I come from a very active family. I grew up waterskiing, wakeboarding, running, swimming, biking, playing soccer, tennis, inline hockey and netball, skiing, snowboarding, doing bushwalks and just generally spending most of my time being outside and active. My parent’s outlook was ‘get out there and do it!’ so we always did! Throughout high school I continued most of these activities with a major focus on soccer, inline hockey and cross country running. Post-secondary school, I continued with running, participating in both on and off-road events, and to date, I have done at least 15 half marathons, two full marathons and an ultramarathon (48km). My husband has also encouraged me to climb numerous mountains in the Waikato with him. I love this sort of exercise for the fresh air and views.
Recently, I had my second child who is now 5 months old, and it goes without saying that becoming a mother has changed the ways in which I participate in physical activity, sport and exercise. Exercise is now whatever I can manage to do in a short timeframe. At the moment, I can’t be gone too long from my baby as he needs feeding so this limits my time out exercising. I’m also busy with the two kids from dawn until dusk so it leaves very little time for a run. Tiredness can be a factor that prevents me from being as active as I would like as I am often up with the baby in the early hours so the last thing I want to do is get up early and exercise before the kids wake for the day. The irony of this is that exercise often combats tiredness! I know that these barriers will get easier with time but I am also conscious of looking after myself and resting when I can and reminding myself that this is short-term. It can be a struggle to exercise post pregnancy and childbirth. It means going at a slower pace to allow my body to recover fully and avoiding some activities for now. But it certainly doesn’t mean I need to stop completely, I just need to work around these barriers…
Before the birth of my second child, I did a ‘Baby Bootcamp’ where I was able to take my oldest to the gym and be put through a series of challenging Crossfit-type workouts while he played beside me. But two children means that I currently run once a week, in the weekend, when my husband can look after the kids while I go. My runs can range anywhere from just 15-30minutes. I try to go for walks with the kids during the week when it’s fine or even just give my toddler a few running races outside. Otherwise, I do some exercise in the lounge while my baby sleeps and my toddler plays around me. I use a list of exercises I found online and I do several of these every second day. I do things like press ups, bicep curls, burpees and I just grab items in the room that are a good weight to lift. It is very make-shift, but I figure it’s the consistency of doing it that’s most important.
I enjoy my home workouts as I don’t have to leave my children to complete them and that’s a bonus because I love spending time with them. I also love the feeling of a vigorous workout and having a tired body as a result and I like the achievement and satisfaction that comes after exercise, whatever that exercise may be. With running, I love that my legs can take me anywhere. I enjoy setting myself a challenge and then completing it, even if it is a short run or activity. It clears my mind and relieves stress, which is so important as a busy mum of two small boys.
Health and wellbeing are also my reasons for being active. Exercise is so good for us in so many ways. I love feeling strong and fit and being able to climb a mountain or run a long distance, and I feel amazing afterwards. I also think it’s really important now to be able to keep up with our kids and to set a good example for them with respect to physical activity, like my parents did for me.
To be active, you don’t need fancy equipment, gym memberships or a great deal of time. Nor do you need to be ‘good’ at it. Exercise can be a quick workout in your lounge, a walk or run with friends, a family bushwalk, playing in the backyard with the kids, playing a social sport, or simply taking the stairs instead of the lift. Variety keeps it interesting and often when the exercise is social, together with your family or friends, you forget you’re even doing it. The key is being aware of the importance of physical activity in your life, putting time aside to do it, and being consistent by doing something every day or two.
"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”