No, this is not one of those "new year, new me" posts - but it is definitely a "here's something I need more of" type ones.
As a former competitive sporty type - netball, rounders, lacrosse, swimming, athletics, if there was a team, I was probably on it - it's been a surprise to me how easy the habit of regular exercise can fall away. I kept up pretty well with being active during my year in Paris (pub work, dancing and capoeira), being an undergrad (netball, cycling and dancing) and those early years of work (cycling to work and hitting the gym) but motherhood changed all of that for me.
I was tagged as high risk for late term miscarriage during my first pregnancy - even running for the bus was off the cards. It was incredibly frustrating to drop to zero energetic movement like that, but I was so grateful to be carrying a healthy foetus after previous miscarriage that it felt ridiculous to complain about it.
That pic is me with pure post-sprint runner's high. It's a hot day in July 2015 in the Olympic stadium in Stratford (which is why I had to sprint the last 50 metres...too many Jamaicans won on this track for me to let the side down!). It was a charity 10K I nearly didn't do since I was in the first trimester of pregnancy with our second child. Having carried the first child to term, I'd been let off the exercise leash. Despite some nerves (especially from my husband), I went back to some netball, gentle gym work and walked as much as possible. I have very fond memories of freaking a bunch of people out with a full running man on a dancefloor at 8.5 months pregnant.
And then I stopped. I got busy being a full time mum. Sure, I ran around after the kids and had kitchen discos a plenty with them, but outside of a resurgence of walking during lockdown, I wasn't really doing anything that was just for me. It's only really in the past year that I've really started to regain some of my vigour for movement. One panel event & daytime party re-ignited that fire for me - Mums That Rave, organised and delivered by DJ Nikki Beatnik. I went to my first MTR alone, but have found new kindred spirits on the dancefloor every time since. There's something about being completely apart from the male gaze, charged up after a listening to a panel of inspirational women, then carried high by a DJ set of pure bangers, that is just MAGIC. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know what I mean. In the last few months, that high lifted my spirit for movement to the point of joining a brilliant local netball team and embracing the freewheeling joy of Lime bikes. I'm planning to get into some boxing training this year, too.
This is my little plea to you, specifically you, mamas, to move your body. Start small. 5 minutes stretching while you're still in your nightclothes. A quick kitchen disco while you wait for the shower to warm up or the kettle to boil. Walk up the steps. Actually use that home fitness app you downloaded this time last year. Get those proper boots and drag your mate out for a long walk. Get your bike fixed. Drop some squats with your baby as a weight. Benchpress your toddler. Shoot some hoops with your teen. I don't care how you do it, just MOVE YOUR BODY. Your physical and mental health demand it. And you know it's time.
And if you obviously, if you want to get inspired by some boss female businesspeople then get down to 90s RnB, Soul, HipHop, Pop, Jungle, House and Garage, come find your tribe at Mums That Rave.
We're ready for you.