ACTRESS Aoibhín Garrihy admits her husband, John, sometimes boots her out the door to do some exercise. And it’s always when she least feels like it. “But I know that’s when I need it most,” says the mother of two.
The formercontestant and mum to Hanorah, who has just turned two, and eight-month-old Líobhan, has seen too many women in her own life burn the candle at both ends and put themselves at the bottom of their priority list. “So I’ve learned self-care is important.”
Aoibhín’s an ambassador for ‘Lidl Moves’, Lidl Ireland’s new exercise programme and microsite launched to support the fourth chapter of the award-winning 20x20 campaign (www.lidl.ie/20x20). 20x20 is a national movement that champions girls and women in sport.
‘Lidl Moves’ wants to motivate women of all ages/abilities/backgrounds to gift themselves an exercise habit that will benefit their physical and mental health. The focus is on what women can do in just 20 minutes daily or a few times a week, indoors or outdoors. With new habit-creation said to take 21 days, ‘Lidl Moves’ guides participants through the first 20 days of their new routine, with all movers then encouraged to take responsibility for their new exercise habit from day 21 through the rest of their lives.
“It’s about getting behind every woman, whether or not she’s ever put on a pair of runners. It’s about championing women to get that bit of exercise activity in,” says Aoibhín, adding that, for her, motivation to exercise isn’t about looking great, though that’s a bonus.
“It’s head-space, clarity, refuelling. For me, it’s time in the outdoors, in nature – that’s therapy.”
Aoibhín, who a few years ago trekked to Everest Base Camp, has been doing a lot of sea-swimming lately. “I love it. We have a swim group in Spanish Point and there’s a real sense of camaraderie. I love being in the hills too with John but that has been more challenging with the two babies. And I’ve always enjoyed kayaking.”
But when it comes to indoor activity, she admits she’s not a fan of the gym. “I love yoga. It’s a bit gentler, an opportunity to meditate, a little bit of stillness.”
While she “definitely” needs encouragement to exercise, she finds John much more disciplined about getting active. “Statistics show men keep up sport, whereas women tend to fall off the wagon. John’s good to book in his time off – ‘I’ll be boxing Tuesday and Thursday’ – but I’m slow to do that. I know things can go pear-shaped – the kids might be tired, I might have had a rough night with little sleep and trying to commit to exercise then…”
It’s at times like this she says she needs “the kick up the bum to get a bit of activity going”. So she has sent John texts, saying: “I’m just exhausted. I’ve had x amount of battles with Hanorah over treats. And he’d say ‘go out in the garden and play tennis’. And I’ll be like ‘are you mad?’ But it’s what I need.”
They’ve been a good tag team through lockdown, with each taking over from the other so both have breaks to work and exercise. For Aoibhín, an upside of lockdown has been the opportunity to relax with baby Líobhan. “I was breastfeeding. She literally had it on tap. With Hanorah, when I was trying to work, I was squeezing in breastfeeding. I’ve had none of that with Líobhan. I was able to be with her and take that time, precious moments we’ll never again get back.”
With baby number two, Aoibhín says she knew the story: kids take over. It was something it took her a while to realise with Hanorah. “After having Hanorah, a part of me really wanted to integrate her into our lives and get on with it. I wanted to maintain that element of myself. I was determined to keep going and not have that real life-altering transformative aspect, but of course having a child is that. And you need to respect that your body has gone through so much and it also needs nine months to feel normal again. So with Líobhan, I was a lot kinder to myself.”
There’ve been many lessons from lockdown, she says. “You’re made aware of what’s important, who the important people are – and of what and who you can do without. I didn’t realise I had so much stuff. I had a shopping problem! You definitely don’t need dozens of pairs of shoes.”
With John being a hotelier, business has been affected. “Tourism has been wiped out – you’re trying to depend on the short domestic season,” she says, adding that she’s generally a glass-half-full, stay-positive person. “It’s great that things are lifting and that the grandparents are back in action – we’re certainly never taking them for granted again.”
And – exciting on her immediate horizon – is moving into their “forever home” in a few weeks. “It all came to a standstill with Covid. The house has been six years in the making, so it doesn’t feel so much like home but more a project that has been going on so long.”
And when she, John, toddler and baby finally get in, they’ll be having their “first little hooley” for Líobhan’s christening.
“It’s all happening,” she says.
- Start your journey by taking the physical activity questionnaire that will help you figure out how you like to be active.
- Six different activities available on-site including walking, jogging, cycling, yoga, home workouts and dancing. There’s a beginner and intermediate goal for each activity so it caters for different levels of ability/experience.
- Resources section provides full details of each activity and includes video instructions, expert tips, advice and routines from some of Ireland’s leading sportswomen.
- The campaign’s targeted at women new to sport and physical activity, and those who’ve been thinking about getting physically active over the past number of (lockdown) months.
- Watch exa.mn/Lidl20x20; you can also view Chapter 4 of the 20x20 campaign (‘No Proving. Just Moving.’) at exa.mn/LidlJustMoving