Claudia Kelly

Our HERA Ambassador Claudia is a real inspiration for hard work.  She trains before and after school every day, and on weekends, but she wouldn’t give it up for anything.  She has been in surf life saving for 10 years and represented New Zealand four times in the past two years at international lifesaving events. Most recently she participated in the 2018 World Lifesaving Championships in Adelaide, where she co-captained the Junior Black Fins. They made history as the first New Zealand youth team to win the world championships, and Claudia went on to win gold in the individual youth iron-woman!

What physical activities do you currently do?

Training for swimming and surf-lifesaving, plus biking and walking with my family.

What does it mean to you to be physically active?

Being active, doing training or exercise makes me feel energised and happy.  I find the endorphins that exercise releases absolutely vital to keeping a healthy mind and body.  I love the satisfaction I get after a hard day of training. Being fit and muscular as a girl often challenges society’s gender and body image expectations, but I feel accomplished knowing how much hard work and determination I put into my training and wouldn’t have it any other way!

What advice would you give girls looking to get physically active? 

The hardest thing to do is to start.  Begin your journey by setting yourself small goals, such as walking or biking to school a few days a week. Get involved in fun, social sports with your friends so it doesn’t seem as much of a chore! If you struggle with motivation, another useful tip is to try to exercise in the morning.  Waking up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to go for a run will make you feel awake and ready for the day before it has even begun!

What do you think would make more girls take up sport and recreation? 

If more girls encouraged each other to give new sports a go or to join social teams they’ll see how socially enriching, satisfying and (most-importantly) fun sports can be.  If they get involved in social sports, their friends and peers will follow. We should try and get the message across that you don’t need to be an amazing athlete to enjoy sports – simply giving things a go and finding something that makes you smile is the best thing to do!

How do we make it fun for girls to be physically active? 

Have girls practice and compete in social sports with their friends in low-pressure environments.  They’d be much more likely to enjoy exercise and want to keep it up.

Are there any sports/recreation activities you’d like to try? 

In P.E at school I loved playing sports that aren’t widely known in New Zealand – Lacrosse and Handball.  I’d love to give these a go in a social team to keep fit when I’m older. I’m keen to get involved in more mountain biking and hiking when I’ve got some spare time because I love being amongst New Zealand’s natural beauty.

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