As swimmers, we try to optimize our day, so we handle all the necessary work and then still have more free time to get our morning, lunch or evening swimming workout in. This sounds great in theory, however, unless you have mastered the New Rich phenomenon, the reality is that it takes a lot of dedication and discipline to optimize your day properly, so you can enjoy your daily swims without stress.
Many folks who work in bigger cities (not so lucky to work remotely or to have changing facilities at work to wash up after a sweaty bike ride) spend at least 1 hour a day enroute in some sort of public transportation (or a car) to and from their job place. This 1 hour a day translates into 5 hours a week which is a plentiful amount of time for some form of physical activity. I'd replace the stressful commute for a healthy swim workout any day. This being a swimming blog, I'll give you some tips on how you can improve your swimming while out of the water in your favorite public transportation vehicle (be it a bus, tram, train or metro) or even a car.
As discussed on many occassions, the muscle strength in your core body is one of the key elements in faster and easier swimming experience. The stronger the core, the more power you can generate from your hip rotation and the straighter you will swim eliminating the necessary drag. One way to get a better core is to challenge yourself with miscellaneous stability exercises such as standing on one foot, standing on a balance board, sitting on a stability ball, doing push ups with your feet on stability ball, performing hand stands with shifting weight from one hand to another, utilizing bouncing medicine balls, fighting the TRX suspension belts etc. etc., the list is endless. You can let your imagination run wild in coming up with new exercises which work on your stability, but remember to always do the exercise in a controlled manner with a good body posture, otherwise it looses the meaning.
|Metro workout routine by Mika|
Next time you are in your favorite public transport, how about you do not sit down on your way to work (let the older people sit) and rotate standing on one foot for 1 minute at a time. To make it a less obvious to the bystanders keep the floating foot only a few inches (centimeters) of the floor while holding your body nice and straight (as if you were standing on both feet). I guarantee you that all the turns the public vehicle will make on your way to work will test your balance nicely and nobdy will even notice. In a same way, you can work on your shoulder strength by hodling onto something while standing on one foot and only using your shoulder to keep your body nice and straight and stable. While we are on the shoulder muscle topic, how about if you hold onto the vertical bar which is almost in all public transport vehicles, so you have a ninety degree angle in your elbow and your elbow is at the side of your body. Now push with your palm against the bar and keep the pressure constant for 30 seconds. Then switch to the other hand. Voila, you just have 3 exercise repetition routine for your way to work and nobody in the bus even knows they are witnesses to a very important swimming dryland workout which will help you keep your body aligned properly in the water.
|Working out in a bus by Mika|
If you really need to sit down or for you car lovers, the above exercises are obviously not possible as you need to be standing up, however, you can work on strengthening your core through your stomach. Contract your stomach muscles for 30 seconds and relax for 30 seconds. Another exercise you can do, depending on how skilled of a driver you are (at your own caution here), is stick your arms through the steering wheel, keep them streight and push to the sides like you'd be trying to rip the steering wheel apart. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then relax for 30 seconds. (don't break your steering wheel though :)).
I hope the above tips were useful and next time you are on your way to the 9-9 work place, why not be more efficient. (note: I am not suggesting that working so much is good, but if you are really not keen on switching your life priorities, the above tips could just be a bandaid to your problem). I've been battling with gaining my equilibrium in life for a while now, but I think I am getting better. It is not perfect yet and probably never will be, but it has improved. I have now much more time to do things that I enjoy (like writing this swimming blog) rather than work all the time :). If you think that I am nuts, then at least think about taking some time out from your best friend, "the computer" and go for a swim.