Rachel Riley says her daughter is ‘mega active’ as she speaks out on importance of sport

Rachel Riley's partner Pasha adorably plays with daughter Maven

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Rachel Riley, 35, is a TV presenter and mathematician, currently co-hosting Channel 4’s Countdown and Eight Out of Ten Cats Does Countdown. She lives in London with her one-year-old daughter, Maven, and her partner, professional dancer Pasha Kovalev.

Rachel spoke to the Express.co.uk about the importance of sport to her growing up, as well as how keeping fit has also been essential to her as an adult.

Speaking about her hobbies during lockdown, Rachel explained that she enjoys being outdoors.

She said: “When I’m doing something that occupies my mind, whether that’s walking around the park, being outdoors, being active, or taking Maven on her scooter, I find that it gives me headspace and I can occupy my mind on something else.

“Before I was pregnant, I used to love going to Zumba and I used to cycle everywhere,” Rachel added.

The TV presenter gave birth to her baby daughter, Maven, in December 2019, therefore she has not been able to be as active as she would have liked due to new parenting duties and, later, the UK’s multiple national lockdowns.

Rachel said: “I’m really looking forward to when things open again.

“Pasha promised to go and play squash with me, so hopefully we can have childcare booked in every now and again and go and have a bit of time just for us to go and chase a ball around,” she added.

“I’m not really one for the gym, I find that kind of thing really boring.”

Rachel explained that she always been a fan of sport, and when she was growing up she used to “really love football and netball”.

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She continued: “I was into netball, athletics, rounders, football, but when I was about 16, I was at an all-girls school and they didn’t offer any sport for A Levels.

“So, I did a bit of jogging around the block and I hated it.

“It wasn’t until I got to university that I started playing team sports again.”

Rachel empahsised the mental health benefits of sport too, making the campaign with Always even more important for girls and young women.

She said: “You learn so much from sport: the teamwork, confidence, resilience, how to be vocal, and other transferable skills.

“I think for your own self esteem it’s important to have something within yourself that can give you a sense of self-worth. So, whether that’s sports or maths, or something you’re good at or have worked hard at,” Rachel added.

“Something that’s about you, that you’re in control of – rather than external factors.”

Rachel also mentioned keeping fit with her daughter and how she will encourage her to play sports too when she is old enough to do so.

“Even now, Maven is mega active. She loves going quickly on her scooter and she loves dancing. When a song she likes comes on, she forces me and Pasha to stand up and dance,” Rachel explained.

The TV presenter added that doing exercise or sport with your children is a great opportunity for you to try something new.

She said that fitness of any kind gives you “a sense of satisfaction” and “a bit of a poke to put our phones down or turn our emails off”.

“If you’ve got that hour a week, or whatever it is, to do that [exercise], I think it’s really beneficial,” Rachel said.

As well as exercising together, Rachel’s family eat the same healthy foods as each other too, and all three follow a vegan diet.

Rachel said: “I just love seeing Maven eat healthy food. She eats what we eat: avocado, sweet potato, and hummus. You are what you eat and she’s just happy and healthy.”

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