Tova Gillespie

I am a mum to two girls, one with severe and complex disabilities. Finding the time and motivation to stay active, especially when you are juggling family life and care needs, is an extremely challenging thing, yet it is so important to do, especially for other women in the same situation. Any caring takes a toll on our bodies, a toll that can only be combated with strength and fitness. Exercise also works wonders for our mental well-being.

Before spring 2020 I was a regular down the gym and I absolutely love weightlifting. However, with lockdown hitting in March last year a number of things changed, not least of which were that gyms closed down and I went through some big changes in my personal life. Fast forward to now and I am a single mum of two girls, one of whom has severe and complex disabilities. Even if the gyms were open, it would be a challenge fitting in regular weightlifting sessions now. Yet moving and staying fit and strong is more important than ever now.

I use my children as my catalyst to get me moving. We all need to be outside and breathe fresh air, my youngest needs to run and climb and they both sleep so much better if they are tired from hours spent outside. I try to get us out for walks, during which we play, run, race and generally build in additional movement. At home we put on music and dance around like crazy, and a current favourite game is "the floor is lava". I have a bit of a home gym setup now as well, with some dumbbells, resistance bands and a pull-up bar so I try to fit some weight and resistance workouts in around my girls' needs, and my youngest loves to join me in these workouts. It does her good to see that a woman can be strong and enjoy her own body and this encourages me to keep exercising, even when time and energy is in short supply.

At times it is hard to justify taking time to be active, when so many other things make demands on the few hours each day has to offer. At times I have to remind myself that the washing up will still be there, even if I take a couple of hours out and spend them with my daughters. It's a constant in any parent's life, isn't it? We can always depend on there being washing up. And laundry! So ignoring those for a little while every now and again in favour of being active with the kids can only be a good thing.

I want to encourage all women who are giving a little too much of themselves to try to claw back a little time for them, and find opportunities to get stronger and fitter.

Discover some FREE home workouts here provided by Bedford, Luton and Central Beds providers:


Tova Gillespie is a YouTube vlogger on the channel ParentXP, special needs advocate and mum to two girls, one with severe and complex disabilities.

Check out her social profiles below.