For my first post of the New Year, I just wanted to flag up a couple of initiatives, starting with the WSFF’s She Moves campaign.
Its mission statement runs thus:
We’re like you: women who want to be fitter, healthier and happier. Like you, we struggle to squeeze exercise into everyday life. Like you, we want it to be fun and not a chore. Like you, we find it easier if we have support. She Moves aims to bring women together to share tips and advice on getting active, to support and inspire each other – to help women move more.
The plan is to encourage women to do more exercise and create a community of solidarity. Personally I have a few issues with the focus on “wobbly bits”, “spoiling our make-up” and “ruining our hair”, but the principles are laudable, and if you’ve made a resolution to get fitter this year, you should definitely check them out for ideas on how you can try out different forms of exercise – particularly when you’re struggling.
I also wanted to throw my hat in the air and cheer the Chance to Shine cricket foundation, who have had a major lottery funding boost, and who sent England captain Charlotte Edwards off to Oak Tree Primary School this week to celebrate their achievements.
The school is in a very challenging area of Mansfield (60-70% of children are eligible for free school dinners, while 80% come from one parent families), but since becoming involved in the Chance to Shine scheme in 2005 it has used cricket to turn the school around.
And that’s been for boys and girls – who won the national ASDA Kwik Cricket Competition last year and are unbeaten at local level for seven years. Their teacher Paul Gash told me this week that encouraging girls to play cricket isn’t just good for their fitness and their sporting prowess – they learn teamwork, they learn how to win and lose gracefully, and they gain confidence.
I hold out hope that in ten years’ time there’ll be no need to couch exhortations to exercise in stereotypically feminine terms. The twentysomething women of tomorrow, I trust, will already have experienced the benefits of sport first-hand – and they’ll know that participation and enjoyment in it isn’t just for boys.