A flexitol product review and competition

If only our feet could stay like these gorgeous, baby-soft ones.

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Aren’t these just the cutest?

It’s a pity that neither cute, baby-soft nor gorgeous are words that can be used to describe most adult feet. Especially those of us who run.

I’m sure like me many of you have experienced blisters, calloused skin and blackened toe nails.

I’m certainly not as good as I should be at caring for my feet, so was delighted when Flexitol kindly sent me one of their products to try and the chance for a reader to win a product for themselves.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been using Flexitol Hard Skin and Callus Balm. The product recommends applying twice daily to any areas of hard skin on the feet.

I’ve not been very good at remembering to apply twice a day but at least I’ve been paying more attention to my feet than usual.

The cream is non-greasy and easily absorbed and I have noticed that some of the tough skin around my heels and toes is a little softer. It feels lovely to be giving my poor feet a bit of a treat.

I still have a long way to go before my feet resemble those of a new baby, but more regular moisturising is a good first step towards caring for my feet.

In addition to regular moisturising these are some other ways that runner’s and all those staying physically active can look after their feet:

  • Ensure that shoes fit well.
  • Keep toe nails trimmed short
  • Wear suitable socks – preferably made of breathable material
  • Increase milage gradually

If you’d like a chance to WIN a Flexitol heel balm you can enter via Rafflecopter below. There are  various ways to enter, either via Twitter or by commenting on this blog post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note I was kindly sent these flexitol products for the purposes of an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Running after having a baby

Returning to running after a baby: Account of a gentle year of regaining fitness

About a year ago I was sat in a similar position on my sofa searching the internet about returning to running after having a baby.

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During my research I read several helpful posts, but really enjoyed personal accounts of women who had returned to running after their baby. I loved reading individual stories that inspired me.

My writing here may not inspire but is a simple and genuine reflection on my year of gentle running after my second baby.

I’d been given advice by my GP at my 6 week check, and also a physiotherapist, that running (high impact exercise) is not usually recommended until 12 weeks after delivery. I also had some pelvic floor complications so was advised to take it really easy until 6 months.

By the time my little boy was 3 months old, I was keen to get my trainers back on. I’d not been able to exercise at all during my pregnancy due to severe morning sickness so knew I was going to have to take it really easy.

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Running three months after delivery:

At 3 months post delivery (to the day) I set out on my first tentative post-baby run. I’d thoroughly ‘googled’ the topic and felt armed with the essential information. I knew the importance of correct support for breast-feeding and opted to wear not one, but two, super-supportive sports bras; I meticulously planned my run around sleep/feed times (my babies and my own); Ensured my bladder was empty right before set off.

After all this preparation I ran (or rather gently jogged) for a grand total of 5 minutes.

A very short and drama-free jog, but one during which I appreciated the precious minutes to myself, and was incredibly thankful that my core and pelvic muscles had recovered sufficiently to enable the start of a return to fitness.

Over the next three months, I ran maybe once or twice a week for a maximum of twenty minutes at a time and at no more than 70% effort. Like a lot of women I found my pelvic floor wasn’t as strong after my second baby. In these early months I spent a lot more time on pelvic floor and core exercises than running.

Core abdominal exercises after baby

Running six months after delivery

At around 6 months old my little boy was breastfeeding frequently over night and although my pelvic floor and core were feeling stronger, I was tired. My running pattern remained a gentle jog once or twice a week.

Running nine months after delivery

I ran a couple of 5k park runs and finally felt confident enough to rejoin my running club.

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Running one Year after delivery

It took a whole year to get close to my previous level of fitness and finally managed to run 5k in around 25 minutes.

Running fourteen months after delivery

I’d finished breastfeeding and inspired by some of my amazing friends, who had run half and full marathons after their babies, I singed up to a couple of 10k runs completing in times of 49.53 and 51.48.

I am looking forwards to a half marathon next month.

I am not a super-serious or particularly fast runner, but it is something that makes me feel happier, more confident and re-energised. If you’re thinking about running after pregnancy do chat to your GP at your 6 week postpartum check. Although time (and sleep) are often in short supply as a parent, it is possible to regain fitness, or even to think about physical fitness for the first time.

If you’d like some more inspiration have a little look at these two wonderful Mums, one of whom started running for the first time after her second baby and the other who regained fitness after a difficult twin pregnancy.

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Exercise has many benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing. Of course it doesn’t have to be running, NHS choices has some excellent information about recommended amounts of cardiovascular and muscle strengthening exercise.

Other Articles about Running after Pregnancy:

  • Runner’s World:  A list of activities to start each week after delivery beginning with pelvic floor exercises, adding in some strength training and starting some gentle running after 8 weeks.

Although some people may be thinking about return to running after 8 weeks, the advice I received advice from my GP and physiotherapist that running is not usually recommended until 12 weeks after delivery.

  • NHS: Sensible advice from NHS choices about fitness and health as a new parent

Healthy strawberries

Mami 2 Five

Half Marathon Training Plan – busy Mum style

‘That sounds pretty’ I thought as I happily clicked to enter a half marathon that is routed around the Northumberland castles.

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A couple of weeks later I realised that being beautiful doesn’t detract from it being 13.1 miles.

I do run regularly, a few short runs during the week, but my maximum distance is usually around 6miles; An hour seeming to be a justifiable time for Mummy to be off duty. 

  
I’d like to find some more time to train. I’ve had a little look in my pockets, under the bed and behind the sofa. I found several coins, a lost hair band and several bits of duplo. No more time.

More sensible I looked for a bit of spare time in my mornings (Really?? getting up voluntarily before the children?), Lunchtimes (not really a discrete entity in my job) and evenings (full of bedtimes, household jobs and not infrequently work but realistically most practical for my training). 

Time still feels in fairly short supply. So I started researching half marathon training plans in the hope of finding the most time efficient way of training for a half marathon.

  
These are some of the key things I have learnt about half marathon training plans.

  • There are a huge variety of plans easily found on the internet. These range from schedules aimed at someone who has never run before; To more serious plans for runners aiming to complete a half marathon in under 1 hour 30 minutes. 
  • Half marathon training schedules recommend running anywhere from 3 to 6 times a week depending on the experience and aim of the runner. 
  • Most schedules suggest training for a minimum of 8 weeks, more usually around 12 weeks (phew just starting in time!) 
  • Most half marathon training plans involve one longer run that gets progressively longer week by week. So you might start running 3miles the first week and add a mile or two each week up to around 12 miles a couple of weeks before the race.
  • The last long run or two before the race should be a shorter distance. So realistically over the course of 3 months, you probably only need around 5 runs of longer than an hour.
  • There are many running training techniques designed to improve running fitness and speed without spending hours running at a consistent pace.

TEMPO RUNNING: This refers to running at a constant speed at a ‘comfortably hard’ pace or ‘8 out of 10’ on the effort scale for a defined set of time.

SPEED WORK: For example hill repeats, track work or fartleck training. 

I am still by no means an expert but I realise that it should be possible to train for a half marathon by running 2 or 3 times in the week for 30-45 minutes with one longer run at the weekend.

  
I’ve made a collection of schedules of Pinterest and then picked one of my favourites. I have now simplified it into something that looks achievable for me; three shortish runs in the week and a longer weekend run, with ideally a bit of Pilates thrown in at some point:  

 

WEEK DAYS

WEEKEND
WEEK Day 1 (30-60 min) Day 2 (30 min) Day 3 (30 min) Bonus (30-60min) Long Run
1 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 3 miles
2 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 5 miles
3 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 6 miles
4 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 6 miles
5 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 8 miles
6 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 8 miles
7 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 9 miles
8 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 10 miles
9 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 12 miles
10 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 12 miles
11 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle 6 miles
12 Easy Run Tempo Run Speed work Pilates/Cycle

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I’m currently two weeks into training and needless to say my weekly running has not been quite as structured as this schedule; it has still provided a realistic framework and more importantly plenty of motivation. 

If you are busy and wondering about training for a half marathon I hope this might give you some ideas for fitting training around a packed shedule. Do have a look at my Pinterest site for lots more inspiration. 

I’d love to hear from you if you have any half marathon training tips; especially any for fitting training amongst the chaos of a busy life. 

Happy to be linking this post here;


Mums' Days

Fitness Friday

What does a runner look like?

‘You look like a runner’

Said someone to me when I mentioned how much I’d enjoyed taking part in the Race for Life recently.

Well of course I took this as a compliment because, although not a serious runner by many standards, it is something I enjoy.

It was a light-hearted comment from a friend, I’m sure meant as a way of providing further encouragement.

Later I thought a little more; I wonder if perhaps I also automatically took the comment positively because a large proportion of the media would have us believe that this is what a runner looks like:

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To clarify I do not look like this, especially not when I’m running. My cheeks tend to take on a more beetroot hue for a start.

At the time the comment was made I was not running, but looking after my two children, and wearing my usual jeans and casual top.

What if someone had said I look like a Mum? Well in the context of playing with my children at the park I would assume it was a fairly factual statement of observation.

But what if such a comment was received when dressed up to go out for a nice dinner. I might assume I’d made a bad job of hiding circles under my eyes, or errrmm removing the green face paint.

I was a tiger apparently. It had green stripes and glitter spots.

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Interestingly I’m not sure that ‘looking like a Mum’ would always be taken positively. This is probably a whole blog post in itself, but in reality the appearance of a Mum has no bearing on parenting ability.

And so it should really be the same for a runner, outside of the arena of elite athletics, a particular physique, does not equate to the enthusiasm or ability of a runner.

I might hope that whilst out for a run I do in fact look like a runner (as well as a beetroot perhaps). As would anyone else out for a jog with a pair of trainers.

Pottering around soft play or covered in green face paint I assume I look more like a Mum (or a green tiger I suppose).

The context gives a way a bit about a person, but body shape and physique are not usually a successful way of making assumptions about health. A point I have made previously when writing about ‘The Dad Bod’ 

So it was with delight that I heard about Women’s Running magazine. The front cover this month featured a gorgeous plus-size model running. You can also see photos of her here and here.

There are many people who run with a wide variety of body shapes and sizes. They are all runners.

Some might start running with the hope of loosing weight. It certainly can be a successful way of burning calories which may lead to weight loss. However, physical activity has many benefits over and above loosing weight, including benefits to emotional and mental wellbeing.

Everyone should be encouraged to be active, and I believe this front cover of the Women’s Running magazine, is likely to inspire more women to run.

Regardless or size, shape, speed or clothing choice, if you go out for a run you are going to look like, but more importantly, actually be a runner.  

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If you would like to start running the couch to 5k plan is a great way to get started. 

30 Second Summary: A runner is anyone who goes out for a run. Physique does not determine a runner’s ability or enthusiasm (Excluding elite athletes)

What do you think? Do you think the cover of the Women’s running magazine is providing a positive message or promoting an unhealthy body mass index?

Fitness Friday

How to be healthy?

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I’d best be honest. I’m not actually going to tell YOU how to be healthy.

I might advocate how ‘people’ in general can seek to be healthy. I might discuss how try to be healthy.

In my professional life I certainly try to optimise the health of my individual patients

BUT here on the internet I cannot really tell YOU how to be healthy.

This is an important topic to address at the moment in the blogging world.

The Internet is full of a mixture of fantastic health resources, and as the revelations a little while ago about wellness blogger Belle Gibson show, some dubious health claims.

Clearly there should be no room for downright lies or deliberately misleading claims.

In addition, whilst there is a huge amount of evidence about things that optimise the health of populations; exercise and a balenced diet for example. Being ‘healthy’ is to a certain extent unique to us as individuals.

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Here is why:

What is health?

Once upon a time health simply meant the absence of disease. As a doctor it is still easy to fall into this pattern of thinking. If a patient does not have an illness – they must therefore be healthy. As Richard Smith writes in an excellent BMJ blog on this question:

‘doctors are interested in disease, not in health’

 

Although a little blunt to be wholly true, there are many public health physicians and GPs who invest lots of time on health promotion, I fully agree that many of us are focussed on the diagnosis and management of illness.

However,  in 1948 the World Health Organisation produced a radical new definition of health:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.

 

I am rather fond of this definition. I value the holistic approach involving both emotions and social well-being in addition to physical health. Unfortunately, if we aspire to this definition, most of us are, at least a little bit unhealthy, a lot of the time.

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Recently there has been a new definiton of health proposed.

The ability to adapt and self manage in the face of social, emotional and physical challenges.

 

This statement empowers us as individuals to have a greater control over our health.  It recognises that all of us will face some challenges; complete wellbeing is not held as the pinnacle of health. Importantly this definition also allows those with a chronic illness or disability to be defined as healthy.

As a parent I have had physial changes to my body as a result of childbirth; hormones, sleep deprivation and the incessant parental responsibility present some emotional challenges; the undjustment to new social circumstances is initially unsettling.

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Not huge challenges, but I continue to try to adapt to these new circumstances, to maintain my health.

So how to be healthy?

I cannot tell you exactly how to be healthy, but the good news is you can choose for yourself. You can decide how you would like to manage your own wellbeing and how to prioritise the three different aspects of health, depending on your unique circumstances.

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Of course aspiring to health does not prevent disease. Any of us could at any time become physically or mentally unwell. I can only hope to adapt and self manage to whatever challenges the future might hold and remember that health is so very precious.

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For Everyone Involved in the Race for Life

Dear Everyone involved in the Newcastle Race for Life 2015,

I shouted ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ to as many of you as I could yesterday but with so many people attending the Race for Life, Newcastle, it wasn’t really enough. That and the fact that I was only just wheezing it, probably inaudibly, from about 2km into the 10k run.

So I thought I would write to everyone involved as well.

It started off personal, doing this Race for Life. A challenge to my post-baby fitness to run 10k as fast as I could and then get round the 5k course. A personal way to remember my 3 grandparents and sister-in-law taken by various forms of cancer. More positively to celebrate my cousin surviving 5 years cancer free after her breast cancer diagnosis in her late 20s.

An opportunity with the incredibly support of my generous family and friends to raise a bit of money for cancer research.

It turns out to have been so much more than that.

I wanted to say such a huge congratulations to everyone who made it round the course.

You were all amazing.

Those of you who sprinted round in 20-odd minutes and those who made it round in well over an hour.

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The time and the ‘race’ didn’t actually reflect how incredible you all were. What you really achieved was to take your experiences of sadness, suffering, sorrow or survival and turning them into something positive.

So many of you had signs on your backs telling us why you were running. I read as many of them as I could. Some still make me tear up:

‘For myself’

‘For everyone still fighting’

‘For my Mam’

‘For my Dad who beat cancer. And my baby sister who didn’t’

‘For a world where my one year old daughter can grow up without fear of cancer’

So many stories. So much motivation to raise money for further cancer research.

I’ve never been anywhere surrounded with so much sadness and positivity at the same time.

At the start you all stood in silence for a minute remembering your personal reasons for running. I stood there too, and joined in with some of your tears.

THEN

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There was an explosion of pink shiny ribbons. Minutes later there was a sea of awesome ladies in pink, a few with tutus and fairy wings, bopping to the warm up music.

Fabulous.

So congratulations to you all if you were part of this. Your stories were heartbreaking and inspiring. Your running, jogging, walking and dancing with such motivation a privilege to have been a part.

To the organisers, volunteers and supporters a huge thank you too. This incredible event could not have taken place without you. You made what could have been a difficult trek round many kilometres feel fun. Your enthusiasm actually made me smile at 8km into my run. I don’t think ANYTHING else has ever achieved this.

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Thank you so much everyone at the Race for Life, I think half a million pounds were raised in Newcastle over this weekend for further cancer research!
Have you ever been involved in a Race for Life? I’d love to read any of your comments.

Please note I was a little carried away with everything on the day and did not take a single picture. So please forgive these posed ones taken on my return home. I am quite clearly not a fitness model, and did not think to shower or fix my hair post-run, but was very proud to be wearing my new T-shirt!

I’m delighted to be able to share this post with #fitnesstuesday at http://www.fitness4mamas.com And here

#BloggingToJogging

The end of Juneathon and the discovery that I have been running naked.

It would have been easy to miss my participation in Juneathon, a challenge to exercise everyday in June and record it via social media.

There has been a conspicuous absence of blog posts, but on the plus side actually quite a lot of exercise. I increased the number and type of home workouts I usually do during the month, although not their duration. Most of my exercises take only 10 minutes and I rotated mainly between arm and core workouts with a bit of Pilates.

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To any serious fitness enthusiasts this probably doesn’t sound like a terribly impressive month of exercise. To me, a Mum of two little ones under three, it has felt like an amount that has improved my strength, speed and stamina, being practically achievable without becoming a burden.

Did I exercise every day? Well ermm no. I think I averaged 3 short home workouts a week, not a great result for the Juneathon challenge, but again for real life purposes is probably a little more attainable.

I continued running as normal aiming for 3 times a week.

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I say continued as normal. Actually I fairly major change happened in the last week of Juneathon when I decided to no longer run naked.

I only discovered this phrase fairly recently. It turns out I have been running naked for most of my life.

No; of course I don’t mean I’ve accidentally managed to potter around in the nude wearing only my trainers. Naked running involves heading out for a jog without the use of any technology.

I’m obviously behind the times. Up until last week I simply put on my trainers a couple of times a week and then decided if I wanted to take any music. Often I didn’t.

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In my busy, noisy life running has been about a bit of peaceful time to myself. I know, I know, perhaps running doesn’t sound peaceful to you, but it really IS.

Especially around here, especially late in the evening or early in the morning.

However, as I explained in my last post in two weeks I will be running a 10k Race for Life in memory of my sister-in-law and to raise money for cancer research. To add to the pressure as soon as I finish I’ll be starting again to run the 5k circuit.

This has been the motivation required to finally take running a little more seriously and to start timing and pacing myself properly.

I worked out how to down load an app onto my phone. After 1km I received a little electronic equivalent of a cheer, announcing my time, distance and pace. AMAZING. I realise for most runner’s it is probably incomprehensible that I have never done this before, but apart from the odd park run, running has never really been about times, personal bests or races.

The little announcements from my phone continued and motivated me and I’m now reassured I will complete the race next week in time to start the next.

So overall I am glad to have taken part in Juneathon, however tenuously. I can definitely feel an improvement in more core strength, which as regular readers of my blog will know, is particularly important to me after having a serious diastasis recti

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Discovering how to use technology to pace my runs has given me increased confidence about my up-coming 10k run and incredibly seems to have knocked around a minute and a half off my 5k time too.

So although technically I have completely failed to exercise daily, much less blog about it, overall I’m going to take it as a month of success.

More importantly it has been fun. And really that is even more important than just focusing on fitness. Health is a balance between physical, emotional and social wellbeing so on the days I choose to relax, spend time with my friends or simply sit on the sofa I’m going to claim that was all in the name of a healthy balance.

Well that’s my excuse anyway…..

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For completeness here is as much of a record about my participation in Juneathon as I can piece together:

I have a good record of my first week  here.

day 8: Pilates workout

day 9: Turned up at my running group only to find it wasn’t on due to a popular local race. Pottered off sadly on a little run of my own.

day 10: No record

day 11: Pull ups

day 13: 15 min abs workout

day 14: Arm work out

day 15: No record

day 16: Run of unknown distance

day 17: long walk with double buggy

day 18: Pull ups

day 19: Standing abs workout

day 20: 5k park run

day 21: Arm workout including pushup challenge

day 22: Abs workout

day 23: Running club

day 24: 40 min walk with double buggy

day 25: No idea!

day 26 – nothing

day 27: 10k run

day 28: planks and pull-ups

day 29: 5k run

day 30: Standing abs workout

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I’m sharing this post with #bloggingtojogging over at the lovely blog http://www.Buddingsmiles.co.uk

Challenges, Cancer and Charity

Just over 18 months ago my sister-in-law died from ovarian cancer.

A fairly blunt sentence with which to start tonight’s blog, but the sadness cannot really be disguised with any prettier wording. She was kind, gentle and so very young.

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In two weeks time I will be taking part in the Race for Life, raising money for Cancer Research UK. I don’t need to write more on this difficult subject to explain why this cause is close to my heart.

I am actually a little apprehensive as I have decided to run the 10k distance. Over the last few months as I have gained confidence and strength I have been regularly running (read jogging slowly) distances of around 10k.  I have never taken part in a formal race.


The reason I’m vague about the exact distance covered on my longer weekend runs; I simply take my trainers and music and then run without measurements or timings. I usually run for the peace, personal space and perhaps a small hit of endorphins.

Attempting to race a 10k distance feels altogether more daunting. 5k is short enough for me to run with the aim of achieving the best time I can, although my sub-25 personal best is still frustratingly out of reach. A half marathon is long enough, for me personally, to feel finishing regardless of the time, is satisfying.

10k is sort of in between.

Of course the Race for Life is relaxed, participants are encouraged to run, walk or dance their way around. Whilst I quite like the idea of breaking into a boogie mid-run, I have to get finish in just over an hour. Exactly an hour and 30 minutes after I start the 10k race I begin another 5k run accompanied by my lovely niece and sister-in-law.

Despite the apprehension, I’m delighted to have the chance to compete a personal challenge, and even more excited to experience a 5k circuit with my extended family. We will have fun, we will wear pink, you never know we might even have a dance.

And of course at times we might be sad.

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Most importantly the money that we raise will be used for further cancer research.

I’m sharing this post with fitness Tuesday over at the inspiring blog fitness 4 mamas) 

This Mum Can – Get Fit After Difficult Pregnancies 

I’m having such a great time writing this new blog feature.

It’s wonderful to see pictures and collect stories from parents who, despite various challenges, are making fitness part of their lives. I do hope it also might inspire anyone else reading in the same way as it helps to motivate me.

This week I’m celebrating lovely and very active Mum, Carla. She has three boys and had two difficult pregnancies.

This is a picture of her pregnant with her twins.

She has kindly let me share her photos and a few words of encouragement for all parents about the fact she managed to regain fitness despite the challenges of her pregnancies.

These current pictures of her are wonderful. Not only does she find time to exercise regularly despite her full time job and three boys, but she also often runs with the kids and her husband. Exercise and training are fun family activity for them all.

I love this photo of them all at the local athletics track. Not only are Carla and her husband enjoying training and running for themselves, they are also being great examples for their children.

Below is another version of the same photo, but with what I think is another really important message of encouragement.

As Carla explained she had a tough time through her pregnancies but despite the challenges has regained her fitness.

If she can do it after her twin pregnancy I should certainly keep going with my efforts at the running club. If you’re reading and wondering if its possible for you too, well of course it is! You CAN get back to fitness.

Thank you Carla so much for letting me share these photos and your story.

How healthy is the Dad Bod?

The Dad Bod

The ‘Dad Bod’; the Internet is abuzz about it.

Apparently the term has been used by teenagers for  years, but only last month entered mainstream usage. This was a result of student, Mackenzie Pearson, in Clemson University,  writing for her college website an article ‘Why Girls Love The Dad Bod’ 

Essentially Pearson writes the ‘Dad Bod’ is not about having a chiselled six pack but rather a figure that says:

‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily at weekends and enjoy eating right slices of pizza at a time’

So should we be celebrating this body type?

In her article Pearson dwells very much on the pros of the aesthetics of this figure type.

As a women and a wife I’m going to keep my opinions about this between me and my Mr Dad with a Bod; who incidentally does not like the term.

As a doctor I’m not interested in appearances but rather what a body type might mean for an individual’s health.

Pearson goes onto say in a later interview that the man with the ‘Dad Bod’ just looks like your average healthy guy

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A healthy looking Guy?

Defining health is complex, so I’ll content myself with using the current definition from the World Health Organisation:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

How does this fit with the ‘Dad Bod’?

In my reading, no-one has said it explicitly, but part of the appeal of this figure is that it appears to belong to someone who has a good balance between these three aspects of health; the physical, social and emotional.

To paraphrase Peasrson, the man with a ‘Dad Bod’ looks as if he cares for his physical health by exercising at least occasionally; emotionally, he’s not that hung up on his appearance or adhering to a strict ‘health regime’ and he looks as if he has a fun social life.

I am definitely an advocate for health encompassing these three important domains.

However, Mr ‘Dad Bod’  I can’t really tell much about your health by your appearance. How you look does not tell me anything about your emotions or social life. I have no idea if you have a good body image, just because you have an average build. Just as I cannot guess how much you enjoy pizza. Or alcohol for that matter.

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In fact I cannot even make the assumption that you are physically healthy from your body type.

I might be able to make a rough gauge of your body mass index by looking at you, but that is about it.

Body mass index is a calculation of weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared. A healthy body mass index is generally between 18.5-25.

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So Mr ‘Dad Bod’ even if I assume you conform to the outlined definition of your physique what might this mean for your health? 

Well I’m all for you eating the occasional pizza if it’s good for your emotional and social wellbeing but be careful to keep an eye on your BMI especially when you reach for that seventh or eighth slice.

Then Mr ‘Dad Bod’ I’d like to know how much you actually drink; the Royal College of Physicians recommends no more than 21 units per week for men, with 2-3 alcohol free days to recover after drinking.

I’m afraid according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre Statistics from 2014, among men who had drunk alcohol in the preceding week, 55% drunk more than the recommended daily amount.

So if you ‘drink heavily’ on the weekends I suspect you may be over doing it. You are not advised to regularly drink more than 3-4 units per day.

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Then there’s your exercise. How much does ‘going to the gym occasionally’ really mean? As an 19-64 year old guy you should be doing at least 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week, in addition to twice weekly muscle strengthening activities.

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Perhaps I am taking Mr ‘Dad Bod’ a little too seriously, after all as I suggested earlier he doesn’t really exist.

At work I am taught to use visual clues to about a person’s health right from the start of an examination. But in real life we can sometimes make assumptions based on physical appearance all too easily.

Essentially it is unhelpful to label a person according to physique. We are all individuals.

So the current internet obsession with the ‘Dad Bod’ may have given a few men the confidence to strut their bodies via Instagram. A bit of fun and a bit of body positivity is a good thing.

But ultimately, despite Person’s summary description, we cannot rely on this to tell anything useful about an individual’s emotional, social or physical wellbeing.

The outward appearance a ‘Dad Bod’ or any other physique does not actually tell me anything that really matters to me; either professionally about their health, or personally about the man behind the bod.

The Twinkle Diaries
Fitness 4 Mamas