This Girl Can....Will you?

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Nov. 16, 2016, 5:20 p.m.

Be honest about your fitness fears to discover your perfect sports programme, says Victoria Sanderson.

I am a self-confessed culture vulture. It is surprising therefore that one of the most inspiring things I watched in 2016 was not a play or a film; it was a presentation by Sport England’s Head of Brand and Digital, Kate Dale about the success of sports marketing campaign ‘This Girl Can’.

Based on powerful insight, ‘This Girl Can’ got 2.8 million women exercising with a ground-breaking, fresh and honest portrayal of physical activity that reshaped the language around women and exercise.

Women raised fears over lack of ability, appearance and choosing to spend time on themselves, rather than on their families; it was actually easier to avoid exercise then deal with the emotions stirred up.

Accompanying straplines were sassy; “If at first you don’t succeed, freestyle”, “Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox”, “I jiggle, therefore I am”, “My gameface has lipstick on” and (my personal favourite) “I kick balls. Deal with it”.

Empowering huh?

Firstly, as an arts marketeer I have a professional interest in successful marketing campaigns that really ‘speak’ to their intended audience.Secondly, and more importantly, this campaign resonated deeply with me on a personal level; why am I not exercising more? I questioned myself.

When I reflect upon the question this time round (and actually ‘get real’ with myself) I am genuinely surprised by my answers.

In all honesty, I could have made the time; I wasn’t making the most of it because I simply wasn’t enjoying it.I wasn’t enjoying it because, deep down, I really wanted to attend the group classes but I was only using the gym, exercising alone (and getting bored).Why hadn’t I joined one of the classes?I asked myself.Then it dawned on me loud and clearly: I hadn’t enrolled because I didn’t think I’d be good enough.

Yet here I was, avoiding the type of physical activity I enjoy because of a fear of judgement.

So far I’ve hula hooped (yes, it is as fun as it sounds, no you don’t use your hips), spinning (the struggle is real my friend) and I’m looking forward to January’s Pilates course with Active Enfield (hope to see some of you there).

Have you asked yourself lately ‘why am I not exercising more?’Are you avoiding exercise out of a fear of judgement (be it yours or those of others)?Getting clear about what those fears and barriers are will allow you navigate them and formulate an action plan that is rewarding and works for you.

‘”I don’t have enough time”

Use a little creativity to build some exercise in to your day.Can you get up earlier to fit in a ‘pre-work’ work-out?Could you use your lunch hour to go for a brisk walk or could you ditch the car and walk to work instead?Is it possible to re-shape some of your family time so that you build in regular bike rides or swimming sessions with the kids?Check out Enfield Active’ Move More Campaign for bite-sized tips on getting fit by being active for 10 minutes, 3 times a day.

“Exercise is expensive”

Enfield Active offers a range of low-cost options when it comes to working out in the borough.Visit the website to explore the affordable programme of group classes available to residents or take advantage of one of the flexible membership packages offered by Fusion at the borough’s leisure centres. At home, why not buy a DVD for a work-out in your living room or visit the Enfield Council website to discover which of the borough parks near you offers a free gym?

“Exercise is boring”

There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to sport; you have to identify what fits best with your lifestyle and works best for your individual tastes.Why not explore the ‘Try before you buy’ taster sessions and gym passes on offer (I’ll be cha cha cha-ing to Active Enfield’s Ballroom & Latin Dance taster session soon…).Bring a friend along to gossip with while working your glutes on the cross trainer or simply mix up your routine (Take a leaf out of my fitness programme and try a range of classes to keep boredom at bay).

“I’m worried about my appearance”

We all sweat and no one looks their finest at the gym.Fact.Just accept that and let it go.Pat yourself on the back for getting yourself off the couch and in to the gym; you’re making a commitment to your health and your confidence will grow in time. If you’re still feeling self-conscious why not go solo at home first and buy an exercise DVD or, failing that, promote a trusted friend to the role of fitness buddy!Not only will you encourage one another but you can be silly together and have a laugh too.

Can we help bust your barriers?

There are ample opportunities to get active in Enfield, including:

  • Fusion offers seven leisure centres across Enfield, each offering state-of-the-art gym facilities and an exciting group class timetable.
  • Active Enfield offers affordable and accessible physical activity courses for borough residents throughout the community in schools and workplaces.
  • Head to www.activeenfield.co.uk to find out more about Move More and get active for 10 minutes, 3 times a day.
  • A wide range of independent sports clubs and initiatives (if you are one, by the way, and want to appear on our website then please get in touch)

If you have any ideas for courses that you wish to see as part of the Active Enfield programme then let me know.

To join a leisure centre in Enfield visit www.fusion-lifestyle.com

To find out more about Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign visit www.thisgirlcan.co.uk

Victoria Sanderson | Victoria.sanderson@enfield.gov.uk | @EnfieldVix

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