Turns out channeling your inner Ariel is a serious workout—and a whole lot of fun!
By Fiona Tapp
I’ve tried Salsa, and belly dancing, dragon boat paddling, snowshoeing, and just about every gym-based routine out there—and nothing stuck. But I think have finally cracked it. I have discovered a fun, playful, whimsical workout which is about the most fun you can have, while still calling it exercise.
Last month I attended “Mermaid School” and was surprised to find that not only is being a mermaid quite hard work, it’s also a chance to learn a whole new set of skills.
What Is Mermaid School?
It’s exactly what it sounds like! You don a tale and learn how to twist, spin, and splash like a mermaid. Unfortunately, siren calls are not part of the syllabus.
What is a Class Like?
I arrived at the swimming pool, with my friend, and was asked to select a tail. I chose a turquoise, sparkly tail that matched my bikini perfectly and my friend selected a fetching green number.
Our amazing teacher, Kim, then asked us to put on a pair of flippers before squeezing into our tails.
This turned out to be the worst part of the class, as we self-consciously wiggled into the skin tight tails and pulled them up over our legs. We weren’t exactly as glamorous or graceful as mermaids—yet.
We had to lie down on the cool pool floor and lift our bottoms up in the air to finish getting the tail skin exactly where it should be. At this point I had lost control of my usual appendages and instead was sporting a mermaid tail! Then we had to sort of wiggle over to the edge of the pool and flop into the water.
The moment I hit the water all my discomfort vanished. I immediately felt like a child again, at play, as I lay on my back and flipped my tail this way and that. This is the sort of activity that makes you smile, and my friend and I promptly got a case of the giggles!
Our teacher was incredibly patient and carefully showed us the ropes. They take safety really seriously and ensure all mermaids have the basics down before they are allowed to get their “Ariel” on!
After doing lots of laps where we had to practice different moves and strokes, we were starting to get the hang of the movement. It’s quite different from ordinary swimming and involves a sort of undulating hip movement to move through the water.
My friend enjoyed doing dives down to the bottom of the pool, but this made my nose fizz uncomfortably, so I preferred swimming quickly on my back as my tail powered me along.
Mermaid tail rental is part of your class fee but if you wish, you can purchase your very own mermaid tail.
What Are The Benefits?
I could feel the effects almost immediately. The way you are required to hold your body in order to keep afloat, and propel yourself forward, requires attention be paid to your entire core. You are using virtually every muscle to move and swim like a mermaid.
As we got dressed afterwards, the sides of my legs and even my arms were aching, despite the fact that we laughed almost non-stop, being a mermaid was most certainly exercise. (These are the workouts that burn the most calories.)
The school’s CEO, Marielle Chartier Hénault, explains that this activity offers a multitude of fitness benefits. “AquaMermaid classes offer a total-body workout from toning your glutes, quads, and abs, combined with great cardio exercises working on breath control under water. You develop your swimming grace, dolphin kick fluidity, and propulsion power in low impact sport that benefits from the buoyant effect of the water that takes pressure off joints, alleviating pain and discomfort.”
One of the main benefits for me was an uptick in my happiness quotient!
This activity is just plain fun, and couldn’t we all do with a little more fun in our lives?
For more information, contact aquamermaid.com.
More: Everyday Wellness Fitness Living Well