Back into shape mum

Amber’s story

Amber and her five year old son walked their way to a healthier, fitter, future, thanks to a radical new approach to fitness, which started with aiming for just 10,000 steps every day.

Amber was just like many busy mums, she has so much to do but so little time!

Amber noticed her weight started to creep up after the birth of her son and a hectic lifestyle took over. Over the years, she tried dieting, going to the gym and watching what she ate but like many, found it impossible to maintain.

Amber saw an article in her local paper about a funded initiative to help residents to get fitter and lose weight. The SPORTIVATE scheme, funded by LIVING SPORT, Sport England and the National Lottery, provided funding for Amber to purchase a step counter from Activ8rlives.

“I don’t really know what made me apply, as I didn’t particularly enjoy walking and drove everywhere. But I had tried so many other things and thought this could help me to see my activity level and increase it, without committing myself to a punishing gym schedule,” explained Amber.

This was just the start of a complete transformation in the way Amber approached her fitness and wellbeing. Far from just offering Amber a simple step counter, Activ8rlives provided an online platform and community group to help support Amber in her quest to become fitter and healthier.

Amber’s goal was to reach 10,000 steps daily (approximately 60-80 minutes of activity) and she was really surprised to see how few steps she was actually making in her normal daily routine.

“I assumed that with various daily activities, I wouldn’t be far off my 10,000 step goal, but I was shocked at how little I was actually doing.” Amber explained.

To help make up her steps, Amber started walking to school with her son, devised longer routes for frequent journeys to the supermarket and even to her parents’ house, which is only a short walk away. As she reached her target of 10,000 steps a day, she started to notice a real difference.

“I felt much better within myself and found I really enjoyed the walks out. I also noticed that I was losing weight too. For the first time, I’d found a solution where the weight loss was actually just a nice added benefit, rather than the sole focus.”

Intrigued by the change in Amber, her son, partner, parents and even siblings and their partners joined in with the programme and jointly, supported each other in reaching their daily 10,000 steps target.

“I can’t believe how something as simple as walking has made such a difference in my family life. I now go out for walks with my Dad in the evening if he is running under his daily target of steps. We get to spend time together that we never would if it wasn’t for our shared desire to reach 10,000 steps a day. As for my son, the change has been incredible. He no longer complains about walking to school, he sleeps much better at night and has grown into his weight,” said Amber.

When considering if she will keep up with the programme, Amber is convinced her walking has already brought about a permanent lifestyle change within her whole family.

“It becomes your obsession to reach your 10,000 steps a day and to help others in your group to achieve theirs. It’s really addictive but in a totally healthy and positive way and the group support makes such a massive difference to your motivation and ability to keep it up even when you are having an off day. I’ve been using my step counter for several months now and I just pop it on in the morning as if it is a piece of jewellery. I even wore it under my graduation gown recently, as I knew the day would involve a lot of walking!”

Amber has now also taken up jogging, now she is able to do this as her fitness contnues to grow. She recently qualified as a Leader in Running Fitness with SPORT ENGLAND and has now completed her first half marathon.

Listen to Amber being interviewed on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire