If you like to stay fit in the water, learn to swim like a mermaid. It’s popular in the US, Canada and Australia – and with a mermaid-style fin* you can exercise like the mythical sea creature too.
Mermaiding uses a monofin – a large fin that propels swimmers through the water faster than normal. It’s best used by competent swimmers and if you’re already good at butterfly stroke, you will find mermaiding comes more naturally. The exercise strengthens core muscles and increases flexibility in the shoulders, spine and hips.
“You swim under the water – hold your breath, swim under the water for three or four kicks, take a breath, and then go under the water again. You can move on your back, sideways or do fast or slow kicks. You use your entire body and start the move with the upper back, then the lower back and then move through the hips and legs,” explains teacher Michaela Werner. “As you slip under the water it’s quiet, so mermaiding is quite meditative and relaxing.”
* Water Safety New Zealand says children shouldn’t use mermaid tails without adult supervision or in moving water.
Longer, deeper stretches and greater flexibility