Disrupted sleep and dodging tantrums are often at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being a Mum of a toddler. What habits allowed you to accommodate these changes and still manage to get your daily exercise in?
Stepping into motherhood, nothing prepared me enough for the lack of sleep, but I do find even just going for a walk in the sunshine with Axel in the pram very beneficial.
For me, adjusting to the lifestyle changes was more of a mental shift than a physical one. Rather than focusing on a whole new exercise routine, as a Mum I think more pragmatically about what needs doing and how I can combine exercise while doing it. This could be as simple as washing the car or going on a brisk walk to the supermarket with the pram.
To help make this happen, the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is pull on my activewear – this means I’m all the more inclined to exert some physical energy into whatever activity or chore comes my way. I also love it when I’m exercising and I accomplish something at the same time. There’s really nothing better.
Leaving the home to exercise is often not an option with a small family member under the roof. How did you overcome this?
I love to incorporate my two-year old Axel into my exercise routines. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve held my little boy while in plank or doing squats…and he loves it too! It’s really a win-win. I also look at my options: do I have a gym nearby that has a creche? Or is there a neighbouring park
If I can’t squeeze these activities into my day then I’ll do things from my living room — online programs, floor exercises, that’s suitable for prams? yoga — while Axel is playing in the same room.
New Medibank data shows an extra 452K Australians have taken up exercise in the last year alone. What do you think has got more of us moving?
It’s great to see 452,000 Australians have decided to take up exercise in the last year, and hopefully they encourage their friends and family to do the same, so we can continue to improve as a country.
In recent years, health and wellbeing has grown to be part of our everyday vernacular. Lots of people love to talk about their exercise and nutrition — what they’re doing, what they’re training for, what healthy breakfast they’re making for themselves.
We certainly still have a long way to go and we clearly still have big issues to tackle — obesity and diabetes being the major ones — but with that being said, people are becoming more aware of the importance of regular exercise when it comes to living a long and healthy life.
When we were kids we’d come home from school and Mum would have a Sara Lee cake and some soft drink on the kitchen bench. We only knew what we knew, but we now know better. It’s important for people to carry on learning, researching and imparting health knowledge onto others. That way we can get much better at making healthier choices, everyday.
When it comes to staying active, Medibank data also revealed a lack of motivation was listed by 57% of Aussies as the biggest barrier, with 38% admitting they struggle to get started. What advice can you offer to Mums looking to kickstart an exercise regime but are struggling to find the motivation?
There is a certain fear factor attached to exercise for a lot of people, which can often deter them from getting out and doing it. But if they stop and think about how they feel after they exercise, most of the time they can’t wait to tell someone that they went for a long walk or jog — they’re practically boasting about it.
After you get over that hump, it’s then about consistency. The most successful fitness people are the ones that have a rhythm: “On Wednesday I’m going to spend 15 mins doing some upper body strength, on Thursday it’s cardio.” It’s not so much what you’re doing, it’s the regularity. That’s why I think programs like Medibank Free + Active are so important. Free + Active has provided 250,000 Aussies with access to regular, free activity in the last year alone, through opening free social activities like parkrun in communities around the country. In fact, this weekend Medibank is about to open the 40th parkrun event this year, in Geelong Victoria!
It’s also about not being too tough on yourself. Give yourself a ‘get out of jail free card’; if after ten mins into your run you’re still feeling dreadful then go home. You’ll find it’s rare that you pull that card.
According to Medibank data, Aussies also report the high cost of certain exercise programs as one of the major reasons for not staying active. Do you think exercise comes at a financial cost? If so, how can new Mums minimise these costs?
Many of us see cost as a roadblock to exercise but it doesn’t have to be. The Medibank Free + Active program offers free and accessible exercise in a number of communities. Not only do these activities not cost anything, they bring people together and allow us to motivate each other. As the program continues to expand and provide more opportunities to get active, more and more Australians will learn of the benefits which is something I’m really excited to be contributing towards.