There’s nothing like the Olympics to show us what hard work and determination can do. But it’s not medals or podiums we’re after—rather, the body beautiful. And with Canada earning a good share of its medals from aqua sports, including Brent Hayden’s (pictured above) bronze medal in the 100-metre freestyle, we’re showing patriotic love with a workout inspired by some of our favourite athletes.
Swimming burns calories—from 550 to 700 an hour—and also offers a low-impact workout that’s gentle on the body and great for those with injuries. (Take that, no pain, no gain!) Best of all, in summer, it can be done while enjoying the great outdoors. Try these moves to get a jump start on your Olympic body.
1. Warm up by swimming 4 to 8 lengths, depending on the size of the pool. Alternate laps of front stroke and back stroke.
2. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hands on hips. Rock from right to left, bending only at the waist and engaging your oblique muscles. Repeat 15 times on each side.
3. Lean with your back against the pool, arms outstretched along the pool’s edge. Pedal legs for 45 seconds.
4. Stand with feet together and arms stretched out in the shape of a T. Do a tuck jump, bringing your knees all the way in to your chest and wrapping your arms tightly around your legs. Repeat 12 times.
5. Grip the side of the pool facing out and kick your legs behind you without bending knees. Repeat for 45 seconds.
6. Kick legs out past hip width while raising arms (like a jumping jack), without bending elbows or knees. Jump back into standing position. Repeat 15 times.
7. Swing arms and legs while leaning slightly forward (like running on land). Repeat for 1 minute.
8. Finish with 4 to 8 lengths of front stroke and back stroke, as in warm-up. Tip: Be sure to include cool-down exercises such as this in your workouts. Cool-down exercises work lactic acid out of the body, which can otherwise cause sore muscles later.
Text: Madison Oliver
Photo: The Globe and Mail