We’ve recently launched an interview series, aimed at digging a little deeper into how childhood experiences shape the way we feel about exercise in later life. Part research, part entertainment. And also, we just like speaking to interesting people.
I came across Belinda Mountain around the same time that I came across Ash from Fitmom who featured in our last interview, and instantly loved her fresh, real blog. Reading one of Belinda’s blog posts feels like having a great chat with a friend, so I was super keen to connect with her and bring a little piece of her onto Fit Kids! Go and check her out over at Making Mountains and I’m sure you’ll enjoy some time out reading what she has to say too.
As you’ll know if you follow this blog, we’re convinced that through Fit Kids we have the opportunity to shape the way the next generation feel about moving their body every day. We do this by showing them that physical activity is something to do for yourself and to feel great about, no matter what your sporting ability might be.
Tell us about your relationship with exercise today. What kind of exercise do you do? Do you love it? Hate it? Somewhere in-between? How important is it to you?
I’ve always been quite a sporty person. I have memories of being at boarding school and sometimes going from swimming practice straight to tennis and then playing a game of squash with a friend for fun right after that! I’ve always enjoyed exercise but didn’t devote as much time to it in my 20s, as I spent time travelling and living overseas. What I’ve come to realize now is that exercise is vital for my overall happiness and wellbeing. If I don’t exercise I get grumpy! And the fitter I am, the less likely I am to be sick and catch the latest cold or bug.
These days I exercise about five times a week: I do Sweat1000 once or twice a week, a training session with my trainer Ash from Fitmom once a week, yoga once a week and then maybe a 5km run and one other session. I also walk our dogs in Newlands forest a few times a week.
What is your earliest exercise memory?
Haha, not exactly an exercise memory but I remember playing kissing catches with the boys at school and trying desperately to chase this one boy I wanted to kiss. He was much faster than me (and obviously terrified!) so I just kept running and running until I was dripping in sweat – I’m persistent that way.
Do you remember a specific teacher or coach who helped shape how you feel about exercise today?
There wasn’t a specific coach who stands out but I do remember learning valuable life lessons from sport. I used to win all the sprinting races age 10 or so, until a new girl arrived at school and proceeded to beat me in every single race! It was a harsh reality to learn but a sound life lesson: there is always going to be someone better at something than you, and it taught me humility and acceptance.
What is your opinion on the way schools and teachers present exercise to children?
I do think that in some instances they are lacking the fun factor! Especially for boys or girls who sport doesn’t come naturally to – I’m sure this can put them off and affect how they view exercise as adults. I think there is a sport for everyone, for example one little girl may hate team sports but she could grow up to be a brilliant long distance runner. It’s difficult to nurture talent in schools and offer such a wide variety to every kid, so perhaps this should be up to the parent to nurture this.
What do you want your children to feel or believe when it comes to exercise, fitness and sport?
I want my kids to grow up making exercise a part of their lives, not something they HAVE to do and dislike. I believe that having a positive relationship with exercise can often translate into a positive body image too, as they are closely linked. I want my daughter to exercise not to “keep thin” but because it makes her strong and happy. Exercise brings me joy and I want to share that attitude with them, so that they view it similarly when they become adults.
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