Random ramblings and TV-inspired activities

Saturday, 7 January 2012

These shoes are made for running...

The difference between being 33 and 3 is that the response to someone who says "I'm going running," aged 33 is "Good for you!". When you're 3 it's "Can I come too? Please!"

I'm not sporty. PE lessons at school pretty much put me off sport for life. Nothing to do with the teachers/teaching, and everything to do with communal changing rooms, teenage girls, and self-consciousness.

Since pregnancy #2, the ligaments in my lower back are permanently weakened. That's the bad news. The good news is that since my osteopath did his thing, I am pretty much pain-free, and although my ligaments are no longer to be trusted, as long as I keep my core muscles strong then they compensate accordingly. So, the silver lining to the cloud of having to pay much more attention to my body than I used to is that as a result I am substantially fitter. I have to make exercise a part of my life in a way it never was before. This can only be a good thing, as hopefully my kids will see that as 'the norm' and perhaps be more likely to continue to enjoy exercise. I don't come from a sporty background at all, and I do wonder whether it is nature or nurture that made me a 'not sporty' type...

But then I look at my kids and think, surely nature doesn't make 'not sporty' types? Because they, like pretty much every preschooler I know, love physical activity - my 14 month old spends his life in search of things to climb, and my 2 year old loves running (okay, often away from me) and jumping (yes, often in puddles). At what point do we lose that? Is it just about developing a sense of self and the self-consciousness that goes along with that? Or is that some days, getting two small kids ready, dressed and down the park seems such a huge effort that it's easier to stick on Cbeebies and pray they sit engrossed while you try and drink just one cup of tea before it's tepid? Because looking after two small kids is sometimes so knackering that you don't have enough energy of your own to help them use up theirs? Is that the start of a slippery sedentary lifestyle slope?

Fear not though, for the healthy living/active lifestyle is already promoted to 2 year olds via your TV! In fact the Government teamed up with kids' programme LazyTown last autumn to launch its own Change4Life programme aimed at 2-5 year olds. For those unfamiliar with LazyTown, it promotes healthy lifestyle choices via its hero Sportacus and the characters who live in the eponymous town. (There's a kid called Pixel who needs to be prised from his computer to exercise, fruit is 'Sports Candy', you get the gist - though I'm not sure anyone's fooled by that 'Sport Candy' idea. It's actually quite fun to watch, and less preachy than it sounds.) But then as adults, most of us know about healthy living and sensible choices, and the trend is still towards a state of increasing obesity.

Perhaps it makes sense then that the Government thinks we can't be trusted to make the right choices. Yet I have very mixed feelings about the school weigh-ins for kids, or "The National Child Measurement Programme" to give it its full title. My eldest will fall due for it at some point next year. I have the right to withdraw my child from it, and I am yet to decide if I will exercise that right. I view it as my responsibility to keep my kids healthy, and a long line of children being weighed, measured and recorded in schools strikes me as an image belonging more to a totalitarian state than the country I thought I lived in. But perhaps that is my naivety...

Regardless, I am trying hard to incorporate exercise into my life, and hopefully as well as keeping me pain-free it does set a good example. And so I've started the 'Couch to 5K', or 'C25K', 9 week running programme. Hence the pleading requests at bedtime from my daughter who would love to come with me... even in the drizzle. Meanwhile I try and remember the words of Phoebe from friends: "I run like I did when I was a kid because that's the only way it's fun".

1 week down, 8 to go and then we'll see if I actually am running 3 miles in 30 mins...


  1. You'll do it, I did :)
    Do you have a Park Run near you? It's a free 5k timed run. Look it up on google
    By the way I like your trainers

  2. Thanks! I will look up that Park Run thing. I run with wonky ankles apparently, so the shoes are supposed to sort that out, I forget the technical term for it. They were quite expensive so I feel obliged to use them! Extra motivation to run!