Reena Ranger, Chair of Women Empowered, is In Conversation with Minreet Kaur for her regular series for 'iGlobal' to explore some inspirational facets from the life and achievements of prominent Global Indians.
Minreet is an award-winning freelance journalist and the daughter of the Skipping Sikh MBE. She has written and reported for most leading publications across print, television, radio and online in the UK and around the world. Her work focuses on South Asian communities, giving voice to those not always in the limelight. She has recently become a swimming teacher and is encouraging many South Asian women in the UK to take up swimming and overcome fear and build confidence.
Fitness and wellbeing has become a large part of your life recently; how did you get into it and what has it meant to you?
I turned to health and fitness when I turned 40 in lockdown after putting a stone on and feeling so unhealthy and I had this lump on my neck. It turned out to be a fatty tissue. My dad is the Skipping Sikh who was awarded an MBE and he and my mum inspired me to start exercising.
I started to do the park run and also started to skip and hula hoop. I began to feel a difference in a few weeks. Fitness has changed my life. It’s become a daily routine and I couldn’t see life without it. It’s helped me mentally and physically. I’ve lost weight, I feel good and I can see the difference in myself. I also feel full of every, more positive and happier.
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How do you keep motivated to keep going?
My faith is a big part of feeling motivated. I always do my prayers in the morning before exercising. Whilst I exercise, I listen to meditation and that gives me a spring in my step. I also am motivated by my parents who are in their 70s and they exercise daily.
What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to explore swimming, running or something new?
Start off with a 5km run first and that can be a gentle jog/walk. Then slowly build this up to 10km and each time just jog and walk.
With swimming, it is such a brilliant exercise for anyone and everyone. If you don’t have a fear of water, then get into the shallow end, walk first and then start to use floating aids to help you swim, breathing is a big part of swimming and being able to blow bubbles under water. Floating is also very important and to be able to tread water. Swimming is an important life skill that everyone should learn. I’m more than happy to teach anyone who wants to learn.
With skipping, it’s about taking the first step and jump without a rope slowly, then start to incorporate the rope and you can do a single jump, double jump or even a running man style.
To try something new, just take the step. Don’t feel you can’t do it; we can do anything we want. We can make the impossible possible. It’s about never giving up and keep on going. Always have faith you will do it.
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What has been the lesson you have learned during the Covid-19 lockdown?
To live life to the fullest, follow your heart, love everyone and be kind. Family is so important, and my parents are my biggest strength.
To never take things for granted and appreciate everything. Help others, serve others and always stay positive as things will work out in the end.
Which one person has had the greatest influence in your life, and why?
My mum – she’s my biggest supporter and encourages me to keep on going. She says dream big and never think you can’t do it. My mum is such an inspiration; she’s 71 and is a real go getter. She’s always happy, never gets down. She is positive, kind and caring.
My mum is my best friend. She’s the reason I keep on knocking on doors and am as strong as I am because she’s taught me to be the best version of myself and be true to myself. Being authentic and real is everything in life. My mum is genuine, funny and a real character and I am so grateful for her love and support.
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*The views expressed in the answers are of the interviewees