Aspiring for an Active Family Life!
Posted: Mon, 13 Jan 2020 19:00
When I was asked to write the monthly blog for January, initially I struggled to think of a topic that I could write about with passion and conviction. Whilst I have been a member of the Northamptonshire Sport team now for 6 years, my background is different to many of my colleagues. Nearly 10 years ago, I graduated from the University of Northampton a relatively fresh-faced 21 year old with a BA (Hons) in Primary Education with a specialism in Maths. I never had any aspiration to work in School Sport or Sports Development but three and a half years later in 2013, I took up the role of School Sport Development Officer and since then I have been fortunate enough to become School Sport Manager, a role I love and have held for the past 2 years.
The other changes in my life during that time, I became a father to two beautiful children – Poppy, 8, and Max, 2 – and like any children, they are born with an instinctive desire to be active and move around. With the job that I do, I spend each day trying to improve the opportunities available to children to be physically active both in and outside of the school and this is something that translates into my home life. From the age of 2, Poppy has been involved in gymnastics and soon after, she picked up swimming and tried a short period at a Street Dance school. Fast forward 6 years, and you can add trampolining, cricket, basketball, Brownies and a second gymnastics club to that list. Max, on the other hand, has recently picked up gymnastics on a Friday morning. Variety is the fruit of life and giving them the chance to try a range of sports is something that I think is important in them finding their sport/activity for life. The challenge for me has been and still is, how do I keep physically active when most evenings are filled with events and competitions as well as the dreaded club-runs? Do I prioritise my active life or my children's?
A few years back, I attended a Back to Rugby programme run in the summer months. I really enjoyed this and I carried on at the club, playing for another couple of years but as many people are aware, team sports tend to require a lot of commitment – training twice during the week and a match taking up most of Saturday. This was manageable when Poppy was young but as she got older, started school and going to her clubs and my evening work commitments picked up. It became harder and harder to do what I wanted to do. As a result, I started to miss the odd training session, the odd game until it became a habit and at the end of the season, I never went back. I look back now and wish I had carried it on but life moves on, priorities change and it is just the case that such a formal sport structure doesn't work for me whilst the children are still young. My hope was to try to keep up my interest in rugby and take up some casual sessions of Touch Rugby. The reason why it hasn't happened – it clashes with Poppy's gymnastics!
So, in order to combat my ever increasing inactivity, I have tried to be inventive with my time. I am not a natural runner – it is not something that inspires or excites me – but I decided to give Couch to 5K a go and complete my runs in dead spaces of the day – arriving early to an event I am running or whilst I would be sat in the car or parents room during one of the club runs. I found this great as it meant that every run was different - it would be in the morning one day and the afternoon the next, it might be around a nice rural village or it might be taking in the one of the great green spaces in and around Northampton. It also meant I wasn't having to pick myself up at the end of a long day and force myself to run on a cold, dark winter's night after dinner when all I want to do is sit down and watch the TV. Currently, I am stuck on Week 4 of C25K and now that the Christmas holidays are over and the usual routine kicks in, this is something that I will pick back up and continue.
Outside of the clubs, we are trying to pick up the amount of activity we do at the weekend. Max now has a bike trailer which helps us to get out altogether as a family. He certainly likes being ridden around! We will also take Barkley, our Westie for a walk around Harlestone Firs most weekends which has helped as well even if he does need a wash afterwards every time.
Now that 2020 has begun, my activity aims and aspirations are to complete a parkRun, take part in an obstacle 5K race and to soon get back into some sort of rugby. Here's to a (hopefully) active year!