I love hearing about ways that get people active while also connecting them to their communities.
I enjoy running or walking with friends much more than on my own, mostly because of the conversation. It’s my time to catch up and connect with my friends, to see what is happening in their lives and to workshop any concerns any of us might be having. You can cover a lot of topics in an hour.
Having this time with my friends and also to do some exercise has been of great importance to my physical health as well as my mental health since having kids.
Last week I spoke to two mothers who found it tough to get out and exercise after starting families.
They wanted to inspire others out there who might be finding the same struggle to get active.
One, New FM radio personality Mel Sargeant, has opened a family friendly yoga space called The Ohana Room in Cardiff.
And the other, Juliane Wisata, has started a women’s only mountainbike ride at Awaba.
Both conversations I had with Juliane and Mel resonated with me.
“When I had my baby I felt really isolated because there are a couple of places where you can put your baby in the creche but the hours are really limited and you’ve got to get there at a certain time,” Sargeant told me.
“I just basically pretty much couldn’t do yoga any more, only a couple of times a week … I thought there must be other mums, or even dads, like me.”
But what she also found was that she needed it.
“For the last couple of years I’ve really used it a lot for my mental health, for clearing my mind ... I call it my yoga fix, like I need it to cope with everything else,” she said.
She drew inspiration from some CrossFit classes she went to where kids could come and be in the background of the workout.
“I thought maybe I could do the same for yoga,” Sargeant said. “I did my teaching certificate, and to be honest … you see those pictures on instagram with people doing impressive bends, but that’s not me.
“I am not impressive in the yoga stakes but what I wanted was to create a community whereby people could come and bring their babies and we could do our yoga together.”
Wisata has been organising mountain bike riding events since 2008 and told me part of the reason she developed Diamonds in the Dirt women’s only ride was to motivate herself.
“The mental part [of riding] was as important as the physical part,” she said. “It took a couple of months before I was even to separate myself from my baby … But when you do and you have that me time, I feel like you come back stronger and more patient and with more energy.”
Diamonds in the Dirt is on September 9. It is a timed event around a 6km looped track and is open to individuals or teams.
Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. firstname.lastname@example.org.