Keeping active when you have kids can be really hard. Carving out time for yourself to get out and do some exercise is a daily challenge. I often use the hashtag #activefamily because I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to get my daily dose of activity is to make it a family affair. This is particularly the case during school holidays and there are a lot of those! With a bit of imagination you can turn any trip into a work out for every member of the family, without them even realising what you’re doing!
I had one of those special runs today. One that makes you so glad that you’re a runner. One that makes you smile all day. I wanted to remember it so thought I’d write a quick blog and share it with you.
I’m keen on self-reflection. I wrote a diary for years as a child and I dip in again from time to time now. I find it very therapeutic and I just LOVE reading it back. It helps me to be grateful for all I have and to set targets for the year ahead. It’s amazing how much you forget, even in the space of a year. I guess blogging and vlogging kind of replaces a diary in some ways but I’ll still be making my yearly entry looking back on the year I’ve had and making plans for 2016.
There are so many things in life to feel guilty about and I strongly believe that exercise shouldn’t be one of them. A common answer when I ask a patient how much exercise they do, is, “Not as much as I should”. Getting some exercise seems to form part of a big list of targets we’re told we need to achieve in our daily lives; eat your five a day, drink lots of water, not too much sugar, fat, alcohol, get some screen free time, spend quality time with loved ones etc etc. We can end the day feeling like a failure and realistically, who manages this long list on a daily basis? This is why we need to fundamentally change the way we think about exercise and this involves every single one of us.
How adventurous are you when it comes to family activities? On our recent holiday to Croatia we signed up for a day trip kayaking through a gorge. At the start, all kitted out in life jackets and helmets we gathered to get the brief from the skipper. He told us with glee about the waterfalls we’d kayak over and how one in particular was really BIG. I started to wonder whether the whole idea was crazy, especially with three kids and seriously considered just retreating to the safety of our lovely swimming pool.
Do your children enjoy exercise? Are they doing enough? Sometimes we have to nurture a love of exercise in our little ones. The current activity guidelines for children age 5 to 18 are that they need to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This should be of moderate to vigorous intensity so needs to be something that gets their heart racing and makes them out of breath. On three days a week this should include an activity that strengthens muscles and bones. Under 5s should be active for at least 180 minutes a day but this can include lighter activities too. Have a look here for the NHS guidelines and suggestions about how to achieve this.
I’ve run marathons in London and Mallorca and been frantically searching the internet for other interesting places to run one. Paris, New York, Boston…..my list is endless. I was really excited to meet Shona Thomson who’s taken this desire to another level. She’s one of 3 British women to run a marathon on all of the world’s seven continents and then she added one at the North Pole for good measure! I’m intrigued by (and slightly jealous of) strong women with the guts to take on challenges like these. I was also interested to find out why and how she left her job as a city banker to follow her running dreams and use her time to help and inspire others to become and stay active. Speaker, trainer, mentor and adventurer; a woman after my own heart and it was a pleasure to chat to her.
I know, I know, how can I have been a runner for 7 years and never have done a parkrun? I’m almost embarrassed to admit it. Parkrun has become a regular date on most runner’s weekly calendar and Twitter overheats on a Saturday morning with race facts. So, what took me so long and was it worth the wait?
This is a long overdue post and before you ask, no, it’s not sponsored! I just have to write about and share my most favourite piece of running kit ever. My Nuu Muu dresses.
There are so many blogs celebrating the benefits of running. Pages of declarations of love for the sport, claims of super powers and life-changing experiences. I could probably fill a book with what running means to me and how it has shaped my life. Rather than subject you to that I thought it would be more powerful to explain it in pictures. Pictures, do after all, speak louder than words. I always run with my phone and therefore I always have a camera. This is why I run: