As a former Iron Woman, Candice Warner knows a thing or two about keeping fit. And even though making the transition from professional athlete back into normal life can often come with a few challenges, her experience has proven invaluable when it comes to facing the current new normal.
Like many of us, the mum-of-three has had to adapt to constant lockdowns, and changing routines and restrictions as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
And while her background as an athlete has come in handy in terms of keeping herself motivated to take the time to move her body, despite juggling things like homeschooling, Candice knows it's not the same for everybody and has shared some advice for parents who might be struggling with exercising in lockdown.
"I'm one of those people that is super regimented, but COVID definitely threw a spanner in the works," Candice tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
The 36-year-old says keeping herself fit in lockdown has remained a priority, especially because in the end the benefits are more than physical.
"Like going for a run with my husband, which we did last lockdown, and with him not being away, we've been able to go for runs and I think the best thing about that is it's really helped us to clear our mind, and also to stay mentally healthy," Candice tells us.
"Although running is such a physical thing, it just helps us to communicate, just checking in on one another, and see how we're going, so running is something that we've taken up and loved."
She's also been lucky to continue working with her personal trainer Jono Castano from Acero - also known for training the likes of Rebel Wilson and Hugh Sheridan - which she does twice a week.
"I'm very fortunate that he's still in that 5km radius. And we've just been in the carpark, flipping tires, rolling tires. Lots of lunges, that sort of thing, just keeping my muscles active, but you know it's not the same intensity as what I'd be doing in the gym. But again, going back to that mental aspect, just going in and working out for 45 minutes, it does me a world of good."
One thing Candice suggests if you have kids at home and you're struggling to find time to get moving, is to get them involved and make it a family affair.
"For example throughout the Olympics we were doing a 'mini Olympics' for the kids in the backyard so you know, they would do some gymnastics and then they run around the block and we'd time them and it's something that's fun for them, and that was really fun as a family to do that."
But if you're finding it difficult to really take that time for yourself while juggling working from home, with homeschooling, and normal duties, the key is not to try and add any extra pressure on yourself and not to go out too hard too fast.
"Exercising can be overwhelming," she admits.
"Everyone's going through so much at the moment, some people are really struggling, there's stress, there's pressure. You don't want to add to that, but you might just sometimes need to get outside, get some fresh air and just leave home behind for a moment.
"You don't need to do anything that's too strenuous, or that's going to exhaust you. If you're struggling to find motivation I would suggest just taking it easy.
"It's about setting little goals and it may just be to go outside and go for a really slow stroll for 10 minutes. And then once you go outside you might realise, oh that's really nice, so just trying to increase at an achievable pace.
"Or even just in your own household, to set yourself little goals, you might say, I want to do 5000 steps, I feel like throughout the day that's very achievable within your own home."
She also says it's so important to try and ditch the guilt - particularly as mums, who might be struggling to take that well earned 'me-time', whether it's in the middle of a lockdown, or at any time.
"Just know that you're not Superwoman," she adds. "You will have bad day, you will stuff up, but that's okay. Everyone is with you so just to try to be kind to yourself and and try to not feel guilty."
As exercise has always been a part of Candice's life she needs little motivation to get her body moving, but if you're someone who does, it's important to remember the mental benefits.
"I'm someone that's always benefited from from exercise so even when there were times in the past where I've been blue, the thing that's always helped me is just exercising and going for that run and and clearing my head and not chewing on things.
"So exercise for me is more than just physically trying to stay in shape, it mentally just keeps me in check and I know that if I can exercise and let off some steam or go for my run, mentally, I'm just in such a better position.
"And I know when I exercise, I feel like - because my mind needs to be clear - I'm a better wife, a better mother, so for me that's why I do it. Part of the reason why. And if it has that affect on me, I'm sure that it can have an affect on other other women as well, and a lot of parents."
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