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New Year’s resolutions create such unique opportunities for change. If you are among those who have decided to do more physical exercise, know that it is necessary to learn to integrate sports in your routine. Jennifer Heil, Olympic Medalist and now a full-time mom reveals the realities of physical activity and concrete ways to integrate sport in your daily life.

By Jennifer Heil, in collaboration with The Globe and Mail

I am at risk of becoming inactive.

As an Olympic athlete, I never thought it could happen to me. While making the transition from an athlete’s life to motherhood, I realized that it was difficult to be sufficiently active on a regular basis when you are new mom. New mothers are most at risk of becoming physically inactive.

Science demonstrates that there are two main causes for the decline in physical activity levels during a person’s existence. The first is motherhood: up to 50% of previously active women become inactive during the transition to motherhood. The second concerns the aging of men and women around 65 years old.

After motherhood, most women do not return to their previous level of physical activity. This is a major concern not only for the individual health of these women, but also because the parents’ activity level will have a considerable influence in determining the activity level of their children. Physical activity is essential at all stages in life. It preserves mental health, reduces the risk of chronic diseases and helps maintain physical and psychological endurance necessary to meet the demands of daily life.

My current mandate is far from the one I had when I was an Olympic athlete and I would spend 30 hours a week in training. Today, in order to save time, I aim for quick and high intensity workouts. I aim for 40 minutes of high intensity training three days a week, and 40 minutes of interval training once a week. The pleasure one experiences when practicing a physical activity is the strongest motivator. First and foremost we must consider this aspect in the determination of the objectives.

Although my new fitness goals are modest, there was a time when I was unable to meet them. By working out at home on a stationary bike or with the Nike Training Club app, which requires no equipment, I managed to exercise despite my busy schedule. My workouts have a positive impact: they allow me to sleep well, to be more focused at work, to have more energy and to manage my emotions well in my everyday life.

Understanding that physical activity is a real challenge for new mothers, as well as identifying the obstacles while being realistic about the goals, is the key to successfully integrate sport into our daily life.



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