New Role, Change of Lifestyle
Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 08:33
As a competitive, 'sporty kid' who was keen to represent my school in most, if not all, activities offered, the career path to a Secondary School PE Teacher seemed a natural one to follow. It combined everything that I enjoyed; working with Young People, teaching individual activities, team games, gymnastics and trampolining, training and coaching school teams to compete against other schools in district, county & national competitions and delivering GCSE & A Level PE.
As a PE Teacher my working week was dominated by practical activity. With the exception of some GCSE & A Level theory lessons, I was on my feet from 8.00am – 3.30pm. After school, again with the exception of Department and Management meetings, my time was taken up coaching at extra-curricular clubs & practices or refereeing school fixtures four or five nights a week, often well into the evening. The rest of my evening (with the exception of Fridays) was spent planning and marking.
In addition to my working week, I used to play local football, playing Saturday afternoons and training twice a week. Then when my knees (and wife) told me it was time to pack it in, I moved into coaching and management. However, I spent as much, if not more, time leading training and coaching players than I did when I was playing!
Both roles ensured that I spent the majority of my week being physically active. As a consequence I never had to think much about what or how much I ate because I knew I would burn it off or think about the duration or frequency with which I moved because I was always on the move.
However, during the summer of 2018 I left teaching. Having just turned 51, the demands of teaching for 28 years were beginning to tell on me and I knew it was time to make a change! So in September last year I joined the 'Red Army' of Northamptonshire Sport as a School Sports Development Officer. My role has meant a dramatic reduction the hours I work, which in turn has reduced the duration and frequency of physical activity I perform during my 'working week'. A significant proportion of my work is planning and organisation of festivals and competitions which takes place sitting at a desk in front of a screen. When not planning, I am physically active, delivering the festivals and competitions, but this level is nowhere near the intensity or duration in comparison to when I was teaching.
As a consequence I now have to think more carefully about how much I eat, what I eat, how often I move and the duration and intensity of physically activity that I need to do in order to maintain fitness and health.
Now out of teaching, I am slowly adjusting to having my 'evenings' back; I no longer spend hours prepping or marking school work or training to play football. I am however, having to get out and get active in order to maintain a level of fitness and health that I am happy with. I am walking and cycling more often, low-impact activities that are easier on my knees, especially at weekends. I occasionally attend Ballroom & Latin dance classes and play badminton with my daughter. I also hire out our local village hall once/twice a week in order to run an 'informal' fitness/circuits session for locals; working out with others is a great way to 'force you' to take part. I make a conscious effort to climb the stairs two at a time and not sit for too long without getting up and moving, even if it is to make my wife a cup of tea! I try to eat healthy; a whole wheat cereal breakfast, 5/6 pieces of fruit @ day, no fast food or takeaways, no sugar and no alcohol (during the week!).
I don't think I am unfit but, I certainly don't feel as fit and healthy as I used to. I know that this is 'age-related' and I am under no illusion that I can fight off the ageing process. However, as I move towards my mid-fifties, I know I need to eat sensibly and move more often in order to keep myself healthy.