April Ieremia's health rules 'How to live a happier life'

The popular Kiwi’s a good sport when it comes to ageing well

By Wendyl Nissen
April Ieremia is a former Silver Fern, television star and sports director. She talks to the Weekly about how she keeps herself healthy and well.
You're a former Silver Fern and the director of sports at Westlake Girls' High School – what is your one top tip for being active?
Just do it. People who are in the early stages of getting motivated say, "Yes, I'll do it", but they don't. So, the easiest thing is to remove the emotional voice and just put one foot in front of the other because as soon as you get going, regardless of whether it's walking or whether it's a full-on training session, it gets easier and the benefits from actually doing more become obvious.
What is your favourite way to move your body?
My body can't do much these days because all the running I did after netball led to muscle waste and knee issues. Netball gave me strong thighs, my knees were well supported, however, when I stopped playing netball, it gradually vanished. I walk a lot now, which gives me plenty of time to enjoy nature and daydream. I don't think we daydream enough these days.
When it comes to your mental health, how do you keep yourself centred when you lead such a busy life?
Sleep. I would much rather sleep than do anything else on the planet, but I'm not very good at sleeping. So, if I sleep, it's probably four or five hours a night. I also meditate. I like to sit there and breathe, and come up with ideas or remember things that I need to do. It's probably the best way to problem solve or obstacle-remove for me.
Over the years, you've talked about weight loss and gain. What is your thinking around how we should look after our bodies today?
I think as you get older, you just have to become more comfortable with you. You know if you are heavier or if there are lumps and bumps, or if there are things where you don't want them to be. But who cares? So that's my motto. Who cares? If you are happy with you and where you're at, then you'll send off a very content energy that says, "I actually don't mind me."
What is the best advice you've given your children Atlanta, 20, and Xanda, 18, about keeping healthy?
They are incredibly sporty, and as a single mother raising two kids, you hear about the social issues that crop up in the teenage years. So, I figured if I keep them really busy with sports, they'll be too knackered to get off the couch and go anywhere. And I was right.
Do you have any healthy eating tips?
When I'm in healthy eating mode, everything is boring, non-alcoholic, green and a fraction of me is unhappy because I find that food brings out good energy, good vibes and a jolliness in me. I could live on apples. In fact, I could be a fruitarian. I love all fruit. But mostly I try to stay away from carbs and processed sugars, and eat good proteins. I also try not to eat after seven at night and sometimes I don't have breakfast if I don't have time. I've always got my apple handy if I get hungry.
Is there one common thing all of us could do right now to improve our health?
Be more positive about yourself and practice self-love. You can do that with little treats for yourself. For me, it's a pedicure or a great blow dry. And going to movies on my own. I went to John Wick: Chapter 4 the other day on my own, and then went for a lovely walk along the beach and shoved my feet in the water. It was heavenly.
What is the best thing you've bought, created, found which keeps you well and happy?
My brand-new cream winter boots! But it's also things I find when I travel, like a bolero cape I got in South America, which is made from alpaca.
What are you most grateful for in your life?
My family. I have a really strong, loving family that hasn't bolted since I was born. We're quite independent, but when we come together on occasions like birthdays and Christmas, it's fantastic. I'm also grateful for my good friends, but what brings me the greatest joy is my kids.
You've talked before about how inspiring your mum Edith is. What has she taught you about getting older?
She's very content, and her joys are her children and grandchildren. She's quite self-sufficient and independent, and she's just easy-going. I want to be like that with my kids when I get older, just content, not a hassle.
Tell us something we don't know about you.
I never wear lipstick. When I see it on other people, I find it distracting. I'm looking at their bright mouth when I should be looking at their eyes. I have a big enough mouth anyway, so I do not need to highlight it.
  • undefined: Wendyl Nissen

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