Monday, May 26, 2014

Mums - save yourselves first!

I've been both disappointed & inspired by some women in the media this week. Fresh out of a Sports Medicine Australia conference it was reaffirming to know that the focus is squarely on increasing public participation in exercise. The current motto is "Sport AS medicine" and the evidence shows that doctors should be telling patients to get active before they start doling out expensive pharmaceuticals. There's been too much shying away from telling overweight & unfit people to cold hard truth. Low fitness is THE HIGHEST risk factor for early death.

A Facebook spam post for Milo sucked me in with a clip of kids thanking their mums for basically being taxi drivers for endless rounds of organised sport. While the children looked ok the mums looked anything except 'fit'. It got me wondering if the mothers actually made time for their own physical activity in between sitting in traffic for multiple hours per week whilst driving their kids. Let me make this point - there is no award for the parent who clocks up the most k's ferrying their kids around! You are not the 'mother of the year' but you may not get to see your grandkids because you're failing to look after your own health. It is not 'natural' for your 8 year old to run faster than you - it's because you're unfit!

On the other hand there are role models like my former team mate Ruth Corset. Previous Australian Road Race and NRS champion she is balancing elite sport with raising two girls & managing her own business. Yes, it sounds like another 'superwoman' story that some women love to hate. But the point is that Ruth is a fantastic EXAMPLE to her kids that sport is not something you do when you're at school and then give up when life happens. Exercise IS life and actually saves your life! Ruth talks about nearing the end of her cycling career and is not planning to sit on the couch but will start triathlons to stay active.

It's not necessary to be World Champ, but it's not unreasonable to make time for your own physical activity, even if it means other family members need to adjust their schedules. Why not join in if your child does athletics (that's how I got roped into the master's team), instead of sitting on the sidelines. My friend used to run laps of the park while her son played cricket.

I've focused on mum's here because, well, I'm a mum! But dads this goes equally for you. Don't just be the guy handing out a sausage in a slice of Wonderwhite after the race ( Actually don't EVEN be that guy. I can't believe they still do this, but that's a rant for another day).

Get up and get active!


  1. Great article Jodie,

    I love the fact that you mainly used the word 'low fitness', 'health' and 'fit' instead of flooding the blog with the word 'fat'.
    (Gives me the go ahead to comment).

    Just last night as I was participating in a hard, sweaty Tabata class, I looked to my side for motivation when things were going tough...& yes, it was my (nearly) 19yo daughter on the mat bedside me bridging her body to the death. I felt proud and happy that I was sharing this 'fitness' moment with my daughter. I'm glad we have arrived together in 'fitness & health'.

    I was one of those super mums, driving both kids (M & F) to different sports/events constantly. Maybe it was an issue of personal stubbornness for me, however, even though my children's needs ALWAYS came first, I adapted my exercise routine to fit into these commitments.
    ie Taking my bike/running shoes in the back of the car, and riding/running for the 1 hour warm up/prep before a game.
    I still watched every full game and enjoyed the coffee better. No, I may not have looked as glamorous as the other mothers sitting in their Katmandu camping chairs with a gourmet picnic spread. My children got used to this & I enjoyed jogging/riding/walking all over different parts of SE QLD.

    Training nights - I found myself doing stairs runs at BBC college, or sneaking into the gyms of other clubs/colleges while I waited for those never-ending meetings to finish or even chasing the lost balls during training.
    I have even joined in the fitness sessions of my children's soccer & AFL teams. They got used to it, their friends got used to it. Mum was always in tights/nicks.
    Now they have grown up & have their own cars, but last night, my daughter DROVE over to the gym to meet up and train with her mum.
    Healthy cycle continues.

    1. Great post Sue! Lots of good ideas for squeezing in training while being involved in kids activities. And who are those mums at games with full make up and designer clothes?? I've been to so many events in workout gear now my daughter thinks I look weird in anything else :D What a great activity to share with your daughter.