Sport England launches campaign to help more women lead active lifestyles

The 'This Girl Can' campaign features real women who have found ways to break down the barriers between them and physical activity

A new campaign led by Sport England aimed at tackling the barriers that stop some women leading an active lifestyle will launch tonight.

‘This Girl Can’ will premiere during tonight’s episode of Coronation Street, with promotional material featuring real women exercising alongside slogans such as ‘sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox’.

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Sport England discovered that two million fewer 14 to 40-year-old women played sport regularly than their male counterparts, although 75 per cent claim they want to be more active.

The campaign aims to empower women and celebrate those who have found ways to break down the barriers between them and exercise.

Grace Monksfield Hammond, who features in a print advert for the campaign, told the Daily Mail: “I have always been active, and now I incorporate exercise into my everyday life by cycling all over London whether that's to get to work, to go out in the evening, or wherever.

“I'm not an athlete, and I wouldn't describe myself as super fit - nor am I fast on my bike.

“When I first started cycling I didn't want to be taken seriously as I'm not an athlete, far from it, so I put flowers on my bike.”

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In a separate study, conducted by Melbourne’s Deakin University, researchers found that incidental exercise could save lives and money.

Many of us experience incidental exercise from active travel – such as walking to the train station in the morning, or cycling to the shops to pick up a few groceries.

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“Giving people a choice whether they take public transport, walk, cycle or drive has major impacts on health outcomes, both at an individual level and for the whole population,” Dr Margaret Beavis, who headed the study, said.

“The World Health Organisation declared physical activity a “best buy” in 2012 when it comes to disease prevention, because 30 minutes exercise daily significantly improves outcomes in so many diseases and reduces premature death rates by 20-22 per cent.”

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.