I do strength and conditioning at a local gym, working with a personal trainer once a week and then doing two other self-directed sessions. I am also getting back into running following a knee injury I sustained earlier this year.
My gym has a great community feel to it. The regulars and staff are always ready to have a chat and a laugh, and we all encourage each other and celebrate our achievements. I also love working with my personal trainer as he is a constant source of non-judgemental support and motivation. He gets me to prove that I can do more than I think I’m capable of.
My running is a great way to have some real ‘me time’ and I use it to unwind and practice mindfulness. It’s a great way to get outside, get some fresh air and enjoy some of NZ’s beautiful scenery.
I love the sense of self-achievement that I get from both running and the gym, and I love that through them I have met a wide range of other women who also enjoy both of these activities and are keen to share their experiences and offer support and encouragement.
I used to be very self-conscious getting out in public in my gym and running gear. I was convinced others would judge how I look and how slow I run, but actually everyone is so busy with their own fitness and activity that no-one is interested in what anyone else is doing or how they look. Now I just get on and do it and if anyone is judging me, that’s their business. I just focus on my goals and how far I’ve already come on my journey.
Sometimes it’s hard fitting my physical activities into daily life. Working full-time means I do my gym and running in the evenings or at the weekend and this can conflict with family who want me to spend time with them. Overcoming this barrier is all about compromise. I try to work around mealtimes so that I can sit down and eat with my family.
At the end of a busy working day, I can sometimes feel too tired to train. When I’m feeling this way, I tell myself that I’ll just do a quick gym session, or a short run and I usually find that once I’m actually out there and active my energy levels increase, and I start to enjoy myself.
I also have mild-medium range osteoarthritis in both knees that sometimes makes running and weight training difficult or even painful. When my knees are sore or achy from the arthritis I know I have to either rest or adjust my activity, such as run a flat route on a softer surface or use seated weight machines at the gym.
At first one of my reasons for being active was that I just wanted to regain some fitness, but now I love how much more energy I have and the positive effects being active has had on other areas of my life. I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol (both run in my family). Being active, and especially running, has had huge positive effects on both these conditions. I push on with it to keep myself healthy both for me and my family’s sake.
Being active makes me feel happy. The feeling of achievement, of self-confidence and of feeling so alive at the end of the activity – it’s priceless! When you set a goal, train hard and achieve it you can discover what you’re capable of and then transfer this mindset and work ethic to other areas of your life.
I have huge admiration for all of the active women I’ve ‘met’ through social media. There are a lot of them out there setting goals specific to themselves and training hard to achieve them. They all have personal stories and everyday lives, which means that they understand my fitness journey; and they’re always quick to share their experiences and offer support. They have taught me how to accept that you’re going to have good days and bad days when you take part in any sport, and how to become more resilient.
My advice to other women and girls is to not feel guilty about taking time out for yourself. It’s not selfish. It is just as important for you to be healthy and look after yourself as it is for you to encourage and support your family to be healthy. I also believe that it is important not to waste time worrying about how you think you look (in active wear or doing your chosen activity), or what (you may think) others may be thinking. Pick an activity and give it a go and keep trying until you find something that you really enjoy. If you love it you’ll find it easier to keep on doing it.
"Going to the gym and being physically active makes me feel alive and motivated"
"The rush you get from being active, and achieving your physical goals, is unmeasurable"
Catarina"I love the feeling when you're all sweaty, tired and out of breath because you know you've tried your best and pushed yourself as far as you could"Read Story
Courtney"I like getting fit, competing and winning medals. I like to have big strong muscles"Read Story
"So often as a mum you are doing things for other people, so being physically active makes me feel good in that I’m doing something positive for myself"
"I enjoy the social aspect of being physically active, when it’s not too serious and it’s just about learning new skills or getting out of the house and having fun"
“I don't like sitting around and being bored. I love participating in team sport and putting goals in place to achieve.”
“Never give up, keep pushing even when times are hard, and love yourself. Find your passion and grow because your only competition is yourself”
“Being active is important to me. I want to live a healthy life and movement is a big part of that”
"For me, sport and physical activity has offered me opportunities to make friends for life and memories I will never forget"
"I’m now convinced that I am not in competition with anyone and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks anyway. I know I’m never going to win races but as long as I am trying my best to be a better me than I was yesterday then I am winning at life"
"Not being the one sitting on the sidelines watching and being able to role model how to stay healthy and fit to my children so that they grow up believing being active is a part of everyday life and sharing all these wonderful adventures with them, it makes my heart sing"
“Quite often when you can’t be bothered or you’re feeling sluggish and tired you can surprise yourself on how well you’ll do. Just get out the door, breathe in some fresh air and take some time for YOU, because you deserve to be HAPPY and HEALTHY!”
“Start out with small steps and milestones like walking around the block without stopping, going to that first group fitness class or jumping in the water for the first time in 10 years or so”
“I feel a lot happier when I'm active. A run or a swim will always clear my head”
“You have got to have a positive attitude and just get out there. Keep moving, stay focused, because life is way too short to waste your time not doing what you love to do. Just do it”
“By valuing ME more, I started to recognise myself and all of my qualities. Now I’m proud of who I am”
“I find I am generally a better human being and can give more when I keep active”
“Being active amazes me at what my body can achieve, after all I have put it through. It amazes me how it can heal”
"Find something that you enjoy doing and make the time to do it. You’re not being selfish; you’re looking after yourself. The best time to start is today"
“Running and working out are my antidote to the everyday stresses of life. When I’m not active I find it harder to switch off and view things in perspective. Sweating through activity means I don’t sweat the small things in life”
“Being active makes me feel like I’m using my body for good. It makes me feel powerful, positive, sweaty, glorious, achy in a good way, and hopeful for the future”
“Running is an outlet for me and I feel as though I am in control when it’s just me and my running shoes”
“I was proud that I was determined enough to start from scratch and have had lots of fun playing in local competitions”
"I didn’t want to be the parent that only ever watched my kids run around and kick a ball – I wanted to be a part of what they were doing"
“Happy is a very well-known word but yet can be described in many ways. To me happy means doing the things you love while not being forced to do them. Sport and keeping physically active are my happy place”
“Overall regular physical activity makes me more positive and happier”
“I feel alive and ready for anything”
“Active, healthy lifestyles aren’t defined by how often you run or go to the gym. Exercise can look like what you want it to be and what fits into your life”
"Just by putting your shoes on and getting out there, you’re being active and doing great things for your wellbeing."
"There’s so much reward to be had by overcoming fear and achieving things you never thought you could – so go for it – and link up with other likeminded women along the way."