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Masters swimmer Amanda Heath using yoga and skipping to get through lockdown

Masters News

Masters European record holder Amanda Heath admits her passion for yoga and a new skipping challenge are helping her through the coronavirus lockdown.

The 62-year-old is a project manager and balances her time between work and exercise.

Before lockdown, Heath’s training consisted of four swim sessions per week as well as yoga classes at work and tai chi in her spare time.

She has continued her yoga and tai chi while also beginning mental neuroplasticity exercises.

Heath hopes that training at home and maintaining her fitness will help when she can get back into the water.

She said: “I expect to have a tough time getting back to what I was doing before.

“However, I’m hoping we can swim again soon and that the things I’m doing will help me get back relatively quickly.

“I’m not trying anything new. I’m wary of running – I’m pretty sure I’d do my knees in or fall over!

“Eating and drinking is something I’ve had to consider more carefully now that I’m not swimming in the evenings – the temptation of having a glass of wine in the evening is strong!”

Explaining her current training routine, Heath admits she’s gone ‘yoga mad’.

She said: “My regular teacher is now doing classes online and there are more classes available than before.

“I’ve also been doing online sports specific yoga led by Jeff Grace as well as a family yoga class with my sister and niece via WhatsApp.

“I tend to do a short yoga routine in the morning before work, then do something else later in the day.”

The double gold medal winner at the 2019 Swim England Masters National Championships is also using technology to keep up with her tai chi sessions.

She uses the Zoom conference call platform to join in the sessions every Saturday.

Neuroplasticity and training progression so far

“I also did a series of webinars on mental neuroplasticity prior to lockdown,” Heath added.

“It’s something one of my Spencer Swim teammates, Jason Lawson, does and it works your mental skills.

“The exercises use both sides of the brain at the same time. So, I’ll do things like writing with my right and left hands at the same time.

“I don’t have any weights, but there are a few machines in the garage, including a swim bench, that I might progress to.

“I’m doing a 30-day skipping challenge, which is an absolute killer!

“It’s progressive, so by the end I should be able to do two lots of six and a half minutes. I can’t imagine how I’ll get to that!

“I never feel as tired as that when I swim, but I’ve read online that fifteen minutes of skipping can be the equivalent of 30 minutes of running, so that’s partly why I’m trying it.

“I don’t feel like I can measure my fitness until I get back in the pool, and I don’t have any scales.

“However, I already feel more flexible during yoga classes.”

If you also have a passion for yoga and want to work on your flexibility, check out the supple strength sessions.