How exercising with your mum can strengthen your bond

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we wanted to share this lovely, uplifting story from Asha Gilbert and her mum, Sam. Their story shows us that exercise can in fact be a brilliant way to bond as mother and daughter…

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by Fiona Day |
Published on

Sam, 44, says that it took her time to get back into exercise but becoming more active has made her more confident and happier.

'It’s funny, as there wasn’t a ‘lightbulb moment’ – it just happened naturally. I was taking my son, Alfie, then eight, to the park in August last year with my husband, John, when everything changed. Alfie and John had recently taken up running with parkrun which organises free, weekly 5k runs in local parks. As I was walking out of the front door, I spotted my trainers and decided to join them. I found the run really hard at first, and I walked some of it, but it didn’t matter, as the most important thing was that I did it – and I felt proud.

“It’s this feeling of achievement that keeps me going back for more. I may go for a run and find it hard at first, but I power on through as I know I’ll feel amazing afterwards. And I don’t care what I look like when I’m running. I like it when I get hot and sweaty, and my face goes red, as it shows how hard I’m working. That’s why I’m delighted to be representing women through This Girl Can, because it doesn’t matter what you look like, or how you’re doing it, it’s brilliant that you’re doing something.”

Sam in the #ThisGirlCan campaign
Sam in the #ThisGirlCan campaign

“Exercise has had a tremendous impact on my self-esteem. I used to feel as though I didn’t have the ability to do well at running – I feared that I wouldn’t be as good as other people in the park. Looking back, before I started, I think I was actually a little down. I didn’t realise it at the time, it’s only now that I can spot the difference.”

Since then, I feel as though I’ve come so far. Being part of This Girl Can has enabled me to tell my story – I hope to show that if I can, you can too.

Sam also wanted to instil a healthy love of fitness in her children.

She says: “As a parent, you play a key role in shaping your children’s view of exercise and keeping healthy. That’s why it’s so important to set a good example and instil a healthy love of exercise in your family.

“I used to feel guilty about spending time on myself to exercise, so used to shy away from it. Being a busy mum of three, I thought it was more suited to my younger years, when I didn’t have kids. I couldn’t have been more wrong! In fact, exercising with my family couldn’t be easier. We now go on regular runs together in the park, which is great as it enables us to stay active while spending quality time together.”

Sam and her daughter Asha, 18, now share a love of fitness and even went for a run together on the day she moved away for university.

“I get so excited when Asha comes back from university,” Sam says. “It’s the perfect time for us to catch up as mother and daughter. I love that we can now go out for a run, or take a Zumba class together. Exercise has strengthened our bond and given us another way to spend time together.”

Asha is a student at Brighton University and was inspired by her mum to take up a sport.

Asha feels inspired by her mum's love of fitness

“I think it’s great that my mum has got back into exercise. She has always enjoyed keeping fit and well, as opposed to seeing it as just a way to lose weight.

“I love that we can now workout together – it doesn’t matter if we’re not very good, we’ll get better with time, and we always have such fun doing it.”

Asha continues: “I feel so proud of my mum for no longer caring what other people think. She’s made me realise that we should all feel confident enough to enjoy exercise. The fact that she’s part of This Girl Can to show women that we can all do the same is truly inspiring.”

“On the days leading up to go to university, my mum asked whether I fancied going out for a run. I was a little stressed at the time with all the things I needed to do and get organised. Then, on the day I was due to leave, she popped her head around my bedroom door and asked again. I thought, ‘why not?”

Sport has 'strengthened' Asha and Sam's bond

Now exercising together has enabled Asha and Sam to create memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Asha wants to continue her mum’s legacy when she eventually has children.

“I hope to encourage my children to believe they can achieve anything – just how my mum has done the same for me. As Mother’s Day approaches, I feel so thankful for my mum and everything she’s done for me. She is such a positive role model – she’s proved that if she can, you can too!”

Find out more about how you and your mum can get back into fitness at www.thisgirlcan.co.uk

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