‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.’ ~Aristotle
We are in week 8 of lockdown and it has not been easy for any of us! Our daily lives have been limited to our homes and the scariest part of the lockdown is the formation of bad habits. We are spending way too much sitting down and watching screens passively. The advice is to exercise but, not everybody can get it right with all the limitations we have in place.
The majority of parents are working at home and homeschooling. So, trying to keep children active and entertained indoors, is a BIG challenge. At the start of the lockdown, I blogged about the importance of exercising, and the experts’ advice has not changed in the last 8 weeks; we have to stay active to keep healthy by doing daily exercise.
With no after school or clubs, gyms, or swimming pools, keeping physically active could be a challenge. So to keep active EVERY DAY to stay healthy, what could be done?
Swimming teachers and coaches often give practices that are done both outside of the water and in the water.
At the elite and club level, to keep improving technique, swimmers must train both in and out of swimming pools.
GB swimmers like Hannah Miley have been using dryland training schedules side by side of what they do in the swimming pool even when swimming pools are open. Swimmers do a wide range of exercises on land to work on important muscles and joints for swimming, like shoulders, core (back and tummy), and hips.
But, ‘dryland training’ or exercising out of the water is not just for the elite and club swimmers.
Dryland training is a fancy word for exercising and practicing out of the water used often by swimming coaches. USA Swimming recommends children as young as 5 years old participate in dryland training (when facilities permit) to improve their swimming.
Since dryland training requires no swimming pool, no fancy equipment, and can be done bear-feet (like swimming), it is the best way to stay active during the lockdown and still work on your swimming technique.
Everybody and especially children benefit from fun and structured activities. Exercising helps children to spend all the extra energy and keep/form a healthy habit instead of getting into the habit of watching screens passively.
Doing activities like the exercise we show below in our Youtube clip, once or twice a week is good. They help flexibility and strength of muscles and preserve the swimming muscle memory so, when we can resume swimming, the muscles and joints can remember how to move in the water.
I’d like to help by offering FREE online exercise classes for children aged 5 years and above during the lockdown. I am using my 25 years of teaching and coaching various sports and not just swimming-to bring children these classes
Your child(ren) can join our live Facebook classes or they can watch our recorded sessions on YouTube. Although sessions are suitable for children, parents can join too.
The only thing your child needs is an open space to move arms and legs freely in the air and a mat (like a yoga mat). Our exercises are aimed at younger children (age 5 to 12 years old) to improve their body awareness, coordination, flexibility, and making the core strength (core muscles are muscles around the tummy and back area).
You can see a taster of our live sessions here:
Always start with 5-10 minutes of warm-up. Include simple activities like jogging on the spot, star jump, and shuffling. These fun and energetic activities take the hear-rate up and make the body nice and warm.
Why we need to warm up: it’s important to get our muscles warm and to loosen up the joints at the beginning of any exercise session (in or out of water). Activities like jogging on star jumps are great as children move arms and legs at the same time.
A warm-up can include a bit of stretching too. You can see some examples of stretching at the end of this blog.
We normally choose to Choose 5 exercises to do each day. Pick exercises which are fun but, there is a clear objective for doing them. For example, pick exercises that can target muscles around shoulders, legs or core muscles (back and tummy muscles).
During the lockdown, many elite swimmers including 3 times Olympian and GB swimmer, Hannah Miley, have been posting on social media how she uses Yoga and Pilates-inspired exercises to stay fit at home
I also highly recommend Yoga and Pilates-inspired exercises like Cobra and Downward-Facing Dog (its proper Yoga name is Adho Mukha Svanasana).
Such exercises do not just improve core strength but, improve offer the ultimate all-over stretch. Also, they are easy to explain in a step-by-step fashion to young children.
A cool-down can include a bit of stretching as well as breathing exercises. The point of cool down to bring the heart rate down and make sure the body is in a calm and relaxed position before ending the dryland session.
Don’t forget, swimming pools and oceans are waiting for us on the other side of this crisis so, be ready!
If you are interested in speaking with us or have any questions please do get in touch.
This article was written by Marjan Moosavi (owner and founder of Blue Wave Swim School). Marjan has been a qualified swim teacher and coach since 1995 and holds an MSc in Sport Sciences. Marjan was a competitive swimmer and she is an avid sports fan. Marjan keeps fit and has been practicing Yoga for more than 20 years. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published on May 1, 2020