Active Suffolk reacted quickly to news of a rapid decline in female participation in sport and physical activity due to the pandemic, by launching an online event which saw 302 local women participating in activity.
The virtual event led by the This Girl Can Suffolk team was arranged following reports published by Sport England which suggested that in the 7 months following the first lockdown, the number of women doing 30 minutes of physical activity five days per week or more had fallen by a staggering 12%, with only 23% of women across the UK now participating in this level of exercise.
Laura Beale, Marketing Executive at Active Suffolk said:
“This Girl Can is a Sport England initiative and at Active Suffolk, we lead on the campaign locally where we share the mission to inspire, motivate and support local women and girls to participate sport and physical activity, regardless of size, age, shape and ability.
Our virtual event was the first of its kind in Suffolk and it could not have come at a better time following the announcement of our third national lockdown. “
She went on to say:
“Research from Women In Sport suggest that physical activity levels amongst women declined due to several reasons including time, restricted access to facilities and a lack of confidence. The aim of the online event was to provide a range of activities which women could access from the comfort of their home.
We have been overwhelmed by the number of women that participated in the week of events and the feedback has been extremely positive.”
The event which ran from Monday 18th – Friday 22nd January offered women across the county the opportunity to try new activity with classes ranging from seated pilates to high intensity interval training. In addition, the week also offered workshops on mindfulness, plus talks with local This Girl Can ambassadors and partners such as Suffolk Mind who highlighted the benefits of physical activity on our mental health.
Tracey Crawley, owner of BossBody Fitness delivered daily physical activity taster sessions throughout the event. She told us:
“I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the This Girl Can virtual activity week. Throughout the week I delivered sessions to women of all ages and I even had some mums working out with their daughters which was fantastic to see. I even had some women that hadn’t used zoom before and who didn’t have any gym equipment, but they still didn’t allow any barriers to stop them getting involved and having fun! I loved seeing women trying something new, having fun and smiling – it’s exactly what we all needed!”
Amy Bramwell from Ipswich participated in several online events throughout the week and tells us:
“I took part in the ‘This Girl Can Suffolk Virtual Activity Week’ and really loved it. I joined a virtual Yoga Flow and a Fitness Pilates session, which were both well-attended. Time flew and I enjoyed every minute.
The Yoga Flow session helped me to de-stress, whereas Fitness Pilates challenged my balance and core strength, in a good way! The instructor for both, Tracey Crawley, was friendly and explained each move clearly; it was easy to keep up and sometimes I even forgot it was a virtual session.
The activities were a welcomed addition to my week - they got me moving in ways I wouldn’t usually and gave me ideas of alternative ways to exercise in the future. I’d love to get involved with any other future events Active Suffolk organises!”
Whilst for some participants the physical activity taster sessions offered something new which could be carried out from the comfort of their own home, the event also helped women who were active prior to the lockdown to reintroduce routine, get back to activity and reconnect with others.
Since 80% of group fitness classes are attended by women and social connection is identified as being one of the key motives for older women to participate in activity, the variety of sessions really did help to tick boxes for so many women in Suffolk.
Lynne participated in several sessions throughout the activity week and she told us:
“I had the most wonderful week, enjoying all these new activities. Thoroughly enjoyed every moment. The sessions lifted my mood and have motivated me to get fitter. Thank you, Active Suffolk, for putting this excellent programme together. Count me in next time!”
For more information about This Girl Can in Suffolk and to find out more about upcoming events and opportunities, visit www.activesuffolk.org/tgcsuffolk
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For more information about the This Girl Can project in Suffolk, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
See the full Sport England report here: https://indd.adobe.com/view/793b48d5-bbcd-4de3-a50f-11d241a506b3
See the full Women in Sport report here: https://www.womeninsport.org/research-and-advice/our-publications/lockdown/
For more information about This Girl Can and the local project, visit https://www.activesuffolk.org/this-girl-can