Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mums on the run

Mums across the Far North are no longer running on empty, they’re running with a purpose

A conversation among the mothers at my little one’s playgroup has sparked inspiration for me this week.
Not only for something to write about, but inspiration for living life to the fullest.
I know it’s cheesy, but I like cheese (preferably the blue brie kind).
The mothers I chatted to wouldn’t dream of eating blue brie, because they’re all super healthy and actually ‘enjoy’ running (yeah, crazy huh?)
As one mum announced “I’m going to do a marathon!” - the others replied “I’ve done a marathon!”, “I love running!” and on it went.
Then I recalled another friend who has taking up training to compete in local triathlons.
I asked the obvious question: “Why?”
“I don’t know, I guess it’s just something I wanted to try, and now I’m addicted!”
And she’s not alone.
Mothers everywhere are beating the pavement in the early morning hours in order to beat their baby fat, and they’re gaining newfound energy and vitality.

These women are not extraordinary sporty types whose life BC (that’s Before Children) revolved around gyms and Lorna Jane stores.
They are just like you and me, normal women aiming to stay in shape and challenge themselves through exercise.
Search the blogosphere and you’ll find an endless number of women taking part in marathons and triathlons.
Then there are the famous role models such as Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, a mother of two who also holds the world record for the women’s marathon.
In other arenas, there are tennis stars Kim Clijsters, Evonne Goolagong and Margaret Court Smith who all won grand slam titles after having children.
American swimmer and former world-record holder Dara Torres, launched a comeback at age 41 when her daughter Tessa was two years old. She won three silver medals in the pool at the Beijing Games.
Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen, also known as the Flying Housewife, won four gold medals on the track at the 1948 Olympic Games in London, as a 30-year-old mother of two.
Scottish runner Liz McColgan won Olympic silver in the 10,000m at Seoul in 1988. The eldest of her five children, Eilish, was born in 1990. When McColgan returned to the track the following year, she won world championship gold.
American golfer Nancy Lopez, a mother of three, has 48 wins on the LPGA Tour – 21 of those have come since she had children.
Another golfer, Catriona Matthew, 40, from Scotland, won two LPGA Tour trophies prior to becoming a mother, but her greatest success came with winning the British Open in 2009 – just 11 weeks after giving birth to her second child.
You only have to attend Relay for Life to see how many women are prepared to get moving for a good cause.
Sadly, there are many mothers who think that once they have children they are restrained in what they can do and achieve.
This is partly due to mother guilt overload, but also to social stereotyping. If it’s not the norm, then it seems impossible.
But every woman should set themselves goals and aim to reach them.
Studies show that regular physical activity improves your quality of life, and your chances of living longer.
You will reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce the risk of arthritis, improve mobility and strength later in life and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Exercise can help protect you from developing certain cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis. It can reduce or improve symptoms of menopause and PMS.
It will also help relieve stress, therefore allowing you to sleep better, and increase energy.
You can begin to control your weight, tone up and increase your mental and physical endurance, which will also improve your self-image.
Personally, I’m not the “running” type. It hurts in far too many places. I’d rather swim, bicycle, walk (ie. pram-pushing) or dance for exercise.
But no matter what you choose to do, the benefits are undeniable, and what a great example you are setting for your kids.


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