Back to school makes it easier to start healthier routine

‘I have tried to use some of the time to do a little exercise. I even managed to fit in a couple of swims in the sea’

Monina Mooney

Monina Mooney


So we are a few days into the Healthy Town initiative. It has coincided nicely with the kids going back to school which means that it is a little easier to get into a more healthy routine and build more exercise into our week.

It is the first time in a long time that I don’t have a small sidekick accompanying me in the mornings as my youngest has started in school. It takes a bit of getting used to . . . . I spent the week permanently feeling like I had forgotten something!

I have however tried to use some of the time to do a little exercise. I even managed to fit in a couple of swims in the sea. It has been many years since I have continued swimming in the sea right in to September but the weather was mild and the few moments of breath stopping cold getting in are worth it for the fantastic feeling you have after a swim.

September has also meant a return to all the various activities the children are involved in so I am delighted that they are back to their respective sports. We are lucky to live close to the town so I have tried to walk with the kids as much as possible.

Like pretty much everyone in Wicklow however, we do live on a fairly steep hill. I felt like the Grand Old Duke of York one of the days and my “men” began to object to being marched up and down the hill. A little more walking, the first full week back in school and some sports meant we were all tired by the time we hit the weekend.

The initiative offers an opportunity to sample some of the various classes on offer locally so on Saturday I decided to go along to the free T’ai Chi trial in the Community Centre. I will be honest - usually exercise to me means breaking a sweat and really exerting myself so T’ai Chi was definitely not something i had ever considered.

At the last minute my daughter asked could she come along and I thought...why not? A good group had gathered when we arrived and the two instructors were getting things underway explaining the principles of T’ai Chi. They demonstrated the key positioning of the body when standing and, while I started out very sceptical, i felt a niggling stiffness and pain in my back that had bothered me all week start to dissipate. Following this a group of people who practise T’ai Chi gave a demonstration.

In this silent room they began to go through the slow movements unique to the discipline when suddenly I heard ...... a snigger! my horror my daughter began to get a fit of giggles. I gave her the “death stare” but only briefly because as we all know giggling is highly infectious.

She reached her own “Zen” like state by staring at the floor and stifled anything else. Order was only briefly restored as, following a demo of the very unusual Qi Gong, she let out a snort and scurried out of the room! I I had to sit mortified and red-faced while fighting my own urge to giggle (yes, I know where my daughter gets it).

The instructors couldn’t have been nicer when I rushed to apologise at the end. They were a perfect example of the relaxed, calm demeanour they said came from T’ai Chi.

I’m not sure i would practise it regularly but I will say that to switch off from a busy life, to realign a creaky body I would imagine T’ai Chi would be a lovely, relaxing discipline to try. I came away with less pain in my back and a daughter that giggled the whole way home!

This week I see that Healthy Town is focusing on mental health. I will make it my business to make it to the Tony Bates talk on Thursday evening. I could do with examining my mental health after the back to school rush!