My movement journey certainly did not start out as one of inspiration nor was it going to be a story where I led by example, instead it is a story of how it all went wrong, however, in sharing my story I hope that I can help others to make a better fist of helping their teenage girls avoid falling into the pit of misery that I found myself in.
To set the scene:
I am 13 years old and at a boarding school, a million miles from home. The school is ALL about sport. I know that my parents felt it a wonderful opportunity for me to be immersed in this environment and truly thought it was the best thing for me, sadly the opposite was true, and in fact, it took me many years to recover from the sheer trauma of it all.
Prior to this, I had been a vivacious, confident, popular, happy kid. But all that changed in the blink of an eye. At the age of 13, I learned that sport was not my thing.
The message that became hard-wired into my brain was that sport was humiliating, and I was an embarrassment to myself and to the world around me.
I was the kid that no one wanted in their hike group, running group, or any group for that matter.
Being somewhat of a buxom wench from an early age, I felt awkward and obvious and my body became a hated vehicle for my bewildered, sad soul. I put on a heap of weight, I lost my all my confidence, my self-esteem was unceremoniously flushed down the toilet and unsurprisingly, I became depressed.
I dreamed of the day when I was grown up and didn’t have to do sport EVER AGAIN!
As a teenage girl’s body blooms into womanhood there are so many things to negotiate, hormones, new lumps and bumps, hairy bits, periods, body image expectations, comparison to others, and notions of normalcy.
Through all this, it is so important that she has a safe place to hang out, a place to escape the critical eye, a place where she is accepted and loved and seen as perfect, EXACTLY as she is.
For most this place is home, for others, it may be an aunties house, or a grandparent, or another carefully chosen caregiver. In this time, what is also critically important is that she is learning the art of caring for and loving the body she is in. This is done through being empowered with the knowledge of how she can care for her body and what she can prioritize to feel confident she is moving in a positive direction. Knowing how to nourish, move, and rest her body, how to utilize sunlight, de-stress, connect, pamper, and find purpose are all critical parts of this puzzle.
And the simple fact is that many mums have never been gifted this knowledge either, this then makes it difficult to role-model the life we want for our girls.
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For the purposes of this week’s post, I am going to focus on movement.
I want to move us away from the whole notion of a 30-day routine or an 8-week program, rather let’s look at how we move for life. Remember that it is never too late to start, and Mumma, she does need you to lead by example. You can do this, together.
Remember, it is never too late to start!
WHY do we need to move/exercise daily? And WHAT do we need to be focusing on?
- It is important at this point to reiterate that I am not a personal trainer nor an expert on exercise, what I am is a wellness practitioner with the skills to research and a passion for knowledge. I hope that by sharing what I have learned I can save you some homework time and give you a foundation from which you can further explore and educate yourself.
- physically stronger,
- toned, and
- to have more energy,
- to sleep better,
- to increase our metabolism,
- to have more clarity of mind,
- improve memory and ability to learn new things,
- to feel more love for and confidence in our bodies,
- to boost our happiness levels through the release of endorphins,
- boost our immunity,
- reduce stress and alleviate anxiety,
- and to find something new through which we can connect.
Not a bad list of things to achieve from simply adding in some movement/exercise, is it?
When considering movement/exercise don’t forget all the incidental stuff that can be squeezed in. While I write this, I have my computer up on a bookshelf so I am up off my bum and alternately standing on one leg … lol …. I am sure I am painting a funny picture!
Other ways you can fit in incidental exercise is through parking at the far end of a car park rather than in the nearest spot to the door, if possible make your girls walk to school rather than driving them (I am working on this one, as my girls are experts at coming up with reasons why I should drive them), pump up the music while you are all doing housework together, run up those stairs rather than walk, and meet a girlfriend for a walk rather than a coffee.
TYPES OF MOVEMENT TO GET IN EACH WEEK
BECAUSE IT IS A NON-NEGOTIABLE PART OF HAVING AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE
Benefits – improves the function of your organs (keeps your heart, lungs, circulatory and digestive systems functioning properly, not to mention the numerous benefits to brain health)
Examples – power walking, jogging, dancing, bike riding, rollerblading, swimming.
Aim – 3 x per week
Benefits – Build lean muscle, burn fat, tone
Examples – pull-ups, push-ups, squats, plank, burpees, lunges
Aim – Allow 48 hours of rest between workouts. Aim for 2-3 non-consecutive sessions per week.
Benefits – improves circulation, proprioception, improves sleep, maintain good flexibility,
Examples – yoga, tai chi, stretching, standing on one leg, using an exercise ball
Aim – daily, stretching before and after all other forms of exercise.
Benefits – improves insulin sensitivity, reduced blood pressure, increases lean muscle mass, improves mitochondrial (mitochondria are like the battery pack in your cells) functions significantly, improve the quality of your skin, sleep better.
Examples– Tabata, Sprints of running, cycling or swimming.
Aim – 4 x 30-second high-intensity training 3 x per week (Rest for 4.5 mins between each burst of high-intensity activity) – Total session time 20 minutes
I found the following episode of Catalyst to be super inspiring and motivating, so check it out and let me know your thoughts.
The original Tabata Protocol Workout requires the following:
- 5 minutes of warm-up e.g. walking
- 8 intervals of 20 seconds all-out intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest
- 2 minutes cool-down e.g. walking, stretching
CAVEAT: This is NOT going to happen overnight, this is a goal to work towards, two steps forward, one step back and repeat, and eventually with enough support, motivation, and dedication, step by step, a wonderful new and rewarding habits will be formed.
Wishing you all the best for your journey into a Fitter, Stronger, Healthier, Happier, YOU!
As a mentor to mums and their teenage girls, I am here for you,
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