29th March 2018
By Andi Turner
We’ve got this whole fitness programme thing going down at my setting and it’s become pr-e-tty intense around here lately I can tell you. It’s actually a competition to have the lowest heart rate during rest (like that ever happens in early years) and whose is the highest during vigorous exercise. Whose heart rate recovers quickest after 50 star jumps and who can manage to talk while they’re doing it? See? Even breathing’s an event. And it’s not easing off the older we’re getting either. But if I was still working in an office 9 to 5 I bet I’d be shattered by the time I drove home. I’d cook dinner, have a bath, drink wine and go to bed. Whereas, at the end of my working day with a bunch of under 5s I’m ready for the next part of my day. I’m invigorated.
Now, you might call this a mid-life crisis but that has such negative connotations, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it though? When in fact this is a time in my life that I’ve never felt so fit and capable and liberated and so, instead, I like to refer to this as my mid-life nisus. Yeah, we’re all wearing fitness gear that none of us is really the right shape for but if nothing else it gives us all a right laugh, at one another’s expense, and the kids are having a giggle too – admittedly, also at our expense. I’ve no idea what they tell their parents but one day one Mum did ask me why I wore a pair of knickers on my head yesterday. I didn’t though, honestly.
And the neighbours tell us aaaaall the time how they love listening to us all laughing together and how they’d love to come and join in. Oh, and how they’re so very, very grateful that we’ve covered the noisy decking area with lovely, soft, thick astro-turf.
But anyway, we’re a motivated crew. Good role models I like to think. And our fitbits are set to sync continuously so the challenge is very much on. Not one of us dares stand still or sit for even a moment. Even the kids each have a step counter clipped to their waistbands but you know what? They never, ever get tired! Or breathless! And they can rack up more steps in a minute than we can only dream of. Honestly, you’ve never seen bricks put away or buckets filled so animatedly in your life. And, you know that recommendation that adults do 10,000 steps a day? Well, that goal’s for pussies. We have 3 specific activity goals that we have to achieve each weekday or we pay for after-work drinks on Thursdays:
- 12,000 steps by noon (I know, right?)
- at least one fitbit coach challenge burning not less than 150 calories
- PLUS a minimum of 60 active minutes (this is moderate to intense activity ie not walking). Some of us are more creative – or less honest – depending upon your perspective. Oh, it’s fierce alright. I know for sure that one member of the team has clipped her fitbit to the dog before then played fetch, and another racked up 13,000 steps just riding here on their motorbike and insisted they counted.
Oh, and it goes without saying that we’re all in the Workweek Hustle. But until recently there’s never been a rigid routine here apart from: kids arrive, kids eat, kids have fun, kids eat, kids nap, kids eat, kids have fun, kids eat, kids go home. Kids do an awful lot of eating, don’t they? Sure, 99% of our day is spent outdoors in the fresh air and yeah, we’ve always done yoga in the afternoons as the babies bed down for a little nap but other than that, the kids have been pretty much free to run about with wild abandon and burn off all their energy as they see fit. But now they’ve all become proper little fitness freaks. We’ve even got Mams and Dads challenging us to be the next Weekend Warrior or to do a New York City 10 mile race on Sundays.
But, for every yang there’s a yin – there’s OFSTED afterall – and so we’ve taken care of business. Let me tell you, we haven’t messed about: we’ve crossed our I’s and dotted our T’s here. Firstly, we carried out a very thorough physical development audit to make sure our fabulous new fitness programme covers all bases. It cross references each activity with all 7 areas of learning and development and even with the characteristics of effective learning. What a masterpiece it is. Plus, it shows whether each activity is for indoors or outdoors; whether it promotes fine motor skills or gross motor skills; even whether it’s adult led or not. Really – it does – I’m not kidding.
Next, we drafted a new routine to make sure that opportunities for physical development are available all day, every day and then we wrote a brand spanking new risk-benefit assessment: the single most crucial element of which has us doing the squat test in front of one another to assess whether our leggings are just mildly obscene or bordering on the criminally indecent. Who knew that the propriety of 2 middle-aged women (praying for the body of their twenties) and one twenty-something (praying she dies before she ever gets in our state) prancing about with a bunch of kids could be a matter of legal interpretation – perhaps even litigation?
[Aherm, note to self: check to see whether legal expenses for this kind of allegation are covered in our public liability insurance].