2020 was a roller-coaster year. Throw becoming a new mum - or suddenly becoming teacher as well as parent - into the mix and every mama I know was faced with more than they ever knew they were capable of handling.
Everyone will tell you the negatives about 2020 but I’m here to tell you about something GREAT!
My two boys (Milo, 6 and Louis, 10) threw themselves into home-schooling with so much enthusiasm it was hard to keep up. I found myself suddenly having to take my business online when I barely knew how to work the iPad. And I had to juggle all of this, like the rest of the world, without the face to face support network of friendships & family.
So how did I keep positive, keep healthy & keep going?
Exercise! Whilst Joe Wicks got most kids (and some parents) up and down the land excited about PE again, I got to really embrace what I do for a living. Pre-lockdown, I was constantly moving – running from class to class, PT client to PT client, all in between the short hours of the school day. My fitness levels were good. But 2020 taught me that it’s about so much more than having good stats and hitting your fitness goals.
I passionately believe that now more than ever is a great time to up your fitness game. Here’s why:
The Emotional Benefits
‘If exercise was a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed drug in the world’ When Dr. Robert Butler said this in the 1980’s he was on to something. We've now got decades of research to back this up, but you just have to listen to your body to know how you great you feel after you have been getting your fit on. That post-workout buzz that leaves you feeling oh-so-good is a bona fide side effect that can’t be underestimated.
Whilst most people immediately jump to the physical benefits of staying fit, a healthy mind is a HUGE by-product.
Releasing endorphins (the happy hormone), feeling empowered, increased energy levels, improved mood, reduced stress and anxiety, better sleep, improved mental clarity – now who doesn’t want (or need!) some of that action? It’s an all-round mental health virtuoso.
When I had to stop running face to face classes, I was so gutted for the mums I was leaving behind. ‘They need this, we are about so much more than squats!’ I would say, especially of my postnatal classes.
And it’s true, there is something cathartic and wonderful about being part of a tribe who can set the world to rights whilst throwing out some moves in the park. But what I hadn’t realised, was how much I thrived off of that interaction too. It made me want to create that same community, bring that same positivity into our online sessions as we navigated the new way of working out, in Lockdown1.0, together.
The Physical Benefits
The physical benefits of exercise are too numerous to mention and go far beyond torching calories for fat loss. But for women in particular there are even more great reasons for us to embrace fitness thanks to our specific combination of hormones and health risks. Here are four ways exercise particularly benefits us ladies, no matter your age:
It counteracts hormonally-driven mood swings.
It prevents bone loss and osteoporosis.
It keeps weight in check.
It improves sleep (Women on the whole are more prone to daytime sleepiness due to new motherhood, monthly hormonal changes and perimenopausal symptoms like night sweats).
And ladies, if I don’t yet have you convinced on the holistic benefits that regular exercise can bring you, then let it be known that sweating it out not only makes you stronger, leaner and happier, it also does wonders for your skin…..are you in now?
But how do you stay motivated to exercise during lockdown?
Well that’s all well and good in theory – we all KNOW that exercise is good for us. But you’re a mum, right? Constantly spinning 1000 plates? And always putting herself at the bottom of the priority list? How realistic is it to actually get any decent fitness in around the kiddies?
When I launched Fitter Mother I wanted to create a community that was inclusive.
To all stages of motherhood, from the early weeks postnatal and onwards into the nursery and school years, and beyond.
To all levels of fitness, from the 'I haven't exercised in years!' to the 'Will I be able to run marathons again?'
I wanted not just to be child-friendly, but mum-friendly. And most of all, I wanted mums to feel empowered in their bodies. A reminder that whilst motherhood can be all-consuming, you are more than just a mum.
It’s why at all my ‘real life’ classes I welcome children of any age. And it’s why my Virtual Studio has been created to fit around mum-life. With a series of new workouts every week, ranging from Pilates to Cardio, Boxercise to Core, my aim is to keep you motivated and invigorated with workouts that are short but effective. Each session is only 30 minutes long and can be accessed live or on replay at any point, so you can make it work to your day. We have kept our vibe and our tribe, just like I wanted to and everyone has embraced the fact that they can access great workouts without leaving the house.
I honestly believe online workouts are here to stay. It has never been easier to bring fitness to you on demand, where you want it, when you want. And my pre-lockdown ‘good’ fitness levels? They’re now great!