we go astray we shall bring ourselves back. That is why it is called a practice as we will remember to bring ourselves back more and more. Following your breath is also important during exercise, it allows us to set a pace and recognize how hard our cardiovascular system is working!

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: exhaling from the mouth, the breathe is everywhere.

When exercising, we want to push ourselves into a moderate workload. Remember a moderate workload is personal to the individual and everyone can work at different intensities dependent on their personal fitness, age, and ability. Holding your breath is counter-productive, it puts extra stress on your cardiovascular system. Thus, when we are exercising we want to exhale on the effort of a movement and inhale during the recovery phase, in preparation for the next movement. This awareness helps to provide an overall rhythm to our workout.

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

 

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Swimming Fit Friday: Visualization

On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday, we will explore the uses of visualization in relation to exercise. As a bonus we will also explain how this tool promotes success in activities unrelated to athletics.

Imagine if you will, a world in which you have control over your body. Oh wait, for many of us this is a reality! Our motor functions and our thoughts are programed and executed through the pink squishy matter sitting in our heads. The brain has the power to practice and solve problems using only our subconscious mind. Athletes and businessmen alike have taken advantage of this function and turned it into a tool for success.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: Jennifer Abel from Canada’s Olympic diving team performing a tuck.

Through visualization we can activate motor functions and practice sequences without actively doing them. When you imagine diving into a pool in great detail the brain will fire low-level signals to the muscle groups involved in diving. From our toes curling over the edge of the pool, our arms swinging to the sides of our head, to our fingers breaking the surface of the water upon entry. But why do this?

The simple answer is fatigue. Physical fatigue will inhibit us from practicing. Mental fatigue takes more time to develop, and as a result of that we can leverage our ability to visualize when we cannot physically practice.

How do you apply visualization properly? If you are struggling to do a skill, rehearsing the wrong way will not benefit you.

  1. Find a video of someone executing the skill properly then watch it repeatedly and think about doing the exact same movement.
  2. You want to focus your mind in the positive “you can” and “you will” execute this move perfectly.
  3. Find a quiet room and sit eyes closed for 30 minutes and imagine you are the individual you just watched and visualize yourself performing that movement.

Studies show that visualization in conjunction with practice increases your rate of improvement by 10-15 percent.

How does this apply to the world of business, or other less athletic activities? Visualization can help us build desirable habits. By spending 10 to 30 minutes everyday visualizing a desired behavior we can slowly change how we operate on a day to day basis.

Whether you want to change your behaviors, or tackle a new skill, remember to start slow and use your smart goals and milestones to help evaluate if you’re making progress with your skills. Until next Swimming Fit Friday!

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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.

Swimming Fit Friday

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.

 

 

swimming fit friday

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!