Last year I decided to tackle the Way of the Roses, a 170 mile cycle from the west coast of England to the east coast. With lots of very big hills in between. On Sunday 20th September, I completed the challenge I had set myself, only I can’t say I. We completed the challenge, all 18 of us. You see, what fun would there have been to do it alone? Indeed, I am not so sure if I had done it alone, I, would have had the motivation to see it through or even get to the start point, never mind achieve my goal.
Our journey started in December 2014 when I asked if there were any health visitor colleagues who would undertake this challenge with me as a way of raising funds to support the iHV. What has been really inspiring, is that only a handful of those that said yes, were cyclists. Indeed the majority of us did not even own a bike! So, what motivated 18 non experienced cycling health visitors, with varying degrees of fitness to succeed?
When I asked my colleagues (well friends, because that is what we became), this question, they all said- it was having support, a common bond and a clear goal. One health visitor, Julie, looked back on her journey and said “I remember when I nearly gave up- the first ride out, which was 10 miles on the flat. I was out of breath, I felt wobbly on my bike, and my muscles ached. In fact I had to go lay down when I got home, but the warmth, encouragement and support of the whole group- the YOU CAN DO IT message really inspired and motivated me to keep with it” – Julie, was the one who flew past us all on all the major hills.
Meeting regularly, either physically when we were training, or online, became something we all looked forward to. What started out as an ambition to lose weight, get fit, be more toned, feel healthy (yes there was personal goals, alongside the collective goal of raising money for a fabulous charity) became something so much more. It became self-belief, confidence, trust, friendship, support and fun. I think these things, alongside having a clear goal, were key to our success.
Without exception, all those that took part have said how regular exercise, outside has improved their mental wellbeing, improved sleep, reduced stress and helped them cope better with life on a day to day basis. Being outside with friends appreciating the beautiful world, we all too often forget to see, absolutely lifts the soul (as well as bums, thighs and tums)!
Ready Steady Mums offers women the opportunity to support each other and enjoy the benefits of coming together with a common bond alongside the achievement of personal goals. Whether you walk 1 mile, 5 miles or 10, you will feel part of something bigger. You will also feel better in all sorts of ways.
It is in this same spirit of helping women to transform their mental and physical wellbeing that we formally welcome Ready Steady Mums into the iHV family. This programme provides a challenge each week for mums to gather and walk their way to friendship and fitness.