6 Reasons to Play University Sport Leagues

It’s the start of a new term, a new school year, or even your post-secondary career. You have new classes, classrooms, professors, classmates, homework, Girl looking at Leagues posterassignments, labs… it’s a lot, we know. We have something that can help you manage, while keeping you physically, mentally and socially active.

Leagues can be a stress reliever

With everything going on academically, sometimes the best thing you can do is take a mental break. Activity boosts your endorphins and helps improve your mood. Plus, running, kicking, throwing, and playing can help you channel your energy into something positive.

Leagues give you regular exercise

While giving you a break from your studies, exercise actually helps your studies! What? Mind blown! Exercise promotes brain development, improves concentration and as already noted, can lift your mood.

Leagues are social

University can be overwhelming as it’s often the largest school you’ve been a part of, so it can be harder to make connections. You’ll meet new people who are likely going through the same growth and challenges as you. Individuals will become teammates and even friends, which will give you self-confidence and help you throughout school life.

Leagues are planned for you

Leagues give you a scheduled break from class. You don’t have to worry about anything but showing up and playing. The games are scheduled, the stats are compiled, and you just get to have fun.

Leagues develop leaders

If you like to be more involved with preparation and development, or you’ve played the sport for a long time and have skills and knowledge to pass onto others, consider becoming a league captain and developing leadership skills along with athletic ones.

Leagues give you a chance to try something new

Maybe your high school didn’t have handball, dodgeball or floor hockey as options, or you never tried out for the volleyball, soccer, badminton, or basketball teams. Leagues give you that chance to try something new, develop some skills and perhaps give you a new sport to love for life.

Check out and sign-up now for Leagues at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness, they’re open to everyone!

Freestyle (Front Crawl)- Stroke Finish

The final component of the arm movement for the freestyle stroke is the finish. The finish will help you improve the efficiency of your freestyle stroke.

A simplified way to think about any form of locomotion is: speed = [distance per revolution] x [revolutions per minute]. For a runner, this means that in order to increase their speed, they either need to go further with every stride, or take quicker strides (without losing stride length). In swimming it is very much the same. In order to swim faster, we need to either increase the distance we move with every pull or increase the frequency with which we are pulling.

The finish of your stroke is a place where increasing the stroke length can be done. Think about flicking the water toward your toes, reaching as far down your thigh as possible without bending your body to do so.

Remember, it can be useful to practice your arm movements independently so that you can concentrate on the each of the four sections. You may find it useful to use a pull buoy to help support your legs closer to the surface of the water and as you stroke, concentrate on each of the four components of the arm movements: recovery, catch, power, and finish.

Check out Freestyle Power Pull Swim Tip

By Jason Britton and Victoria Mitchell

Jason is a full-time Lifeguard/Instructor here at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness. He has over 19 years of aquatic and coaching experience and is one of the main organizers of  SwimRun Edmonton. Victoria is a Lifesaving Society Swim Trainer and Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer.  She is also MacEwan University’s full-time Aquatic Programmer. 

Rudiment Box Hops

Our Fourth and final exercise in this series is a Rudiment Box Hop. For Endurance athletes, performing this movement allows for the refinement of lower body strength and power that the previous three exercises have helped develop. Furthermore, This movement involves joint positions and forces that are similar to those they will experience in their chosen sport. Due to the similarity of this exercise to the conditions that you may experience in your sport, this could be a great exercise to add to your repertoire in the last few weeks before your chosen event!

Rudiment Box Hops (plyometric progression)

Objective

  • Refine Lower Body Strength and Power by utilizing the stretch reflexes of the lower body

Muscle groups targeted

  • Quadriceps, Calf, Glutes, Achilles/Quadricep/Patellar Tendons

Starting position

  • Begin standing on the balls of the feet in as tall a position as possible with feet directly under hips

Movement

  • Begin hopping on the spot with as if the ground were hot, on your third contact propel yourself onto the other box
  • Absorb the landing on the second box as quickly and quietly as possible before returning to the start position

Recommended sets and repetitions

  • 3-5 sets of 3-5 repetitions with 15-20 seconds between repetitions
  • Begin with a relatively small drop and build towards progressively higher boxes to drop from and to jump on to

Check out the third exercise Hang Clean Pull

by Devin Clayton

Devin is a Bachelors of Physical Education graduate from the University of Alberta. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and is a NCCP certified Weightlifting coach.

Become a Lifeguard or Swim Instructor

Get Certified this Fall

MacEwan University Sport and Wellness has a number of Aquatic Certification you can take part that focus on advanced swimming skills, aquatics leadership, lifeguarding and life saving and first aid. This fall we have several programs you can register for including WaterART Fitness, SwimAbilities Instructor, National Lifeguard/ Aquatic Emergency Care and O2 Original, Swim and Lifesaving Instructor,  Bronze Medallion/ Cross courses and recertification courses.

The Lifesaving Society is the standard setting, certifying body for lifeguarding in Canada. The National Lifeguard certification is just that: national. Once certified, you can work as a National Lifeguard in any province. Lifesaving Society Swim for Life and Lifesaving Instructor certifications can also be transferred province to province.

The first steps to becoming both a lifeguard and swim instructor is to earn your Bronze Medallion, and then your Bronze Cross certifications. While these awards are two separate certifications, many facilities, including Sport and Wellness, co-deliver these programs. This means that you earn both certifications by registering for one course.

Once you have your Bronze Cross certification you have earned the first prerequisite for both your lifeguarding and instructor certification. However, you also need to be 16 years of age to be certified as either a Lifesaving Society lifeguard or instructor. Some facilities required you to be 16 years of age before you can register for the course, but here at Sport and Wellness you simply need to be 16 years of age before the last day of the course.

To become a National Lifeguard there is one additional prerequisite that you need to obtain: a government workplace approved Standard First Aid certification.  Here in Alberta, the province publishes a list of approved first aid training courses on a quarterly basis. Some facilities will offer first aid training as a stand-alone course, here at MacEwan we co-deliver Aquatic Emergency Care (AEC), which is a government of Alberta approved Standard First Aid certification, along with National Lifeguard so you only need to register for one course to obtain both certifications.

Sport and Wellness has all the certification courses required for you to obtain both your lifeguard and swim instructor certification, so you can get fully certified. Register early and save with Early Bird pricing on all our Certification programs.

If you have questions about the certification process, please contact aquatics@macewan.ca.

By Victoria Mitchell

Victoria has been training lifeguards, and swim and lifesaving instructors in both Alberta and Ontario for over 12 years and is a Lifesaving Society National Lifeguard Trainer and Swim/Lifesaving Trainer.  She is also MacEwan University Sport and Wellness newest Aquatic Programmer.

My Favorite Places to Take My Workout Outside

Despite what the weather reports have been telling you last month, summer is here and it’s time to get outdoors for a workout! If you need some ideas on where to go or what to do, check out some of my most favourite places to workout in Edmonton and area.

Find A Park

There are plenty of trails in the Edmonton area for walking, jogging, hiking, cycling and getting active.  Some of my favorites are Elk Island National Park, Cooking Lake – Blackfoot Provincial Park, Gold Bar Park, Hawrelak Park and Lions Park.

  • Elk Island National Park of Canada is beautiful and located less than an hour east of Edmonton. It is home to over 250 species of birds and herds of free roaming bison, deer, moose and elk.  Whether it is hiking, pick nicking or overnight camping, there is plenty to do at Elk Island National Park.
  • Cooking Lake – Blackfoot Provincial Park is in Strathcona County, east-southeast of Edmonton. There are plenty of trails for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and a lake for canoeing/kayaking.
  • Gold Bar Park is located on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River at the end of 50th Some of the features include free parking, off leash area along river, picnic tables, walking and cycling trails, pavilion with washrooms, water fountain and phones.
  • Hawrelak Park offers a lake (paddleboat rentals are available) and covered picnic tables as well as plenty of hiking/biking trails. There are onsite washrooms and free parking.
  • Lion’s Park is in St. Albert. It is one of the few parks in the Edmonton area that offers outdoor fitness equipment.  With sheltered picnic areas, free parking, a playground, walking/biking trails, fire pits and washrooms, this is one park you will want to check out.

Step Up to the Stairs

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Hang Clean Pull

Our third exercise in the benefits of resistance training for Endurance Performance series is called the Hang Clean Pull. This movement allows for the development and refinement of lower body strength and power in joint positions, similar to those you will experience in your chosen sport. Due to the simplicity of the start position, this exercise offers people the ability to lift heavier loads over the previous exercise in the series, Hang Power Clean.

Objective

  • Develop and refine full body strength and power in a joint range that closely relates to most endurance related activities

Muscle groups targeted

  • Quadriceps, calves, glutes, deltoids, trapezius, back extensors

Starting position

  • Athlete starts with bar held at full arm length with hands just outside hip width.
  • Athlete unlocks knees and keeps feet flat and torso vertical as if they were sliding down a wall

Movement

  • Athlete quickly “jumps” the bar up and continues to elevate the bar by shrugging the shoulders to the ears and finishing as “tall” as possible

Recommended sets and repetitions

  • Three to five sets of three to five repetitions of moderate-heavy weights
  • Build towards progressively heavier weights while maintaining correct positions and sequencing of joints

Check out the second exercise Hang Power Clean

Visit our website for our personal trainer bios and information on fitness program designs and individual and group personal training. Plus Courses & Classes like Olympic Weight Lifting, City Centre Runners and Bootcamp.

by Devin Clayton

Devin is a Bachelors of Physical Education graduate from the University of Alberta. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and is a NCCP certified Weightlifting coach.

Freestyle (Front Crawl)- Power Pull

The third component of the arm movement for the freestyle stroke is the power phase. With the power phase, once your forearm is perpendicular to the bottom, you try and move this forearm in a straight line from in front of your shoulder to your hip, all the while keeping your forearm perpendicular to the bottom. The power should be generated from your back, as you simultaneously roll your upper body from one side to your other.

 

It can be useful to practice your catch and power phase together in a “racing dog paddle” drill: this is a dog paddle with the head out of the water facing forward and all arm actions are performed underwater. Reach as far forward as possible, using a body roll to help you extend your reach. Turn your palm to point out to the side and pull the water all the way past your hips. Alternate arms as you reach and pull.

Check out Freestyle Catch Swim Tip

By Jason Britton and Victoria Mitchell

Jason is a full-time Lifeguard/Instructor here at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness. He has over 19 years of aquatic and coaching experience and is one of the main organizers of  SwimRun Edmonton. Victoria is a Lifesaving Society Swim Trainer and Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer.  She is also MacEwan University’s full-time Aquatic Programmer. 

For the Love of the Game and Water

Why register for your kids for our Jr Griffins Summer Aquatic and Sport Camps this summer? It’s easy to say skill development and for most people that could be enough. It gives their daughter or son an opportunity to spend dedicated time working on skills for their sport of choice. Their wants may range from making the team, to becoming a starter, to getting active and having fun, and our camps will help them achieve their individual goals in a safe, accepting environment.

Physical Skill Development

With Jr Griffins Camps, focus is placed on individual skill development and integration of broad team concepts. Our camps are designed and run by MacEwan University lifeguards, coaches and athletes, plus they adhere to the standards outlined in the Long-Term Athlete Development Strategy.

Social Skill Development

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7 Summer Nutrition Tips to Enjoy the Season

Summer is here. Vacation, gardening, hosting backyard barbecues, beaches and enjoying a cold one are staples Farmer's Market vegetablesfor any good summer. Summer events can often be filled with creamy salads, pop, chips, ice cream, cocktails and beers. You can still enjoy your summer favorites in moderation and substitute healthier options that are just as tasty.

Choose seafood. Grill salmon, tuna, lobster, steamer clams, and calamari for a low-calorie, protein-packed lunch or dinner.

Enjoy local seasonal foods. Take a trip down to the market, there is always something new each month. Include a mix of in-season colorful vegetables that provide a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals. 

Drink water. In the summer, you are more susceptible to dehydration, so carry a water bottle at all times as a reminder. Only go with a sports drink for activities/workouts lasting more than 45 minutes. Water is adequate for activities shorter than 45 minutes and no need to add the extra calories when controlling caloric intake.

Moderation in Celebration. Nothing beats a cold lager on a hot day after work. If you are going to indulge, enjoy it in moderation. Lower calorie “light” options are available from most major brewers.

Cook meals together. Involve your friends and family in your healthy lifestyle this summer. A simple way to start: plan meals, shop, and cook with your spouse and kids. Planned meals leave little chance to selecting quick fast food or take out.

Take a smoothie on the go. After exercising or a midday snack to tide you over, blend your favorite frozen fruits and a scoop of whey protein into a shake to kick start the muscle-building process. Smoothies are great for on the go when you have a long time between meals. Also, refreshing on a hot summer day.

Pack for Trips. Are you planning a family trip to the beach or a road trip? Pack a cooler with ice, bottled water, loaded sandwiches with lean meat and veggies, pita chips, hummus, yogurt and a variety of fruit.

Freestyle (Front Crawl)- Pull Catch

Continuing on with the fourth step of the freestyle stroke pyramid is working on arm movements. For a freestyle or front crawl stroke the arm movements can be broken down into four sections: recovery, catch, power, and finish.

The catch phase is the segment of the stroke when you are positioning your hand and arm in the water in order to maximize the amount of pull force that you can generate. Once your arm should be fully extended in front of you, you attempt to get your forearm and wrist perpendicular to the pool bottom (from a side view) without moving your elbow from the extended position. This phase should not be rushed.

It can be useful to practice your arm movements independently so that you can concentrate on the each of the four sections. You may find it useful to use a pull buoy to help support your legs closer to the surface of the water to help minimize drag.

Check out Freestyle Pull Recovery Swim Tip

By Jason Britton and Victoria Mitchell

Jason is a full-time Lifeguard/Instructor here at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness. He has over 19 years of aquatic and coaching experience and is one of the main organizers of  SwimRun Edmonton. Victoria is a Lifesaving Society Swim Trainer and Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer.  She is also MacEwan University’s full-time Aquatic Programmer.