Ok…. let me confirm from the get go, my little family are NOT the sporty type. We don’t revel in long hikes, we don’t all trundle up on our bikes and go for family rides nor do my husband and I have sporty hobbies. We are active of course but not in that ‘sporty’ way.
At age 11, I was told that I would never been the athletic type. I was in the 2nd group (B team) at school for PE and with my curvy hips and large boobs things like long distance track or active type games requiring a less than attractive sports bra fitting at our local C&A, just didn’t fit well with my cool school cred. I pretty much gave up all hope and stuck with my main passion (and something I was good at) which was dancing. I am not saying I don’t enjoy the sports (I loved netball) but because of not being given the chance to change the perception I was given by the gym staff at my secondary school, I never associated exercise with fun. In fact, I detested it and avoided it at all costs and always felt like the outsider.
Thinking back now, how damaging is that? I am sure that today – schools cannot be allowed to pigeon hole students in this way. I know that our games teacher took an instant dislike to me because I wasn’t a typical sporty looking pupil (I mean I had a perm and bit of body shop lip balm on). She therefore determined me to be one of the ‘less active’ types and promptly put me in my place. It was mortifying. My role in each sports day was putting out the hurdles rather than being encouraged to try my best and jump over them. I decided bunking off games was much more fun than being humiliated so that became the norm in my final years at school. I read an article by the Telegraph here some years ago which really struck a chord with me about PE in school and how so many girls are put off. Something has to change if it hasn’t already??
Since having my own children, the husband and I have really tried to make a positive impact on our children when it comes to getting active. I took part in running training last winter and completed a 10k for charity along our local beach just before Christmas. It was one of the hardest things id done physically but I loved every second of training and learning how my body could really work to its full potential. I also joined the gym and started down the path of encouraging exercise outside the home.
As our son got to an age he is starting to take part in PE at school and with the school sports day coming up in his 1st year at school; we have really had to make the effort and home to get out and start being much more active. Luckily for us, Finley already loves his soccer tots class every Saturday morning and is starting to take an interest in football much more on the TV. We did try Rugby for a few seasons but it just wasn’t for him. I don’t want to start the whole Rugby vs Football debate – all I can say is that I will support whatever sport he decides to play whether that be tennis, hockey, football, horse riding…… we don’t care
We were lucky enough to get invited to the Royal Bath and West show at the beginning of the month to try out our soccer skills at the Lidl Football Zone. They have a 3 year partnership with the FA, Scottish FA and FA of Wales. We had a chance to have a go at 4 different ‘Zones’ at the stand (as well as trying some lovely fresh fruit). Finley had an absolute blast…. The main reason being was because each of the coaches they had on the stand really encouraged every single person willing to have a go at kicking the ball. Fin tried to kick his ball into some of the Aldi shopping trolleys they had out but his little legs just couldn’t quite get the ball high enough. Luckily for us, to save a mini meltdown, they allowed Finley to throw the ball.
This again encouraging his ‘throwing in skills!’. They gave out some great tips too and told Finley that practice is the best way to improve. They also had timed activities to improve hand eye co-ordination, shooting skills and were generally on hand to give some top footie tips!
I tried to have a go and Elsie was keen to but the queue of little lads and girls (and some big kids aka dads) were all queuing up behind me. I thought it would be better for me to let them have a go!
Since then we have signed up to take him to our weekly 1 mile Park runs (look for one in your area) and I also take little Elsie to a local toddler gymnastics class. She absolutley loves it and has so much energy – its a great way to let her get rid of some of it! Finley has even moved up to his next Soccer Tots age group….keen to put into practice all he has learned with Lidl guys that day and from watching the Euro’s with us when he can!
If nothing else, looking at how we move as a family has made me really approach sport in a different way. I try hard not to talk negatively about my experiences but rather more positively. Children have enough competition in their lives…they certainly do not need me pushing on them the need to be the best and being upset when they are not. Of course, I want them to be the best at all they do but I will be pushing on them the need to get out and do something – push them beyond their comfort zone and support them when they have a tough time or don’t win the race or match. All I want is for both of them to feel that they can try and have a go at ANY sport and not be judged for how good or bad they play it.
After a recently family holiday, husband and I managed to get a game of Badminton in. We absolutely LOVED it and have vowed to have some time to play together. I also need to up my running game and get back out there. Finley saw my running headband and said to me… when are running again mummy? You love your running. I like running now too. What a great reason to pick up my trainers again and get back out there..even though I am pretty slow, I can do it!
There are tons of busy mum workouts out on the web and so many handy tips on how to exercise safely. Grabbing a quick HIIT Session whilst baby or child sleeps, taking part in local events, joint exercising or getting out and about as a family is really great fun. Its not about loosing weight but getting in the mindset that exercise is good… and nothing to be scared OR excluded from.
If you want to take your little one to the Lidl sports zone, they still have some events coming up in Liverpool, Kent and Scotland. It was really good fun so check it out here
Love L x
PS. for all those ladies who think they are too big to run, check out this superb website and support site Too Fat to Run it is hugely inspiring!
Disclaimer – “I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. [I have received a voucher in return for writing this post]”