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Thoughts on exercise by Silke from Nourish to Thrive

Silke Thistlewood is an awarding winning local businesswoman, with not just one, but three businesses Nourish To Thrive, The Massage Practice and Raise Up Business Club, if you’re local you may know her. 

She has a great attitude to exercise.  I think It’s really inspiring and so I wanted to capture it and share it with you all, as I’m sure her experiences are pretty common.   

The key things that stand out for me are:

  • Just because you’ve had a previous negative experience with exercise doesn’t mean it’s not for you.  Don’t label yourself, everyone can enjoy moving their bodies.

  • There are a huge variety of ways to move your body, there is not a right or a wrong way.  Your relationship with exercise is likely to evolve at different times of your life.  Sometimes you might like high intensity and sometimes more mindful and low impact movement is what you need. 

  • It’s never too late to start.  Think about what you want to be able to do it in 30 years time.  The sooner you start, the more likely you will be able to function and move well into older age.

I’m sure many women can relate with what Silke has to say.   I think it’s really important to share stories like Silke’s and show that our relationship with exercise is a complex one.  If we recognise the ups and downs and normalise these, then I’m sure we would all have a much more sustainable and enjoyable fitness journey.   

Fitness is about much more than fat loss and looking good.

What is your relationship with exercise like and how has it evolved over the years?

When I was younger I labelled myself as someone who wasn’t very athletic or good at exercise.

During a school sports day throwing competition I didn’t do well and from that day I decided I wasn’t good at throwing.  I’d also always struggled with running as it always took me longer, so told myself I couldn’t run either.

But how I talk to myself about exercise has changed completely. I’ve realised that I don't have to be good at all of it, you just have to find what you enjoy and what feels right for you at the moment.  Who cares if I can't throw hugely far it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

I didn't really find the benefit of exercise for wellbeing until after University. Once I started working, I went to a gym and found some classes that I enjoyed for a while. I really enjoyed body pump and body attack and became the person whooping with joy at the back class when stuff got really hard!  I grew to love exercise because it gave me that sort of adrenaline rush.

I then started using it as a tool to manage my physical and emotional wellbeing and mental health.

After having my first child, I went back to exercise and tried the gym.  It felt very lacklustre.  I am someone who needs to be externally motivated and so struggled to motivate myself and the classes weren’t very good.  

Then I found CrossFit and I got really, really, into it. I really enjoyed the weightlifting element of it and the competitive edge and it became part of my identity.  I was someone who did CrossFit, was strong and lifted weights. 

After having my second little one all of that changed.  I didn't listen to my body.  My body was screaming at me; you are tired, you are exhausted and you're not sleeping enough to be working out at this intensity.   I then realised I needed rest and something gentle.  I had identified myself as someone that did high intensity exercise. I loved the community and I didn't want to be the person that gave up after they had kids, so I kept going for ages. 

Then I developed an injury that needed an operation and so had to take a lot of time out. 

I have come full circle to a place where I have found exercise that works better for me. Currently, I go swimming once a week and I do much gentler gym classes.

I'm exercising for enjoyment much more than anything else.  I would like to feel a little bit stronger but I'm happy to build it up quite slowly and it is much more about the enjoyment, stress management and mental health aspect of exercise rather than hammering out weights and going all guns blazing.

What are your current motivations and challenge?

My main motivation, for sure, is wanting to stay as fit and healthy as possible for my children. To be able to run around with them, to move without too much pain or restriction and keep up with them.  I want to stay healthy and fit in later life, so that I grow old nicely and I'm able to still do stuff with them. I need to start doing that now otherwise it won't happen in 30 years time.

My challenge is time.  There are so many restrictions on my time, not just on the amount of free time I have but also when I can have that time, due to my husband’s working hours.

Also, there’s a voice in my head that says this isn't hard enough exercise, that it’s not doing enough to make me fit and healthy and lose weight.  But I'm counteracting that by telling myself that this is exactly what I need right now.  It’s giving me more energy, making me feel better and relieving my stress.

I have to battle the voice in my head and I think I'm winning at the moment. I know I’m enjoying training and enjoying movement. I'm very much on board with what Carole has to say and this all aligns with her philosophy.