Her Facebook and Instagram pages show her progress as she trains by jumping into a local river. The winner of this year’s Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Scholarship says that “Sport has always been a part of my life and my daily routine. It’s fun to be fit and healthy.”
She says that as well as exercise, joining in with the Aboriginal community is a vital part of a well-balanced life. “It’s important to stay connected to the joy of community, country and family, to know who you are. I learnt a lot of about myself at the coming of age ceremony I went to.”
There is an increasing number of sporting opportunities for Aboriginal young people. The Australian Indigenous Alpine Sports Foundation sponsors athletes from remote communities to train in snow sports, and gives a chance for many kids to see snow for the first time.
Mikayla’s tips for sport and fitness
Get into a team: Join a community sports team with a friend and play once a week. “It’s important to do it with a friend because then you’re enjoying yourself.”
Ask a pro: If you can, get advice from a professional coach. If you’re doing your sport or activity correctly then you’ll enjoy it more and stay motivated.
Stuff-ups are a blessing: “Continue to try your hardest, and don’t get angry. I’ve always learnt the most about sport from my mistakes.”
Make a routine and stick to it: Have one daily exercise like walking, and then one or more weekly activities like sports games. If you do the activities at the same time on the same days you’ll have to think about it less and it will become automatic.
Get your family on board: If your family knows about your new sport or fitness goals they can help to support you, or even join in. It also helps if somebody can drive you to and from training if you can’t drive yet.
Persist until you see results: When you start to see changes happening to your body and to your abilities then you’ll want to keep going. It’s important to remember that results will come and to be patient until they appear.
Begin with a goal: Start with something very small and as soon as you’ve achieved it set a new one. Repeat, each time challenging yourself a little further.
Live a healthy lifestyle: Have a stable diet and eat healthy every day except for a treat day when you can splash out. On an average day Mikayla has eggs for breakfast and a sandwich or salad for lunch. She says that if you’re serious about health and fitness then you shouldn’t drink or smoke. Mikayla is an ambassador for Kick the Butt, an anti-smoking campaign.