Good health, they say is true wealth. With our bodies being our most prized possession, why do so many of us take it for granted and not treat it like the temple that it is?
Eating the right foods is vital, but exercising and keeping fit goes a long way to keeping us toned and healthy on the inside and out.
A common excuse is that as our responsibilities increase as we get older, we simply do not have the time to devote to exercise. We spoke to two mums in their thirties who have prioritised health and fitness in their lives. They share how it has made a huge impact in their lives.
Mother of two boys, ages 6 and 4 years old
Works full time
I have a full-time office job and recently became a personal trainer. I began exercising four years ago after having my second son. I struggled with postpartum depression after his birth. I also suffered with constant back pain, and discovered that my abdominal muscles had split apart, a condition known as diastasis recti (DR). I had two choices to deal with my DR, surgery or exercise. I chose exercise.
Diastasis recti is a result of weaknesses in the core muscles. It’s common in postpartum women. I learnt postpartum that I needed to rebuild my muscle strength so I began a strength training routine.
I currently lift weights five times a week for 45 minutes per session. I aim to get 150 minutes of moderate to high intensity cardio a week. Although I initially started exercising because I was unhappy with my physique, being active has also helped me mentally and it was what brought me through postpartum depression.
I’m pretty busy, juggling work, a side business, two young children and a husband but I’ve discovered the best time for my work out is during my lunch break. I go to the gym five days a week during my lunch hour. I eat my lunch post-workout at my desk. What has kept me motivated is how being healthier makes me feel. I don’t struggle as much with my emotional stability and I feel physically strong. Learning that I am capable of doing things in the gym has translated to other parts of my life and has helped me build a confidence I never had before exercising.
Exercise has transformed my physique but more powerful to me is that it has transformed my mind. It’s been really great for my mental health. As I see my strength improve in the gym I’ve realized how much small actions matter and this has helped me to be proactive in other parts of my life. It’s taught me not to run from the things that are hard, but to face them and learn that strength is a result of overcoming your challenges.
My advice to anyone that wants to get fit is to just do it. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. I didn’t know anything about strength training when I started, I made a lot of mistakes, but I kept trying.
Mum of four (single parent)
Teacher / entrepreneur
I have always loved exercising and was very active as a child, joining a professional athletics clubs when I was 11 years old. At that age, I didn’t quite realise how much it would go on to be a major part of my life! By the time I hit my teens, I was working out regularly, going to fitness classes and taking part in competitive sports. By the time I got married and started having children, exercising, eating well and having a healthy lifestyle was part of my make-up.
I am a fan of Cardio because I love energetic, sweaty workouts. If I don’t break into a sweat, then I don’t feel like I’ve worked out at all. But I also love doing a variety of exercises including strength training, Pilates and Aqua classes. Over the years and after having kids, I have developed a more rounded approach to exercise. I still love doing my favourite cardio workouts but I also like to mix it up by doing what is good for my body – e.g. exercises that don’t always impact on the joints!
I always find a way to fit exercise into my day – be it a quick run in the morning, a home workout in the afternoon or a quick session whilst the dinner is cooking in the background. I don’t make excuses when it comes to exercise and taking care of myself, because I believe that a healthy body equals a sound mind. Being a happy mum equals having happy children!
Since having the children I have a few more stretch marks to contend with and the odd line in other places! – but overall I am happy with my physique now. As a teen, I was all about being skinny and did not really understand the importance of a healthy diet and a healthy body outlook. Today, I am more focused on feeling healthy and demonstrating a positive body image for my girls.
I always say to mums who have active children, a busy lifestyle and are short on time, that it’s absolutely necessary to exercise! Exercise gives you the energy you need to get things done. You feel energised and raring to go after a great workout! Functional exercise is great for alleviating the aches and pains that is associated with the stresses of life and busy workloads. It’s a great reliever of stress, helps in aiding you to get a good nights’ sleep; and as we all know is great for helping you to feel good about yourself. Finally, exercise releases chemicals called endorphins and serotonin into the body making you feel good and happy.
Let go of all the excuses you’ve ever had, because the benefits of exercise will truly outweigh them. It helps to have a supportive partner, friend or buddy to join you and encourage you in your new fitness goal by working out together and keeping each other on track.
Feyi has a launched a workout DVD called ‘The Bootylicious Workout’ on Amazon.