Olympic women are great body role models

How refreshing to turn on the TV and see these natural, healthy, super-fit beauties as an antidote to all those perma-tanned, fake, vacuous celebs that we a usually bombarded with?!

Having a young daughter I am very conscious of the pressure on women (and young girls unfortunately) to look ‘perfect’. This is often accompanied by the desire to be famous despite lacking any talent.

These accomplished sportswomen are much better role models – dedicated, hard working, healthy and fit. I will put these women up alongside those that are successful in other disciplines as aspirational figures for my daughter. If only we didn’t have to compete with the media!

She might not even like sports, and that’s ok too, I hated PE at school and didn’t get into fitness until later on. As long as she is happy in her own skin and doesn’t feel those pressures to look like a clone and has her own ambitions and individuality I would have done my job ok.

Inspired to cycle by the Olympic women? Great for pregnancy!

 I have just been reading this article in the Telegraph: Victoria Pendleton inspires British women to get in the saddle

It s great news that women have been encouraged to get on their bikes after watching our fabulous UK women in the velodrome! Contrary to popular belief cycling won’t give you huge thighs (unless you train them to get huge a la Chris Hoy!) In fact cycling will give you great tone in your legs if you do it regularly as it works all the main muscles groups including your quads (front thighs), calfs and glutes (for a peachy bottom – look at Victoria’s!)

If you cycle regularly you will burn calories (and lose weight if that is your goal – maybe as a new mum), improve your cardiovascular fitness, increase your muscles strength and tone and feel fantastic – plus all that fresh air will do you the world of good!

Cycling is a great exercise for pregnancy as your body weight is supported. If you haven’t cycled before then check with your GP or midwife that your pregnancy is low risk, but if you love cycling there is no need to stop. You control the pace and choose the route to suit your stage of pregnancy. You may want to switch to a static bike in the last couple of months if you start to feel unstable (your centre of gravity won’t be what you are used to!) or switch to another activity which isn’t so up close and personal with your (maybe suffering) ladies bits. However, if you cycle to work you’ll probably want to keep going as long as possible to save on bus fares!

The the CTC – the national cyclists’ organisation – gives some great advice:

“Obviously you should minimise the risk of falling off: cut down on those off-road descents and don’t race-train in a pack. Be vigilant about avoiding dehydration and be aware that your joints will be a bit more elastic due to changes in collagen, so take note of any joint pain.

Some general hints include:

  • Accommodate a big belly by raising the handlebars and perhaps temporarily fitting a taller stem.
  • If changes in posture are a pain in the butt, try a wider, more padded saddle.
  • In the later stages, be aware that your heart and lungs are working harder than usual. If you’re too out of breath to talk, slow down.
  • You may need to fit lower gears to the bike, or walk the hills.
  • Use well-padded gloves and shift your hand positions frequently, as you’ll be resting more weight on your wrists.”

In summary – there are so many benefits to staying fit and healthy in pregnancy including more endurance and energy for labour and birth. If you can keep yourself active and mobile you will feels loads better. Just always remember to listen to your body and stop if anything doesn’t feel right. Apart from that – on yer bike!!

ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET. NO EXCUSES. SHOULD BE LAW.