In celebration of International Women’s Day ASICS spoke with four of our Mumbassadors on how they manage the challenge of motherhood along with an active lifestyle. We salute them and all incredible women who are striving individually to make a collective difference to the world.
World Champion Silver Fern Ameliaranne Ekenasio is a devoted mum to Ocean and her two step-children. A champion of sustainability and juggling the demands of professional sport and family Ekenasio debuted for the Silver Ferns in 2014. As an active mum she shares with ASICS her motivation to advocate physical activity for all and why she feels it’s so important for parents to be active with their children.
How do you juggle the demands of raising young children and being a member of a high performing world champion team?
I honestly don’t know how I do it some days! I think you have to keep going, get organised early and do whatever it takes to get you through on a day to day basis. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by my husband's family who help out a lot. We couldn’t do it all by ourselves. The demands of being an athlete are so high today so you do need help. It’s important to reach out for support. We’re lucky to have family around and they do heaps to help us out.
Why is it important to you to be an active Mum?
I’m an active Mum because of my career but I also understand the importance of living an active life for both your physical and mental health. I’ve been through depression in the past and I know how much living an active life has helped me deal with my mental health.
Also I want my kids to see the importance of being active and how much staying active helps everything. I want them to grow up seeing my husband and I being active and then it becomes natural for them. I think it's important for our kids to get moving not only by themselves but with us as well. They see us going off to training but it’s important they are able to do exercise with us - that’s how I think we will get the best buy-in.
What’s one tip for Mum’s struggling to be active?
When I first had my son, Ocean, I tried heaps of different ways to be active. You find things that will work and not work for you, so keep your mind open to ways to be active which suit you. One thing that I found really worked for me was investing in some super comfy activewear that I could exercise in and that I could also wear for long periods of time.
If I had a spare 20 minutes here and then another 20 minutes later in the day, it meant that I could stay in the same gear. We all know as mums sometimes it's getting changed into different clothes that actually stops us from getting exercise done. You just need to save as much time as possible! I could stay in the same gear and do little workouts throughout the day and it kept me sane! It also made me feel like I didn’t have to dedicate a big chunk of time to being able to exercise.
Being fit and strong on the netball court obviously requires a large amount of dedicated training - what’s some advice to budding young Silver Ferns to stick at it during hard sessions?
Changing your mindset is really important for young kids growing up - so often we think that it's going to be easy and that it's all going to be fun. The reality is elite sport is hard and not enjoyable all the time. I think being able to flip it though and find enjoyment in the hard times is the key. There are sessions that you hate. In those sessions find the learning and why it’s making you better so you actually feel like you’re getting some kind of growth or benefit.
Also if there’s some element in a really hard training session that is fun it can change the tune of the session. You can go through a hard time in sport so doing things and knowing the things you enjoy is really important.
Who will you be thinking of this International Women’s Day?
I’m really appreciative of women because I was raised by women. I was surrounded by women like my Mum who was amazing, my older sister (who is 10 years older than me), my Nana and my Aunties. Only now that I have kids of my own I realise what they did by themselves. So this International Women's Day I will be thinking of all the women who raised me and how strong they were for me. In turn, I will think about how strong I've been able to become being raised by such amazing women.
I will also think about the feminine energy that’s not just in women but in men as well. I appreciate the feminine energy that we bring out in our males - this is something that my husband and I have been working on. We’re growing on this and I appreciate all the men that bring the feminine energy to life.
Building on an incredible 2019 Ameliaranne has started 2020 off with a bang being named captain of the Silver Ferns for the Nations Cup Tournament in England. A leader on the netball court, as well as a leader for all women, Ameliaranne is proud to use her influence to empower other mums and women to lead a sustainable healthy life. We wish Ameliaranne all the best for the ANZ Championship and for another big year for the Silver Ferns.
We’re proud of all our Mumbassadors living healthy and active lives and in the process inspiring others to do the same. Happy International Women’s Day to all from the ASICS Team.
This is one article in a series of four. Check out the others with Matilda Green, Lorraine Scapens, and Helena Dinnissen.