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Students in Focus

Exercise for the body and soul

Mum of two and First year University of Canberra Sport and Exercise Science student Lauren is nothing short of an inspiration.

Lauren is beginning her university journey as a mature age student in 2021 following a long career as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and Strength and Conditioning Coach for a military government department.

She is passionate about using exercise as a form of medicine and acting as a role model for younger generations – as well as imparting her knowledge of the benefits of living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to those of all ages.

Now, Lauren is keen to further her knowledge in the health and fitness space so she can continue to inspire.

“I’ve been in this field of work for 17 years now – but due to injuries and overuse, my body is starting to slow down. I want to upskill academically so that I can keep working in the industry for years to come,” Lauren says.

“My eldest child is starting high school this year and my youngest is in Year 4 so I figure it’s my time – it’s now or never.”

Lauren’s philosophy is simple – but is one that is seemingly rare in a day and age of selfies and societal pressure to look good.

She wants to promote the concept of exercise being more about nurturing the body and mind and less about being #swole.

“I have always wanted to inspire others by being a healthy role model – not just for my kids but for everyone. Exercise and training are a celebration of what your body can do, not what you should do because you’re seeing it on Instagram,” Lauren says.

“It’s not just about being fit in your body, but in your mind. It’s amazing what training and exercise does for longevity for your body and for your quality of life.”

But it’s more than just passion that drives Lauren – it’s life experience. In 2005, shortly after receiving her fitness certification, she was in a serious car accident that left her unable to walk.

Suddenly, everything she took for granted was taken away in an instant.

“I was driving home from work one night and got hit by a bus. I was injured really badly. My car was written off, I was in hospital for a month, and was left unable to walk,” says Lauren.

“I couldn’t work, had to move home with my parents, and couldn’t walk for three months.”

Lauren describes that night as life-changing.

“After my car accident, I had years of surgeries and rehab ahead of me – I realised I had taken my body for granted for such a long time,” she says.

“When something like being able to walk is taken away from you, it really puts things into perspective. It would have been really easy to give up."

“I really think that experience shaped my life and taught me not to take things for granted.”

Since then, injury prevention and recovery is an area that Lauren personally strives to promote to all her clients.

“It’s about being strong and ultimately looking after your body, and preserving it while you’re young,” she says.

Strengthening mental health is another benefit of exercise, she says.

“That is another reason I got into this space. Training always makes me feel good, it clears my head and gives me a sense of achievement,” says Lauren.

“Training with friends, or in a group setting is even better. Over the years I have formed some amazing friendships at various gyms that I teach at."

“It’s the time spent with my family as well. I am always spending time with my kids walking up Mt Taylor or Mt Ainslie or going for a bike ride around Lake Burley Griffin.”

Beginning study at UC is something Lauren hopes will refresh her career and give her a renewed love for the industry.

“It’s just such an important area. You only get one body and one life – you need to get as much out of it, and protect it as much as you can,” she says.

Words by Elly Mackay. Photos supplied.

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