TRX, Cross Fit, Functional Training, Tabata – these are just a few fitness classes trending in Ukraine at the moment. Ukraine has always been strong in sports, but mostly among professionals. The past few years have shown that sport and fitness can be accessible to anybody, with the help of a wish and of course, motivation. To find out about what makes Ukrainians sports-savvy these days, we met with Olena Burdeina, a local fitness celebrity and health coach, somebody who has dedicated many years to the art of sport and well-being, and believes that Ukrainians have the opportunity to build a great and healthy future for many generations to come.
Olena Burdeina is an invited teacher of the BSK – KROK BUSINESS SCHOOL, a Certified PPA practitioner for Thomas International, a business trainer and coach. She has over 9 years of experience in education and consulting. Olena is the teacher for the course Health Self-Management for the General МВА program and the founder of the School of Health for managers and office employees, author of the course “Habits Management”.
In her free time, Olena is an avid fan of marathon running, and has completed 5 full marathons (42 km) in Munich, Istanbul, Paris, Berlin and Warsaw. She also took part and finished in the 6.5 km marathon swim across the Bosphorus. In 2011, together with K. Bozhko, she founded the KM Running Club.
Do you think the attitude of Ukrainians towards sports and a healthy lifestyle has changed in the last few years?
It has changed and continues to change. Those willing to be part of the process are now the majority. The process is ongoing, and this factor is a positive one. People are running, cycling, roller-blading, skiing, scuba diving, weightlifting, doing Yoga and Pilates, going for consultations to diet-specialists and for lectures with doctors. The surroundings form our standards, and the more healthy-oriented people there are in our near surroundings, the more chances there are for our society to improve the quality of life.
More and more office managers see the value of developing a health culture within companies and create appropriate conditions. They invite trainers for special sessions in the workplace, pay for participation in marathons. It is likely that these managers and leaders are themselves part of the healthy way of life. Parents also create a positive sport vibe for their children. I was lucky that my lifestyle was different at times, but the value of health was always a priority in our family. The foundation laid by my parents made me become a healthy, happy grown-up.
How easily accessible are healthy foods and sports to Ukrainians today?
I think that health and its maintenance have always been accessible. Always. Healthcare is more expensive. To be healthy, to do sports and to eat well can be done in any country and with any income. There are always seasonal vegetables and fruits, specific for the region. It is more expensive for vegans, raw food eaters and other special groups of people who consciously reject a line of food. For the rest, healthy nutrition is comparable to unhealthy. Those people who don’t buy pure water or don’t use filters, opting to drink tap water instead, surprise me. Their main argument is thatit’s too expensive. With this notion, they still find money to buy cigarettes. Three packs of cigarettes costs the same as one large bottle of pure water. You are simply transferring your budget to other products. When making a purchase in the supermarket, remember – what is bought, is eaten. Meaning, the sweets bought for guests will be eaten in any case, notwithstanding the circumstances.
The story is the same with sports. To be fit, to be in good shape doesn’t carry additional costs. If once, instead of buying an extra shirt or blouse you buy a sports shirt, and instead of another pair shoes, you buy running shoes, the budget will not suffer. If you have the opportunity, choose a sport you like, and the range of prices varies. From the expensive tennis and triathlon to more accessible running and workouts. Remember that membership in a sports club does not guarantee your presence there. When I started running, I had one pair of old running shoes, one shirt and half-sport pants.
What kind of advice would you give to Ukrainians regarding the improvement of health and lifestyle?
Before answering this question I would like to say one thing – it’s beautiful. A healthy person is always more beautiful! It’s a fact! Beginning from the facial expression and ending with the overall appearance. Also, a healthy person ages gracefully. And we will all sooner or later age.
Let’s look at health from a complex perspective. This is not only the physical form. Health is when your brain, soul (emotions) and body feel well and find common language with each other. This is why health needs to be improved in these three directions, and a person can begin with one, desirably with one where the results are not as satisfactory.
Just reading these points will not make you healthier, but regularly completing them will!
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