Mums have to be one of the most active groups around — when does it ever stop? But making time specifically for exercise is a great way to boost your mood, as well as your metabolism. You don’t have to run marathon, or even join a gym. Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign has lots of ideas on fitting fitness into your routine. Why not try some this week?
This Girl Can is a celebration of active women up and down the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets. For more about This Girl Can, go to www.thisgirlcan.co.uk where you can find out more about the women in the campaign, get tips on how to get active and which sports might best suit you, and join the national debate.
The campaign comes as research, carried out by Sport England, reveals that by every measure, fewer women than men play sport regularly – two million fewer 14-40 year olds in total. Despite this, 75 per cent say they want to be more active. In some other European countries, this disparity doesn’t exist. Further research into what’s stopping women turning their ambitions into reality found that a fear of judgement – on appearance, ability or how they chose to spend time on themselves – puts women of all ages off exercising. The findings were the driving force behind the campaign’s creation, which aims to empower women and encourage more to get active.
Kelly, 31, is a single working mum of three from Bury, near Manchester. Kelly has found a distinct way to fit exercise into her life since she had her third child – by working out at home, with her children.
What’s the campaign about?
It’s about celebrating active women everywhere so we can give girls and women of all shapes, sizes and abilities and ages the confidence to be more involved in sport and exercise. Girls and women worry about how they look when they exercise and whether they’re any good at it – they’re worried about being judged for that. Mums even worry that people will judge them for spending a bit of time on themselves. All that worry puts women off doing more sport and exercise. But the reality is that none of that matters – It doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it, the important thing is that you’re doing it in the first place.
What made you decide to get involved in the campaign?
What this campaign stands for is really close to my heart and I wanted to be part of something that could make a real difference and really give women more confidence to get involved in more sport and exercise.
What has been your biggest triumph?
My biggest triumph has been returning to the dress size I was before I had any of my three children, a goal which I never thought I could achieve as a single mum with no time to exercise. It’s not been an easy journey but I’ve worked exercise into part of my family life and it’s really paid off.
What difference has it made to you physically?
I am now back down to my original dress size and feel happy, confident and positive. I have the energy to fit extra activities into my day like go out with my children after work instead of always feeling tired, it’s great.
How often do you work out? What’s your usual routine/work out?
I work out three times a week the majority of times from my living room using an exercise video I download online. You don’t have to go to the gym to be able to be active. Once a month when the children’s grandmother looks after them I go for a swim.
How do you balance the conflicting needs of children versus personal fitness?
Get them involved! They love it too, especially my exercises that involve the big stability ball! It’s a fun activity we often do together and means I get quality time with them too.
Do you think it’s important to be a role model for your children?
Absolutely! It’s part of our family routine and I think it’s really important that exercise is incorporated into their life from a young age. My youngest, aged 23 months, knows the word “exercise” and bobs up and down when I say it so she’s getting the hang of it already! I think balance in life is important and I really hope I’m a role model they can be proud of.
Do you think everyone can be a ‘sports woman’?
Yes definitely – it’s a state of mind that you have to overcome first and once you’ve done that you’re set. I used to do absolutely nothing and little by little started working it into my life – I really believe any girl can.
Best piece of advice you could give somebody?
Start small and build it up little by little. You’ll soon feel positive and motivated and wonder why you hadn’t always been doing this – trust me the start is the hardest part!
What does This Girl Can mean to you?
It means the world! Whenever I think about This Girl Can it brings the biggest smile to my face. My absolute passion is living a healthy, active lifestyle and if I can inspire 1 or 10 or 100 girls to also be brave and give it a go then that means everything to me. This is my life now and This Girl Can is the icing on the cake.
Family247 tips for getting active with the kids
- Put some music on and throw shapes.
- Play football or Frisbee in the park.
- Run races to see who’s fastest.
- Play ‘it’ and other chasing games.
- Find workouts on YouTube everyone can try.
Great family workout tracks
- Changing – Sigma featuring Paloma Faith
- Everything is Awesome – Tegan & Sarah
- Happy – Pharrell Williams
- Tinga Tinga Tales Theme Tune – CBeebies
- I Like to Move It Move it – Will.i.am
- Kung Fu Fighting – Cee Lo Green
“If you work, go for a brisk half an hour walk in your lunchbreak. Listen to a podcast or audiobook makes it a break for body and mind.”
“Make a fitness date for yourself. Find a regular slot when family can look after the kids, and do something active that inspires you.”
“Buddy up with another mum for fitness playdates and do something active together.”
“Get a free fitness tracker app on your phone and see how many steps you can take.”
“Set targets and reward yourself – a new top if you work out twice a week for a month.”