Although we are seeing more people enter the fitness industry, studies show that women across the UK are less likely to partake in regular exercise than men.
The study from Sports England shows that women from BAME backgrounds and those working in lower income jobs are more inactive than other women, and this needs to be combatted if we want to change the nation’s fitness as a whole.
The study which analysed over 185,000 participants showed that women’s inactivity is something we need to focus on as professionals in the fitness industry and as members of the general public. Sports England have brought about a new initiative under the name of ‘Fit Got Real’, to combat the high level of inactivity among women.
This initiative is the next part of the #ThisGirlCan campaign, which was launched by Sports England back in 2015, which has since influenced millions of women across the UK to take up exercise or increase the amount of activity they partake in.
Although the campaign has motivated more women to stay active more regularly, it has also played a huge part in identifying what pushes women away from fitness; allowing the industry to identify room for improvement. The campaign has shown experts that women are staying away from fitness for a number of reasons, from having a lack of free time, to the perception of fitness and gym environments being judgemental.
Jennie Price, the Chief Executive of Sports England has said; “There are some stark inequalities when it comes to different levels of exercise amongst women in England. Many of the pressures of modern life do not make it easy for women to have the confidence and motivation to be active…”
These findings mirror exactly what the NHS stated as the main deterrents for older people that are in the ‘epidemic of inactivity’ and aren’t physically active. This means that as fitness professionals, we have some clear points to focus on if we want to help make fitness more appealing and accessible for all, as these patterns show us that things pushing people away from physical activity are the same among all ages and genders.
On top of fitness professionals being expected to make women’s fitness more appealing, Sports England’s new ‘Fit Got Real’ campaign sets out to do the same, with the aim of the initiative being to create awareness around the health benefits of fitness and celebrate women keeping fit in any way that they can.
The campaign consists of online and social media work, along with a short film covering some of the true stories of women’s journey to a healthier lifestyle; allowing women of all ethnicities, backgrounds and financial situations to see how they can aim to achieve the same.
One figure throughout the film is 36 year old Caroline, who has said; “I completely understand how easy it is to get into a routine of not going much exercise, but I feel so much happier and healthier from being more active. Even it’s a quick run up and down the garden, it’s better than nothing.” Following the stories of real-life people making real-life improvements to their fitness is a way that Sports England are making fitness more appealing, as previously, fitness campaigns seemed to focus solely on a young and already active audience.
This campaign holds huge potential when aiming to boost women’s fitness across the UK, as it is the only campaign that aims to combat the things pushing people away from physical activity. Showing the many ways (that are often unpractical and out of the ordinary) that women are keeping fit in their busy lifestyles is a way to show the women of the UK that they too can keep fit, regardless of their lifestyle.