By Libby Trickett
When mums ask me for advice on how to stay fit and healthy, they often expect me to impart wisdom from my time in the Olympic pool.
While my swimming career has helped shape who I am today, it’s what I’ve learned since retiring and becoming a parent that has become my go-to advice for other mums.
Contrary to popular belief, staying active is not about calorie counting and achieving the perfect figure. It’s certainly important to have a balanced diet and be comfortable in your own skin, but physical activity is, at its essence, is key to being physically and mentally healthy.
After I had my first child, Poppy, I experienced postnatal depression. It was an extremely difficult time for me as I, like many other parents, delicately juggled parenthood with my own mental wellbeing.
It was a challenge no number of swimming laps could prepare me for.
What I discovered during such a trying time in my life is that physical activity, in combination with visits to the GP and talking to a psychologist, is absolutely fundamental to mental health.
Staying active was a crucial part of my healing process and allowed me to work through my issues. Today, it remains an important way for me to stay in a healthy state of mind and be the best mother I can possibly be.
That in itself means staying active is a no-brainer, but the benefits don’t stop there. Just 30 minutes of sport and heart rate raising physical activity per day reduces your risk of heart disease by 35 per cent and around 8 in 10 Australians believe sport brings people together and promotes a sense of belonging.
There’s no need to lose sleep over what you see in the mirror or how many calories are in that muesli bar: keep it simple, find your 30, get active and play sport and you’ll reap the rewards.
Sport Australia have developed the Find Your 30 challenges which has great tips on how you can fit 30 minutes of exercise at home, at work or your local park individually and with your family and friends – check it out at: www.sportaus.gov.au/findyour30/challenge.
You can follow Libby on Instagram: libby_trickett