Who’s your fitness hero? How my attitude to exercise was formed
Everyday fitness heroes inspire you to set goals, support you to stick to healthy habits, and celebrate your achievements as if they were their own. Who’s your fitness hero?
My father has undeniably shaped my attitude towards exercise. From early primary school, I learned that exercise was just a regular part of the week, and a fun one at that.
Dad volunteered as a time keeper at Little Athletics, and warmly encouraged my brother and I to do our best efforts at the weekly meet that we adored. Despite my highly mediocre achievements, I loved participating and that had so much to do with Dad helping us create scrapbooks of our events and results. The 6th place tickets were saved with just as much pride as the rare 1st places. It was all about giving it a go.
I took it for granted that everyone had active hobbies. My earliest memories involve me tagging along to Dad’s pennant squash games, or walking around golf courses. As soon as I could ride a bike, I would ride alongside Dad while he jogged the neighbourhood, my little legs relieved when he’d push me up the killer hills of the outer East of Melbourne. I’d learn running technique tips and how Dad liked to make a rhythm out of his breathing on long runs.
In our household, we often joked that exercise was the only medicine for a bad mood. If Dad was grumpy, my mother would quietly say “Your father needs to go to gym” and she was right. We also learned that relaxation and exercise went hand in hand, when Dad would sign up to the local gym for two weeks during our family holidays. We never heard the words “have to”, “fat loss”, or “diet” when it came to keeping fit. Exercise as medicine, enjoyment, reward and fun.
It was when I started tagging along to my Dad’s aerobics classes that I was bitten by the bug. I adored the instructor’s routines and music, imagining myself a mini Olivia Newton-John. Although the moves, the tunes and the outfits are now hilariously dated, the spirit of group fitness is much the same. I adored the camaraderie between participants, the natural support and encouragement that emerges, and the passion of the instructors to inspire and inform. I created mix tapes and routines and hoped I’d one day be courageous enough to lead a fitness group.
Decades later, and my Dad is my number one fan in my group fitness classes. In fact, in my brother’s group fitness classes too! His awesome example resulted in both his children becoming fitness professionals. Now in his mid 60’s, my father still sees exercise as rewarding, fun, and medicinal. He can run 15 kilometres, smash out 70 jump squats, and hold a plank for 2 minutes.
I’m incredibly lucky and grateful that my attitude towards exercise was shaped by such a role model.
Who’s your fitness hero? What example will you set for your children, family and friends? Share your early memories of exercise and your thoughts below. Go on, give them some credit and a huge thanks by mentioning them!