Catherine Irving is enjoying taking part in the Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women Healthy Heart Challenge and being active every day.
Catherine Irving is enjoying taking part in the Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women Healthy Heart Challenge and being active every day. Lindsey Jackson

Mother takes up Hearty challenge

BEING active might not seem like a challenge to some, but for those with heavy workloads, long hours and a couple of children, it can often be hard to find those extra precious few minutes for yourself.

Catherine Irving has taken on this very test for the next 10 weeks and it’s all part of the Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women Healthy Heart Challenge.

The challenge is an incentive for women around the country to join the movement, empowering them to take control of their heart health.

The Emerald mother-of-two said she heard about the challenge from a colleague at Denison State School, where she has been a teacher since last year.

“Someone at school sent me the details, they are always trying to get us to balance work and home life, so I decided to give it a go,” she said.

“It’s a challenge when you’re teaching because sometimes you work really long hours.”

Catherine registered online for the program, where she completed a healthy heart survey and chose which goal she would focus on for 10 weeks.

Participants could choose from six goals including being active every day, improving nutrition, increased knowledge of heart health, quitting smoking, lowering high blood pressure levels and lowering cholesterol levels.

Those who sign up and successfully complete their goal are in the running for an impressive prize pool of $49,600.

Catherine chose to be active every day, which she usually completes by taking her two dogs for a walk around the block.

“Every night at 7.30, the dog goes and gets her lead,” she said.

“So it’s been good for them too.”

Catherine said quitting smoking wasn’t an option because she achieved that goal last year.

“The year before last I also did the Fit for Teaching Challenge, which was really good for my motivation,” she said.

“It’s great that you can get involved in things like this.”

While Catherine said she didn’t quite reach her goal in the first week of the challenge, she said she was hoping to keep up with her walking from now on.

“I’m just doing it to make the effort to get off my bum,” she said.

“Walking is a nice way to calm down and take your mind off work as well.”

As part of the challenge, participants log their progress on a link on the Healthy Heart website each week and keep a record of how their goal is progressing.

“There’s no use lying to yourself, is there?” Catherine said.

“The 10 week thing is achievable, that’s why I chose being active as my goal.”

The free 10-week Healthy Heart Challenge encouraged women to make small, realistic, yet significant steps to change their lifestyle and Catherine said she would “absolutely” be incorporating her active changes into her daily routine after the challenge finished.

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