I exercise for me. I exercise to stay healthy physically and mentally. I exercise to be social. Maybe sometimes, I exercise for cake!
I took part in lots of sports as a child and teenager but that seemed to just decrease in my adult life; working full-time, running a house etc etc just got in the way. I’ve never been skinny, and being less active and travelling a lot for work just increased my weight even more, making the thought of exercise more daunting. On top of that, there’s that fear of what other people think and whether I’d be able to achieve what I set out to do.
For a long time, I wanted to get back to being active, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I tried going to the gym, swimming, running but didn’t really enjoy those things.
My husband was cycling regularly and I felt like I was missing out on something; fresh air, exercise, time with him. Also at the time, I was working for a charity, and wanting to give something back; so together we signed up for the Prudential RideLondon (a big step from no cycling to possibly 100 miles!).
The training for this really forced the issue, the early rides weren’t all nice; there were some tears and lots of thinking that I would never be able to do this.
I developed a real fear of cycling uphill too (living in Derbyshire, that’s really inconvenient!)
As time went on, I enjoyed rides more and more. I also met new people, including other women cyclists and have made some amazing friends, alongside making great memories and finding new places to cycle.
One of those places is the velodrome in Derby, and their women only sessions. These have built so much confidence in my cycling, so much fitness and it’s such a friendly and encouraging environment.
I try to think about where I could fit being active into daily life.
I sometimes commute to work on my bike when I have an office day. When I’m at home, my treadmill helps me fit in bursts of 20-30 minutes activity, especially if it’s raining!. I also try to plan being active into holidays or weekends away, and sometimes rent a Santander bike when we go to London. For me being active is also a perfect opportunity to catch up with friends; social walks, bike rides with café stops!
Being active has also offered me some development opportunities; I’m coaching & commissairing, so that I can help other people to get involved.
What would I say to someone thinking of getting active? Go for it…take small steps, don’t be intimidated by what others can do as we all have to start somewhere, and most importantly enjoy what you do and love who you are.