The 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week job of parenthood can be hard on a working mother. Nevertheless, that does not stop 41-year-old Swarna Goyal, mother of two and a gynaecologist by profession, from following her life-long fitness mantra.
“Fitness was always a big thing in my life. No better way to stay fit than to play sport. The discipline, the focus which I have, a lot of it has come because of my involvement with sport and I try to teach these values to my children,” she says with a youthful exuberance that she hopes will get people inspired. Moreover, it’s difficult to speak to Swarna and not feel inspired!
A life-long love affair
“Right from my school days, I was part of my school throwball and volleyball team. I started swimming at the age of 6 or 7. From then, sport has always been a major part of my life,” recalls Swarna as she looks back on her childhood days.
Two decades have passed, and Swarna still continues playing throwball on a competitive level. “We won the Mumbai Sports Association school tournament and over the years, we’ve been playing at a friendly level, and now we have gotten back on a semi-professional level. We have a team of nine players and all of us are mothers of children from the Bombay Scottish School and that’s how we all got together and formed a team. We play quite regularly, around two to three times a week.”
When asked about the level of competition they face, she says, “We participate in tournaments hosted only in Mumbai. Once the monsoon season is over, we have a series of throwball tournaments. We have six tournaments to take part in until January.”
Finding the time
“That is a big challenge actually. To take out time for yourself and then put it into sports is a little challenging. But, there’s a decent setup at home. My husband is very supportive, as are my in-laws and when I’m not there, they manage the whole show at home,” says Swarna, as she makes it a point to find time for some physical activity every day, alongside a busy family and work life.
Rather than just being another thing to squeeze into an already jam-packed schedule, Swarna uses physical activity to keep everything else ticking over. “I cycle, I swim, I run at least once or twice a week and two to three times a week, we play throwball,” says the fitness enthusiast who’s given up sweets completely inspite of having a sweet tooth.
“Last year, I took part in the Hindustan Times Triathlon in Thane. Out of the 1300-1400 that participated, I had a good rank of 164 and this was irrespective of gender or age,” says Swarna proudly. She now wants to scale new heights, “I would definitely like to go for a trek to basecamp, Mount Everest and then, maybe go for sky diving.” The sporting challenges she has set for herself and completed certainly cannot fail to impress.
Swarna strongly recommends taking up a sport for a healthy lifestyle, “From what I’ve learnt, there is no better medicine than sport. It teaches you the biggest life lessons; that it’s okay to fail and it’s okay to fall down. But then you find your strength, get up, dust your knees and get back to playing. It teaches you how to be in a team and how to play with others. You work harder and do better.”