Four out 10 women have experienced domestic abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime. This was one of the many serious, staggering statistics put out there that affect women today at the Women in Leadership Advocacy Programme (WinLA) at Taumeasina Island Resort yesterday.
Prominent women throughout Samoa’s sectors and ministries gathered to tackle the issues: abuse, reproductive health, maintaining healthy lifestyles and more.
And what better way to promote healthy lifestyles than by having two-time Olympic gold medalist, Valerie Adams present to speak about balancing the priorities of a modern woman and also sharing some insight into what keeps her going as an elite athlete.
In typical, laidback Valerie Adams style, the floor was open for participants to ask Ms. Adams about anything.
And they did.
One participant was eager to know how women of a certain age can get started in keeping up their fitness despite physical limitations.
Ms. Adam’s recommendation was simple, just start moving for at least 30 minutes a day.
She stated, “It is never too late to start anything. And what I kind of encourage to our nanas and papas in the Pacific is 30 minutes of something a day, every day. Whether that’s gardening, going for walk or going for a swim. Thirty minutes as day at your own pace, moving.”
“I think the key word is moving. Thirty minutes a day is really nothing, really anybody can make 30 minutes to just get the heart rate up and moving. But it also comes down to nutrition to balance that out. So if you put the two together, these are things that you can do anywhere. But you need to take the responsibility and initiative to start moving.”
“All Pacific islanders like to move, you like to dance. I’ve seen you guys dance. Simple things like that; I saw on T.V. last night, you guys have like a Zumba thing on T.V. That’s great way to start.”
Not only is maintaining one’s physical health important but also keeping track of one’s mental health is imperative as well. One way, is by understanding that you can’t please everyone, she said.
Ms. Adams stated, “One thing that we must all know is that we can’t make everybody happy. It’s very difficult. I try to but there’s always going to be those one or two people who are going to be very mad at me. It’s none of my doing but that’s just the way of life.”
“Over the years, I’m hardly ever home and we rarely have time together. I hardly ever see my husband, which is not quite good. It’s a choice I’ve made and if you can get these people around you to support what you’re doing, it’s very important. And they know the reason for you doing what you do and for them to have thAT understanding. “
“Sometimes, we expect people to understand what we’re doing and just go with it. But you have to sit down and explain to them what you’re doing. At the end of the day, the only thing that’s important is you. Not anybody else, you.”
Finally, what keeps the two time Olympic gold medalist going?
“Love. I love what I do so much. If you love what you do and have a passion for it, that’s half the battle for working towards it. That’s simply it, that’s what keeps me driven and keeps me in it and determined to reach my goals because I love it,” Ms. Adams stated.
“I don’t love the injuries, I’ve had six injuries. But I love that fact that I get to represent my country, and I get to compete overseas. I love the sport so much, that’s what gets me up in the morning and what keeps me going. The day I wake up and I, emotionally and mentally don’t want to do it anymore, I think it’s time for me to retire.”
Before jetting off to her next scheduled event, The Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Water Authority, Jaimee Saena, presented Ms. Adams with a Tanoa as gift for her contribution to the discussion and asked one last question everyone in the room was keen to know.
She asked, “So any plans?” Ms. Adams was dumbfounded for a moment, “Any plans for … ? Children?”
She then answered in typical light-hearted Valerie Adams fashion, “Maybe I’ll get a dog first. In all honesty I would love kids. I really would.”