My relationship with physical activity is one with a late start and a lot of twists and curves.
I am a 39 year old camera assistant, skydiver and tunnel flyer who used to fake stomach aches to avoid gym class as a kid. I was the skinny, uncoordinated girl who figured out what position to be in to do the least. I hated sports.
Becoming a camera assistant requires a lot of carrying heavy gear, pushing carts loaded with gear and standing and moving around for 12 to 18 hours a day. If you are out of shape, it’s going to be a bad time. This made me learn to take care of myself a little better. With those hours, it’s hard to join sports or keep a regular gym schedule.
I would do at home work outs lifting weights and walking between shows just to keep a bit of muscles and stamina, but only as maintenance. I never really ENJOYED it. I ended up gaining quite a lot of weight and fell out of a routine.
At 36 years old, I had gone though a big break up. I joined Weight Watchers and lost 40 lbs. I started CrossFit, which I loved. I loved that it taught me how far I could push myself. I loved feeling strong and it seemed like all of my daily tasks were so much easier while feeling fit.
During this time, I went for a tandem skydive. It was so much more fun than I could have imagined. With a new found confidence in my physical abilities, I decided to sign up to become a licensed skydiver.
I was terrible at it. But the mental game that I had learned doing CrossFit and from work (hauling gear for an hour after working for 15 hours when you think you can’t make it, but needing to push though) I kept working on it.
This led me to trying indoor skydiving. The wind tunnel allows you to learn the positions for skydiving in a much more controlled environment. I fell in love with it almost as much as the sky.
If you look at indoor skydiving, you would think it’s just floating, however you are using every stability muscle in your body to hold yourself steady in different positions. Friends are always surprised by the pain in their shoulders and abs when they try it for 4 minutes.
In the winter, I spend at least 30 mins in the tunnel a week. I get sore and out of breath, it’s an amazing work out and so much fun.
Indoor skydiving or tunnel flying feels a lot more demanding than outdoor skydiving because you have to fight for lift and you stay in the wind for much longer. A skydive is a minute or less at a time, in the tunnel I usually do 2-5 minute rotations.
I even won my first gold medal in my first sport competition ever in the Canadian Indoor Skydiving Championship in 2019 in a 2 way event with my boyfriend.
I had to give up CrossFit after just a few months because of my work schedule and then spending every weekend in the summer. But I still hear the coaches voices in my head and I know I can push myself to do more than I think I can.
This past winter I tried hot yoga, and really started to enjoy it. I loved feeling strong, pushing myself and the core work was really helping my tunnel flying.
Unfortunately, COVID happened. I did like many, sat on the couch and ate and drank too much. And then one day I tried on my skydiving jump suit to find that it wouldn’t zip up.
And now for my latest adventure, running. At 39 years old, I had never been a runner. I hated it. But it was free and it got me out of the house. I started really slow, having to walk more then run. I started to use an app to help see progress and that has made it more interesting for me. As far as real runners go, I’m still super slow, but I see progress every week and I have actually begun to crave it.
I am back in the sky jumping this summer too, thankfully, with my suit that now fits thanks to running.
So for me, the relationship with physical activity is about a lot more than just the activity. It’s about the mental game and the confidence that you gain from it. It took me until I was in my 30’s to find a sport that I loved so much. But it has made a huge difference in my life. I found love, friends and a passion. All because of a physical activity.