Year of Wellbeing Blog: Sam's story

Everyone has their own story to share about ways they have found to care for their own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of other people.

A team of bloggers have agreed to describe their personal journey. We hope their stories help and inspire others during our Year of Wellbeing.

 

Sam's story...

Year of wellbeing blogger sam

Working for a children's physical activity charity, whilst not being physically active myself.

Am I a fraud?

How is it possible that I, a 45 year old obese woman who has never enjoyed running or playing sports, can be working for a national children’s charity that promotes a physically active lifestyle for kids through running?

How am I able to say to kids that they should be doing a minimum of 60 minutes MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity) a day when I’m not even doing 10 minutes a week? The weekly recommendation for adults is at least 150 minutes.

Well, my demons are very real. I have struggled with the way I feel about myself my entire life, way before I was overweight. But if I can stop just one child from feeling the way I feel I will have made a difference.

I do however still feel like a fraud!

When I was a kid I was never encouraged to take part in sport. Yes I played hockey and netball in PE at school but I wasn’t very good, or maybe I just wasn’t competitive enough or not confident enough. Where I got my fitness and physical activity was dancing; ballet, tap and modern. I loved it, I felt free and alive when I danced.

I stopped dancing when I went to University. I couldn’t afford to pay for the classes and as I had never been encouraged or given a positive experience of sport as a child I didn’t have running as a fall back.

In 2015 I came to work for Kids Run Free whose mission is to maximise the power of running to grow and develop young people, impacting their well-being through physical activity and fun.

I have come to truly believe that running is a life skill. I believe that learning to run is as important as learning to swim.

What do I mean by learning to run? I certainly don’t mean every child should aspire to be an athlete. I mean letting children run for fun and encouraging them to build strength, stamina and confidence. Enjoying the feeling of being free, their heart beating in their chest, being out of breath.

Running is the basis of most sports and children’s playground games. If we teach our children to run and love running they will be able to achieve so much more. I believe that if I had grown up having learned to ‘just run’ with no need for fancy expensive equipment or clothing, just a pair of trainers and some gym kit, I wouldn’t be in the situation I am now.

Think about any toddlers you know. When do you ever see them walk anywhere? As soon as children are on their feet they want to RUN! And what do we do as adults? We tell them to STOP running! When we tell children to stop doing something it is usually because it is dangerous or unkind or naughty. If we constantly tell our children to stop running what message are we actually giving them? When we then want them to run we wonder why they are reluctant to do so.

How often do you hear an adult say: “My child doesn’t like running”, maybe you’ve even said it yourself. The minute we tell them they don’t like something we excuse them from even trying. Your child might not like doing maths or english but you wouldn’t allow them to stop learning those, so why are we so quick to allow our kids to stop moving?

So here I am, the fraud that works for a children’s physical activity charity whilst not being physically active herself. But do you know what? I’m really good at getting kids to run. I will continue to encourage all children to be as physically active as possible no matter their fitness or ability in whatever sport they choose to participate.

I am working on my personal demons, I hope that one day I may have the confidence to run a lap or two with them.

Kids Run Free is signed up to the Coventry and Warwickshire Year of Wellbeing 2019. Join me and make a pledge today to do something for either yourself or for others during 2019 that will increase yours or their wellbeing.

 

About the author

Samantha Young, Chief Operations Officer, Kids Run Free.

Samantha Young grew up in the Warwickshire area before attending University in Liverpool. After achieving a BA Hons degree in drama from Liverpool John Moores University she worked for a short time as an actor before moving into a career in entertainments management where she devised shows and events at visitor attractions. Samantha has for the last four years been working for national children's charity Kids Run Free, based in Leamington Spa. Here she is able to have a positive impact on children’s health and wellbeing on a daily basis by leading on one of the charity's two programmes, Marathon Kids.

 

Click here to find out more about Coventry and Warwickshire's Year of Wellbeing 2019.

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