Do it daily or die young!

BY DI WESTAWAY | CEO and Founder of Wild Women On Top

“After a day's walk everything has twice its usual value”. ~George Macauley Trevelyan.

Slumped over the kitchen sink with two toddlers running around I lose it. Hysterical yelling from nowhere. My mum’s jaw drops.

My husband puts down his beer. “I hate this. You guys don’t get it,” I cry and yell as the kids scatter. Mum’s loving arms around me.

I sob uncontrollably: much worse than any 2 year old tantrum. Primal. Intense. “I NEED to exercise,” I scream, losing control completely. “I’m tired, I can’t go before they wake up – its too f***ing early. YOU won’t let me go. You don’t get it. I NEED to walk.” “Hey, Relax,” says hubby. Mum’s wiser. “You go darling, I’ll look after the kids and the dishes.” And I go. Runners on, outside, a walk to sanity.

But how do busy women fit daily exercise into their lives?

It’s tough. It’s challenging. It’s a daily battle. But it’s ESSENTIAL.

Our very life, and that of our families, depends on it. Still not convinced?

Read on ...

• 20% of all deaths of people 35 and older were attributed to a lack of physical activity;

• Sedentary lifestyle causes more deaths than smoking

• Nearly half of Australian women are overweight or obese, with younger women gaining weight at a much higher rate than previous generations;

Five years after my hysterical tantrum experience, I found a way to finally get daily exercise into my life. I signed up for a Big Hairy Audacious Goal: To climb the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, Mt Aconcagua, 7,000m.

I failed to summit, but I discovered a new life of adventure, women and health.

I learned that by always having a challenging goal which required me to be fit and healthy, and linking this to charity, I could always justify spending time on my own health.

Former Olympic swimmer and mother of two, Susie O’Neill, gets it. She signed up to do the Sydney Coastrek, 50 km Team Challenge to alleviate the working mother guilt she felt in walking with her friends. “Walking seems like a waste of time so it’s hard to fit in with all my other priorities.

But the fact that I can do this walk with my friends made all the difference,” she said. “Being able to restore sight through The Fred Hollows Foundation was the big attraction because it takes away the guilt of doing something for yourself,” said Susie. (Susie is not a walker. She has a bung knee and got a blister on her first training walk - but she's committed) Every working mum knows finding time for exercise and friends is difficult. And most often, exercise comes last on the list.

So for Susie, this opportunity allowed her to justify long walks with her friends; ticking 4 boxes in one; fitness, friends, fun & fundraising. WOMENS GUIDE TO GETTING DAILY EXERCISE INTO YOUR LIFE!

1. Get yourself a Big Hairy Audacious fitness goal for charity

2. Plan your week’s workouts on Sunday night, including locked in regular workouts

3. Write down your goal make a written plan of the steps you need to achieve it

4. Educate your kids and partner about the benefits of exercise for you and them:

a. Keep you healthy so you can look after them

b. Keep you happy so you are nice to them

5. Join a fitness tribe so you’re surrounded by healthy people

6. Get a training buddy so your exercise is social

7. Exercise outdoors and in nature and get the extra happy hormones

8. Make sure the exercise you choose has fun as well as challenging aspects

9. Eat healthy nutritious food with portion control 80% of the time so you get results

10. Practice a positive approach to life tapping onto daily motivational thoughts to top you up.

I’ve learned the hard way that I NEED exercise every day and so do my kids. And science now shows why.

Physical activity brings a myriad of health benefits PLUS youth, immunity, and sanity.

It’s just a no-brainer. Do it daily or die young.

"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it." ~Soren Kierkegaard

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