My interest in being active started from a young age; PE was always my favourite lesson at primary and secondary school. PE was a 60 whole minutes where we didn't have to sit next to someone we didn't really get along with, read a textbook for an hour or listen to a teacher talk about something I wasn't interested in. PE was a time to release stress, get covered in mud, work with others and have fun moving around. My love for the subject resulted in me choosing to study GCSE PE where I am pleased to say I achieved an A*.
In lessons I always remember about half of the girl's class 'forgetting' their PE kit or forging sick notes from their parents to get out of joining in with the activity. When I was younger I found this frustrating as it meant that there weren't many other girls in the class to form teams with- I'd much rather have been joining in with the boy groups. After seeing the initial This Girl Can video in 2015, I started to understand some of the reasons as to why the girls might not have wanted to join in.
In my teenage years I used wear a different sports top for PE because I was so self-conscious about my sweat showing through my sports uniform. At the time I couldn't think of anything worse than being judged by the girls who were sat on out on the bench. As a consequence of the campaign, I'm now impressed with myself if I have a sweat patch showing because I know that I've worked my chunky and funky butt off for it and I don't care what anyone else thinks. Looking back, I wish that I had taken this approach to physical activity as well as general life sooner.
As a squash player, the majority of my time playing has been spent competing against and training with other males due to the lack of females in the sport. One of the main reasons for becoming an ambassador was to particularly increase the amount of females being active within this sport. Squash is a very intense exercise that can burn many calories within minutes, however as it is not a sport that is regularly taught in schools or televised, many people do not even know what squash is. Moreover, I trained as a Level 1 Squash Coach to try and encourage more individuals to give the sport a try.
My love for the campaign definitely blossomed when I was studying at college. From previously participating in an after school sport every day, I found my levels of activity were dropping when I transitioned to college and my weight increased. There were many barriers (excuses) in the way (bus timetables being the biggest issue) which I had to somehow get around. I applied to become a TGC ambassador for the Association of College Sport at 16. I was lucky enough to get selected out of 70 other females my age, it involved a trip to the Queen Victoria Olympic Park for a training day where I learnt more about the campaign as well as tips and tricks on how to get more girls being and remaining active. Following this, I organised activity sessions with the help of others, specifically aimed at females. The sessions included Zumba, cricket, glow in the dark badminton and slack lining. The purposes of these sessions were to spread the word that you don't have to play a sport to be physically active.
After leaving college and now being in a full-time job, I am still trying to find different ways of being active and healthier. Recently I have tried new activities with friends like Salsa – I was rubbish but it was a great laugh and a good workout. Additionally, I am now running (or should I say jogging) my way through the Couch to 5K app, something I never ever would have said a few years ago. Topping all of the above, I now have a puppy called Charlie who keeps me active every day!
The main thing I have taken away from the campaign is to not 'give a monkeys' about what anyone thinks of you exercising if it's what you want to do. Also, the best advice I would give to anyone wanting to become or remain active is to find an activity you enjoy AND get a puppy!
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