Just Keep Swimming!

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!  The cute song that Dori sings in “Finding Nemo” sounds delightful, but swimming continuously is not always so pleasant. Much like running, swimming can seem redundant and can make working out seem like a chore, and let’s be honest…most of us don’t do chores willingly.

I never took swimming lessons, or was part of a swim team. My mom had a better approach of teaching me to swim; throw her in and she’ll figure it out! It sounds awful, but it worked for me. I did not mind splashing around in the water, but it wasn’t until I started lifeguarding that I started taking swimming more seriously. For the last seven years it has been a standard for my employment, but I never really understood the health benefits or enjoyment that could be had with swimming.

My mom had a healthier approach to teaching me the fundamentals of running than when she taught me to swim. She started training me when I was in the fourth grade, and I quickly fell in love with the sport. I was a competitive runner all the way up to Fall 2011, when I finished an amazing season of Cross Country here at UW-Whitewater.  After my running career ended I soon realized I had to change things up to stay active (I needed a break from running). As a lifeguard at the Williams Center I was required to swim 3,000 meters every month, so I decided it would beneficial to take a swimming class—that way I could do something active, but also get my swimming requirement done.

I have to admit, I was not completely thrilled about the class. Like I mentioned before, sometimes swimming lap after lap is not the most attractive way to workout. However, I very quickly learned that swimming is not only a killer workout, but also is more fun than I gave it credit for.

Ever since taking this class my legs, back, arms, and core have gotten stronger. I have the class just twice a week for 50 minutes and it has already made a world of a difference. To make things even better, I was sincerely enjoying swimming laps and found myself looking forward to my Monday and Wednesday afternoons.

Let me share with you the secrets I discovered that have made swimming laps my new favorite workout: VARIETY!  Continuous swimming when you are just doing the conventional front crawl can make the idea of doing laps daunting, and un-inspiring. So, I highly encourage you to change it up and incorporate varies strokes while swimming. Here is a link to give you a better insight of some basic strokes: http://www.enjoy-swimming.com/swimming-strokes.html.

I try to change the stroke I’m doing quite often. For example, if I’m doing 100 meter intervals I will either do a different stroke for every interval, or every 50 meters. Using a kickboard is also a helpful method. Not only will it help you focus on toning your legs, but it adds in more of that variety I’ve been talking about. Feel free to use fins as well! You can get them from equipment check-out in the Williams Center with your student I.D. Fins can be very helpful when you are a beginner to swimming.

Now, I’m not saying that you should take a swim class, though I recommend it, but I’m encouraging you to give swimming a try. The pool in the Williams Center has different open swim hours throughout the day, so it is easy to find an hour or two that fits in with your schedule. Just one hour of swimming can burn almost 500 calories; more depending on the type of workout http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20411721_last,00.html. If you use my variation method, and stick with a consistent schedule (even two days a week was effective for me) you will see the benefit and enjoyment that can come out of swimming for fitness.

 

Madeline Roznos

Warhawk Fitness PR Team

 

YOGA for Men!

To a lot of guys, the word “yoga” means, girls, hippies, and yoga pants. We often view it as something girls do and if a male does it, he is not masculine in some way. I was not one of these guys, but I was still a little skeptical about what yoga really was and how a class is actually done. I am a big proponent of “Don’t knock it till you try it”, so I decided to give it a try before I really formed an opinion on it. Of course, part of my male bias kicked in so I made my workout buddy come along with me.

Let me tell you, Yoga is NO JOKE.

We came into the class with an open mind, thinking we would be able to handle the class pretty easily. We are both pretty athletic and strong so we didn’t think it was going to be too difficult.

We were wrong.

The class started off easy enough, doing basic stretches and warming up the muscles you were getting ready to use. Then it became difficult as we moved into some stability and balance exercises. My hips, calves and shoulders were on fire as we stood on one leg with our shoulder held straight out for what seemed like hours. As soon as you thought you were going to stop and could relax, you had to move into a new position that was even more challenging then the last.

The last part of the class was what I enjoyed the most. The instructor, Emilee, turned down the lights and had us just relax. Now I know what you’re thinking… NAP TIME!… but this was not a time to just fall asleep. You were supposed to lay there and listen to your body. This might sound REALLY corny, but hear me out on this.

I have had some pretty bad shoulder pain for the past few months now. Physical therapy and exercises help a little bit but I have never gotten it to fully go away. Part of this meditation period was to listen to your body and focus on healing the part of your body that is causing pain. So, I focused on my shoulder, and soon enough, I could just feel my shoulder melt. It was amazing to feel no pain in my shoulder for the first time in a while.

Overall this experience I had was awesome. After the class your body feels so good and you just feel relaxed.

When I talked to Emilee after class and was shocked to find out that in a normal 20 person class, she will have only 3 males. This needs to change guys! Yoga is a good way to stretch out all the muscle you have pounded with weights all week and start your rest period in a positive way.

So guys, put down your He-Man Muscle pride and try a Yoga class, and you may turn into a repeat customer like I will be.

Warhawk Fitness Group Fitness Schedule

Kevin Nelsen
Warhawk Fitness PR Team