Do you have health and fitness fatigue? I know I do and I don’t even do any exercise, like ever. I’ve tried since becoming a mother…..lord I have tried, but nothing keeps me motivated and finding the time is impossible. But what if you combined fitness with friendship?

Everywhere we turn our social media feeds are filled with fitness. Muscles/abs/sweat, pictures of healthy food and people pushing their exercise ideals on us. Deep down I admire them, but even deeper there is a distain starting to brew.

I have fitness fatigue, even though I am not fit. Therein may lie the problem, as a busy mum pulled from here to there, fitness is so low on the radar of importance that the more I see pictures of people proudly getting fit, I am reminded of what I push to the bottom of the importance pile, even though I know fitness and health is of the utmost importance. Instead of it inspiring me, I retaliate and either block and delete, judge them, or eat a Tim Tam.

You feeling me here?

So when a good friend who, instead of having food-based catch-ups used to share lovely long walking talks with me (pre-motherhood of course), wrote a piece on fitting in fitness with friendship I was reminded on the right way to get fit.

Jo Bassett of life-coaching site Living Savvy has allowed me to share her musings here.

How to build your wellbeing muscles and healthy friendships.

Exercise can be dismissed as a chore, a burden, a ‘have-to’ or a ‘should’, but for me, it’s an important way to connect to myself and others.

Exercise to connect with yourself

Exercise was my sanity saver when my children were babies. I remember the love, joy and pride I felt during this time. I also recall feeling lonely, isolated and bored. Physical activity was how I kept ‘sane’. With the kids occupied in the pram, I had time to let my thoughts flow with the passing scenery to ponder, wonder and dream. Now I have more opportunities to get out by myself, I still use the time to reflect, problem-solve and plan.

And frankly, I challenge anyone to feel worse after walking in the warm sunshine under a blue sky, or racing black clouds home before a storm hits, or even getting caught in a summer shower. It’s a fast-acting mood changer!

Exercise to connect with your family and friends

It’s fantastic to combine a good workout (a walk or run) with catching up with a friend. A win-win! I do this several times throughout the week and to be honest mostly I would choose moving with my friends over a sit down coffee. My friendship dates look like this:

Sunday – run with my friend Tanya. We have been doing this for close to 15 years. During pregnancy times we adapted, with the pregnant one riding the bike while the other ran, or we converted to an interval session where we would walk together and the one not with child would do a series of sprints or hill runs.

Monday – Boxing class (outdoors so added benefit of fresh air) with Tanya (she is a regular), Sarah, Pete and Stacey. Not a lot of opportunity to talk, instead we share words of encouragement to keep pushing us all to try harder and share important pieces of information as we stretch and head back to our cars.

Friday – Run with my friend Sarah, followed by yoga where again I never know which friend’s face I will see smiling up from their mat.

Exercise to connect with your community

The owners of our local post office watched my children grow from conception, through infanthood and beyond as I walked to the shops each week. And I have loved watching other children grow as their mothers walk or run past my home. Isn’t it wonderful to feel that sense of connection with your local community? I get this feeling of connection through the yoga classes in the village I have been taking for several years. With only a few words, a community is built in these classes. Outside the class when we pass each other we share a smile or a few gentle words of greeting.

Quick tips to make the exercise connection

Choose one solo exercise activity each week where you still challenge yourself physically, but also have space to think about you, your life, and what’s important.

Look for any opportunity to get active with your friends, and if your children can join in or share the space with you that is even better. My children have grown up coming along to classes and joining in when they feel the urge. On Monday afternoons there are several kids running around, kicking balls, riding scooters and bikes and experiencing free play while their mothers sweat it out.

Get moving in your neighbourhood and share a smile or word with someone you pass on the bike path, footpath or road.