I woke up today with a stiff back. For the only time in my life, other than when I was pregnant, I had back pain. I struggled to lift my baby out of her cot. I asked my husband to lift my toddler out of his. It was a wake-up call.
I’m not sure why my back ached. It might have been because I’ve not been going to pilates classes, or because I’ve never really got back into yoga. It might have been because I rarely go running and spinning isn’t strengthening my core. It might have been because I’m lucky if I make it to the gym once a week. It might have been because I’ve not been making time for my body.
Things have got to change.
As I waited for my body to warm up this morning and my back to stop aching, I thought back to my 16-year-old self. I loved to run. I was a gym-junkie. I put exercise first. Always, and every day. In fact, I loved the way working out made me feel so much that I trained as a fitness instructor.
From the age of 16, I taught aerobics, spinning, boxercise, step, jazzercise, body conditioning, body pump, aqua aerobics – the lot. I loved every class. I freelanced and taught regularly at health clubs across North London, building up a solid following and continuously expanding the range of classes I could teach.
Once I graduated, things changed. I left the UK and, via Asia, settled in New Zealand. Life got in the way. Work definitely got in the way. As I worked my way up to sitting on the news desk of a national newspaper, there seemed to be little time for the gym – especially when there was the option of work drinks or drinks with contacts promising scoops.
I kept up a little activity – I completed a women’s triathlon and at one point ran a 10k in 59 minutes. I had always loved yoga (practising often throughout university), and I still did a little of this – I practised 3-5 times a week before the birth of my son, even getting to a hatha class the night before I was admitted to hospital.
But then I had two babies 18 months apart and everything stopped.
And now I’ve realised, I’ve been away from exercise for too long. I miss it. I miss my fitness.
I have a gym membership at a club I love but don’t get to enough. I have beautiful parks on my doorstep. I have trainers. I have a yoga mat. My baby goes to bed at 7pm and the kids (at the moment) sleep through. Yes, I get my freelance writing work done in the evening. Yes, I have a novel which I work on at night. But, there have to be enough hours in the day for fitness as well. The excuses stop here.
This isn’t about losing weight or getting off the couch. I’m already active with the kids. I’m already a healthy weight. It’s about becoming stronger and fitter and making time for exercise – because I know how good it makes me feel, and I know how good it is for me.
By writing this post, I’m committing to spending 30 minutes a day being active. I know 30 minutes is nothing – I run around for hours with the kids. But it’s 30 minutes without the kids, of just me, making time for fitness.
Wish me luck, and feel free to join me. There is, after all, strength in numbers.