I should probably confess that I haven’t been running much over winter, but I was inspired to go today when I watched the video for Sport England’s new #thisgirlcan campaign. The basic aim of this is to encourage women – no matter what age, size, profession etc – to get out and get active. And it is awesome.
The thing I really like about this campaign is that it understands how tough it can be to motivate yourself to exercise – particularly if you lack confidence. If this strikes a chord with you, then you are definitely not alone: in fact 75% of women interviewed by Sport England wanted to be more active, but were worried about being judged by others when trying out new sports and activities. That’s why the main message of #thisgirlcan is one of empowerment: no matter what age you are, how you look, or how quickly you pick up a new sport, there is no reason that you can’t enjoy being active.
You don’t have to compete or ‘win’ at anything if you don’t want to – although setting goals (such as a half marathon for runners) can be a great way to motivate yourself. Personally I run just for the fun of it – because I like feeling myself get fitter as the weeks go by, and because the endorphin rush from pushing myself that bit further is even better than the one I get from eating a whole bar of Mint Aero. Sure it’s not always easy – sometimes I just can’t keep going for that last few minutes, and sometimes I slip on mud and fall down a hill in front of the entire local branch of the Rambler’s Association. But the beauty of exercise is that you can always try again, and eventually you’ll get there.
If you’re looking to make a change in your life and get a real sense of achievement into the bargain, there really is no better way to go about it. Clare Balding (one of my idols, and a key supporter of the campaign) said it best: “exercise changes the way you look at life. You stop seeing boundaries, and start seeing opportunities.”
#thisgirlcan. And so can you.