By Jenevieve Roper PhD (ABD), CSCS (@JLynnFit)
Trying to get (and maintain) a summertime body is hard – like calculus hard! The gyms are often packed with other like-minded people (I’m one of them!), and with the temperature heating up, taking your workout outside can be unbearable. You also need to take into account all the different elements to factor into your routine, such as variety. This is crucial to your program, but the melting summer heat combined with the over-packed gyms can get you stuck in a fitness rut. The good news, however, is that there is something else you can introduce into your regimen that not only adds variety, but also keeps you cool in the scorching heat of summer.
Become A Mermaid
Seriously! Mermaid schools are starting to pop up everywhere, from Germany and the Philippines, to Montreal and Toronto. To release your inner mermaid (or merman), these classes have you put on a monofin (the “official” term for a human mermaid tail) while you splash around in the pool. AquaMermaid – the first school of its kind to open in Canada – has a location in Montreal and is beginning to offer classes in Toronto. Before getting a taste of life under the sea, however, there are some questions and concerns that you may need to address before slipping into that fin.
As long as you are an experienced swimmer, these classes are definitely safe. Since you will be wearing a monofin, it’s best to be comfortable with the breaststroke, as the tail will have you mimic that motion. If you don’t feel comfortable with your swimming abilities, it might be better to skip these classes until you are. Many of the moves done in these classes are also associated with synchronized swimming, which requires a high level of skill, so, again, make sure you are efficient enough in the water before trying to recreate The Little Mermaid.
How Does It Compare?
Is this kind of class better than regular water aerobics or swimming? Yes and no. If you’ve been doing water aerobics for quite some time, then mermaid classes can be the change you need. They will challenge you in a different way by adding variety to your program. However, if you are not comfortable having your legs strapped into a monofin, it might be best to stick to regular water aerobics, or simply swimming laps.
Remember that exercising in the pool, no matter the method, is low impact. The buoyancy of the water reduces the effects of gravity on the body. Therefore, if you have back or joint problems, aquatic programs help ease the pain while giving you the ability to exercise on a regular basis. Whether you are swimming, doing water aerobics, or living out a childhood mermaid dream, you will be getting the benefits of the exercise with a lower risk of injury or pain.
The Bottom Line
The idea of mermaid schools is fantastic. It’s a new way to get more people exercising and moving. While they are not necessarily better than just hopping into a swimming pool and doing a few laps, they do challenge you in a different way to keep you moving.
If you’re trying to avoid running in the heat and water aerobics classes with little old ladies aren’t quite your thing, then you should give mermaid classes a try. The best part? You can release your inner Ariel while maintaining that summer body you worked so hard to get.
Jenevieve Roper is a writer and health expert who is keen on busting many of the myths that prevail in the fitness world.