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In 2020 I decided I wasn’t going to allow motherhood to be the barrier that stopped me from getting active anymore!

Becoming a mother changed my physical activity levels forever. While I do know many women who have successfully gotten straight back into the same level of sport that they played before having children this unfortunately wasn’t the case for me, and I’m sure many others. My circumstances as a mother are quite extreme, I had four children in five years: that’s four pregnancies back to back, four very different labours (my first being an emergency c section) and six years of breastfeeding.

On top of that I have a husband who works offshore, he is away 6 weeks at a time leaving me to care for all our small children. While I wouldn’t change this for the world, I was beginning to lose my identity, sport was an integral part of my life growing up and I desperately missed it. I was a member of a successful synchronised swimming team until I reached the age of 18, I enjoyed hockey, dancing and running; I completed many half marathons and finished the London Marathon with a good time for my age group.

In 2020 I decided I wasn’t going to allow motherhood to be the barrier that stopped me from getting active anymore!

Prior to becoming a mother, I was involved in physical activity each day. It was my outlet, it helped me think clearly and gave me that all important buzz. It is this feeling that motivated me to get active once more, alongside the want to motivate my children to get outside more and for them to also see the huge benefits physical activity has on their body – both physically and mentally. When lockdown hit in 2020, and I had just had my fourth baby, I was left contemplating this new life I had built over 6 years. While I adore being a mother, I knew that something had to change. I missed, well, sport! I missed the adrenaline, the excitement and the positive effects on my body and my mind.

With no childcare help, and a husband who is away for more than half of the year, I had to start thinking of ways to include sport in our day to day life, including the children! And so, it was here, in the middle of the 2020 lockdown, where The Hiking Household was developed.

The Hiking Household is a go to guide for families of all abilities within Cumbria to aid them to get outside more. The website showcases over 100 family friendly walks – some are short park walks, others are longer fell walks within the Lake District. Each walk has been trialled by my four children and I; the feeling of reaching the summit of a mountain with your four children alongside you beats any gold medal that I have ever won. Their tired, yet excited faces, make it all worthwhile.

I hope in years to come I will continue to inspire my young children to use sport, and physical activity, as an outlet.

Fitting exercise into my busy, daily life is the main reason why I developed The Hiking Household. I began thinking of all the many families out there who also missed sport, physical activity or had lost their identity on the way through motherhood. Trying to fit exercise in to an already hectic schedule can often feel impossible so I started asking the question: What exercise am I able to still do even with my children? I began to take up walking with my children. We would walk each and every day.

We would hike, stroll, skip to the park. Whatever it may be, we ditched the car and walked more and more.

While the pandemic restricted the level of physical activity, I was able to do and the ability to travel to our much loved fells and wainwrights in the Lake District, it opened my eyes to a whole new way of exercising. I fell in love with my local area, my family and I explored areas from our doorstep that we had never explored before. While how far we could travel was restricted we soon learned that we are always able to adapt, and we soon transferred our love of walking right to our doorstep.