Women in Sport is a charity which was founded in 1984 with the aim of giving women and girls throughout the UK the chance to experience and benefit from getting involved in sport
The charity researches and educates ways in which girls and women can stay engaged with sport and physical activity at key stages throughout their lives, when they may be more at risk of losing interest, such as puberty, going to university, pregnancy and later on in life, in menopause.
We have recently seen in the media news of bullying in sports such as gymnastics and dance such as ballet, and so the charity aims to change the culture of sport so that sexism and discrimination become a thing of the past.
One of Women in Sport’s latest campaigns was to encourage mums and daughters to get active together to help build and improve their relationship, both with each other and with exercise.
As a mum it is always difficult to put yourself first when you have a busy family life. Only 32 per cent of women said they couldn’t prioritise exercise during lockdown as they had too much to do for others (Women in Sport, Lockdown Research, 2020). So, the aim of the campaign is to inspire mums and daughters to be active and find something they enjoy doing together.
Currently only 42 per cent of teenage girls meet physical activity guidelines and just under a third of girls (32 per cent) are inactive, engaging in less than average of 30 minutes activity per day (Sport England Active Lives Children and Young People Survey Academic Year 2018/2019).
But what kind of things can you do together? In Lancashire we’re lucky that we’re not too far from the countryside, beaches or parks, so the obvious one is to go for a walk and you can have a good catch up at the same time. But why not try something different? There are many socially distanced dance classes you can join, some offer a free trial lesson to see if you like it before signing up.
Or why not take up a couch to 5k? Having a running buddy will help you motivate each other. Set yourself a goal and encourage each other along the way.
Get on your bike. The first lockdown saw a massive increase in the number of people cycling. Not only is it a great way to keep fit, but there are now an increased number of cycle routes to suit every level of cyclist. From off road biking on Preston’s Guild Wheel, to a leisurely ride along the Lancaster canal. What’s more there are several women only cycling groups making it a sociable activity to meet new people at the same time.
Stephanie Hilborne, CEO of Women in Sport says: “As we come out of the second lockdown, we should not seek to return to the way it was. We’ve heard that women are changing their mindsets and wanting to prioritise sport and exercise.” And that can only be a good thing.
Try and establish exercise early on in your child’s life. Girls are traditionally less physically active than boys. However, if they are already used to walking and doing activities as a family, they will be more inclined to get involved in different types of sport as they get older and spend less time on their phones.
Encourage them to try new sports classes at school, whatever it is. They won’t like everything and they won’t always be good at it, but it’s a chance for them to find out.
As women get older, around menopause, they can start to put on weight and that and age may become a barrier to not doing anything, so it’s equally important that daughters try to encourage their mums to get some regular exercise, at least 150 minutes per week.
Being active together, whether inside or out, can be a positive and bonding experience. So, take time out for yourself and your daughter and make time together.
For ideas, webinars, research, podcasts and events visit: womeninsport.org