This Girl Can?

In March, my place of work, Ferndown Leisure Centre, explained how we were running training on “This Girl Can” and asked if I was able to attend. My first thought? What on earth is This Girl Can?! I found out in a 3 hour training afternoon with a bunch of my colleagues. This Girl Can is a Sport England initiative in aim to encourage more women to take part in exercise.

This brilliantly clever video should be able to shed some light for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsP0W7-tEOc

At first, I was sceptical, is this not sexist? Why target just women into exercise, what about men? I even raised this point with our tutor who assured there are many other sport England schemes in aim to encourage men into exercise and This Girl Can was created due to some shocking statistics. See below…

“2 million fewer women are regularly participating in sport or exercise than men, despite 75 per cent of women aged 14 to 40 saying they’d like to do more.” something needed to be done.

The scheme has recently received some great press from The Telegraph which is a great sign. Read more here.

Ferndown Leisure Centre (my place of work) is the only site in our area that will be starting This Girl Can, women only swimming sessions. I was so pleased to hear swimming would be the starting point for our centre as this sport is a passion of mine personally. Most women enjoy swimming as it can be a relaxed and enjoyable, social way to exercise. I know the health and physical benefits that swimming can achieve so I was happy to get behind this!

Some benefits of swimming include:

  • It targets the whole body

  • It helps you to improve in both cardio and muscular fitness

  • It targets otherwise under-used muscles

  • Anyone can do it – any age, ability, and pre, during and post pregnancy

  • You don’t have to be “good” at it to enjoy it, if you need to swim at 0mph and can only do breast stroke – that’s fine!

  • It’s low impact …which means it’s good for injury rehabilitation, and isn’t harsh on your joints etc.

  • It’s great for your lungs – when your face is under water, you need to use oxygen more efficiently, as you improve at this, it will in turn lead to a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure which would also benefit in other sports such as running.

  • Exercise alone produces endorphins that make you feel happier and less stressed, swimming is no exception!

There will be 2 a week: Tuesday’s at 2:40pm and Thursday’s at 9:30am. What’s the difference to just going to a public swimming session? With these sessions we will be holding tea and coffee meets afterwards within the centre to encourage the social aspect that exercise has to offer. “Activators” will be on hand to help, encourage, support, guide, offer advice etc. I myself will be an activator and I can’t wait to get started. For more information on these sessions please see our website http://www.placesforpeopleleisure.org/centres/ferndown-leisure-centre/. Sessions will be starting on Tuesday 12th April so please come along and get more active this Spring – with a little bit of help from us here at Ferndown Leisure!

Sport England describes more about the scheme on their website, read here. And This Girl Can has their own website that can be found here. They have used social media to promote the initiative using the hashtag #thisgirlcan – more found on their twitter or ours on @ferndownlc #thisgirlcan #teamFLC.

If you know anyone that could be helped or benefited by This Girl Can then please feel free to comment or contact me with any questions you may have! We hope for this to be a huge success and I’m glad to be a part of it.

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