Oxygen Magazine: A Mermaid Workout
Have you ever daydreamed of running away to become a mermaid? What woman wouldn’t want to swim in fresh water all day, show off her six-pack abs in a cute bikini top and trade in shaving her legs for a sexy, iridescent fin? These magical and mystical creatures have gained so much popularity as of late, and mermaid-inspired workouts have become a hot new trend.
“Mermaiding is a full-body workout just like swimming, but it adds a fun and magical element of feeling like a mermaid while doing it,” says Christine Dustin, Fin Fun’s mermaid fitness instructor. “And specially designed swimmable mermaid tails allow you to actually ‘be’ a mermaid — when you wear a mermaid tail, you really do feel like one.”
Dustin explains that mermaid workouts offer a multitude of benefits, which include the following:
- Muscle toning. You will definitely work your core muscles while swimming in the beautiful flowing way that a mermaid does, toning your muscles from head to fluke. You use your arms, shoulders, back, glutes, legs and especially your core. The basic motion of mermaiding is the dolphin kick, which is initiated with your chest but stems from your core.
- Strengthening your heart and lungs. Mermaiding elevates your heart rate and improves your endurance. Swimming underwater also can improve your lung capacity. This improvement to your cardiovascular system can have a huge impact on other sports and activities you participate in, making it a great cross-training strategy.
- Low-impact exercise. Mermaiding is a low-impact sport, which leads to very few injuries. You may even find mermaiding as a great alternative when other exercises are painful.
- Stress management. Being underwater provides a great mental break by improving your mood and managing stress. You can stop thinking and just be present in the water.
- Confidence builder. Mermaiding is a great way to express yourself, and moving your body with strength is empowering.
So how can you begin? First, you’ll need to be a confident swimmer — mermaid workouts aren’t a learn-to-swim program, so make sure you are comfortable swimming at least 25 yards unassisted with proper breathing and without stopping. You’ll also need to be comfortable floating on your front and back and treading water.
Next, purchase a mermaid tail, which has a purpose far behind just helping to bring your underwater fantasy to life. The mermaid tail has a monofin inside it to give the fluke its shape, but it also creates propulsion when you swim. Both feet go inside the monofin at the same time, so the feet will then only move together. With the feet together, the dolphin kick is the only kick that can propel you. The mermaid tail is the beautiful tail “skin” that covers your legs and your monofin, and it is made of a swimsuit material.
Now, take some time to get comfortable in your mermaid tail before starting a workout series by floating on your front and on your back to get a feel for the buoyancy. Practice lifting your head and also rolling to your back to breathe. Make sure to practice removing the mermaid tail quickly while in the water using a “quick-release method” —using only your feet, pull your feet out of the monofin, pull the tail off your hips and swim out of the tail.
Finally, practice your dolphin kick, which is a rolling/wave motion. Start the roll by pushing your chest down, then your hips come up and then your legs follow. Your knees will bend slightly, but don’t kick with your knees and don’t start the kick with your legs.
“Even though your chest/core really starts the dolphin motion, it can help to stretch out your arms and roll your body from fingertips to toes,” Dustin says. “Move your hands and arms in a rolling position, have your head follow and then let your chest follow their lead.”
She explains that the most common mermaiding mistake is to “inchworm,” or bend your knees toward your chest and then push your feet back. Instead, stretch your body out and focus on your chest going down and your hips going up.
Free Mermaid Workout Series
Fin Fun’s free mermaid workout series offers three workouts a week for eight weeks, increasing in distance and intensity. Throughout the series, you will learn different positions and mermaid moves so that you can enjoy the complete experience of swimming like a mermaid.