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HELENA DINNISSEN: Tips from a track & field athlete and mum of three

Mar 02, 2020
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International Women’s Day calls for recognising the incredible women and mother's in our community. ASICS talked with four of our Mumbassadors on how they balance the demands of motherhood all while leading active lifestyles. We salute them and all incredible women who are striving individually to make a collective difference to the world.

Reigniting a career in Athletics, mum of three Helena Dinnissen is on a mission to be as fast as possible on the track and to break as many records as possible. Passionate about finding balance as a busy mum, Dinnissen is one of the world's best masters athletes. Dinnissen has been through a lot of challenges in her motherhood journey and is passionate about empowering women to pursue their dreams, at any age.

What are some tips for busy mum’s to be able to exercise or move more within their day?

Make it fun and do it early in the day. Ultimately we are way more motivated to do things that are fun, but motivation wanes throughout the day, even for exercise addicts and athletes! So the sooner in the day you get into your groove the easier it is to stick to your exercise routine.

Find a type of movement you love that’s fun for you (even if it doesn’t make the 10 best exercises for ‘whatever’ list), and do more of that! It’s even better if you can find someone to do it with and keep adding challenges and goals into the mix.

Helena Dinnisen and her three children

How has having a fitness goal impacted your life as a mum?

It has helped me take better care of myself and in turn better care of my family. I’ve learnt so many great habits, new skills, and positive health routines that are now flowing onto my kids. I’ve also learned to let go of so many of the little things in life that don’t add value because as I have chosen to prioritise new healthy habits, the old stuff just can’t fit in anymore. As we value ourselves and set aside time for our own goals it actually increases our capacity to be supportive of our children.

There have certainly been really hard bits along the way like having to organise the kids for the day or afternoon (packing food, clothes, organising sitters/entertainment) so I can get out and do my training or competitions. But even these things have led to me being more organised and better at resting and chilling out in between busy times!

What’s the best advice you received when you were pregnant?

Not to worry and enjoy the journey. It’s amazing and also hard growing small people! We can spend our time overthinking and worrying about each little thing. Enjoy the journey, slow down, and recognise the amazingness that is getting to be a mum. There’s no need to rush it.

On the challenging days as a mum what do you do to get through?

Getting outside breaks things up, even if it's just a trip in the car to the library or something (often with loud music for the kids to sing to) or getting to the park or out on our bikes or something.

No matter what you are experiencing there will be a mum out there going through or having also gone through the same kind of thing. Don’t hide from sharing the hard bits, open up and share so you can support each other. (Maybe book in a wine for later in the day!!)  Everyone needs to be reminded it’s ‘not just me’ every now and then.

What will you be thinking of this International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day coincides with the National Athletics Champs so I’ll be triple jumping and hopefully winning a medal. It’s a pretty exciting space as a 35yr old mum of three to be competing at the open grade level with women over 10 years younger than me (with no kids). When I compete I use a mantra that reminds me of how far I have come, how grateful I am to be doing what I am doing, and that I was made for this. It’s what I love. “I’m a woman, and mum, and an athlete.”

As an example of balance in the #mumlife Helena shares some valuable lessons in taking care of ourselves better so we can take care of our loved ones better. As Helena says “you’re never too late to start”. Emphasising the importance of being physically active to reap the benefits to your health and wellbeing. We wish Helena all the best in her build-up to the World Masters Athletics Championships in Toronto in July 2020.

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 team at ASICS.

This is one article in a series of four. Check out the others with Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Lorraine Scapens, and Matilda Green.