Here is part 2 of Jane W’s instalment of my ‘Women In Sport’ blog series. Every day I am in a superb position to bear witness to the phenomenal achievements of my clients. I can keep writing or just let you get stuck in, I finished reading this myself with a smile on my face! What do you think?
‘Sport and activities can often be considered to be for those of a ‘younger generation’ – what would be your thoughts on this?
Well to be honest I think physical activity should be for all ages, all abilities and all genders. We should be working towards removing barriers for everyone. Because the benefits are huge in terms of physical and mental well being. And it must be cheaper than prescribing drugs or hospital treatments. I started mountain biking and canoeing in my mid forties as a single parent. As females entering some of these sports we were in a minority. As a female single parent taking her daughter off on multi day challenges without professional intervention I was sometimes viewed as reckless! But my daughter and I have had immense pleasure through doing these kind of shared activities and have worked as a team to, for example go off mountain biking in the Cairngorms. I’m good at logistics and she is great at navigation having done her D.O.E certificates. And as a result of commencing these sports I am now fitter and healthier than I was in my 20s.
When I was younger I thought that all I had to do was to keep active and eat well in order to maintain fitness.. I now realise that there is a lot more to it than that. All round strength and not just power in a part of your body is important. You may have higher lower body strength from running but less upper body strength for example. In my case I was very one sided as I had been carrying a lot of heavy weights on the right side of my body whilst working. That lead to back problems. I also wasn’t picking the weights up properly. I got away with this for a long time but seemed to lose a lot of flexibility around the time of my menopause and as a result sustained a number of injuries. I am now working hard with the help of my personal trainer, Louise PT4U, to improve this situation. In fact I am now way more aware of good posture; healthy eating; balanced strength and flexibility and hydration as a result of going for regular training sessions.
Why aren’t we all taught good posture and how to lift things at school?
It seems like common sense. So I have come to realise that it isn’t just about keeping moving but the manner in which you move your body, in order to do sport; hoover the carpet; wash the car; split logs for the fire etc. etc. So I am taking this on board as I intend to keep on doing sport for as long as possible.
As part of my personal training routine my coach, Louise,
encouraged me to set some goals to work towards.So as it was my 50th birthday earlier this year I decided to set goals with the numbers five and zero in. So it went something like this;
Goal 1 – To swim 50 lengths without stopping, had only ever previously got to 20. So I managed to achieve this one in late February.
Goal 2 – To cycle over 500 miles in one go. I finally got to 509 after taking a trip out to the Outer Hebrides in May. When there I cycled most of the Heb Way, crossing over 8 islands and having some fantastic experiences in one of the remotest places in the UK. And then carried on through Skye and a route round North Mull then back onto the West Coast of mainland Scotland.
Goal – 3 To paddle 5 solo Canadian canoe trips. This one has morphed a bit. I was asked 5 weeks ago by an outdoor education instructor, Piotr from Outdoor Explore, if I would accompany him on ‘the old green kayak challenge’. This consisted of paddling over 50 miles (53 to be exact) down the River Tay from Killin on the far side of Loch Tay to the beech hedge at Meiklour. 14 hours, 8 Ospreys and 1 beaver later we had made it. That was the hardest and most difficult challenge to date and I had to dig really deep mentally to complete it.
I’ll be setting myself another goal shortly.
This stuff has been really helpful. It has given a context to my training and has helped me to stay focused and positively motivated. And even when I have been facing the outcome of medical diagnoses for joint issues, it has helped me to concentrate on what I can do rather than what I have been told by the medical profession that I should not do. And with every challenge ticked off and done comes a greater sense of self confidence and amazement at what my body can still achieve at age 50, with the right training and a bit of TLC from myself!’
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