I am passionate about staying fit and healthy. I like the odd treat every now and again - who doesn’t? - but I want to be comfortable in my own skin, feel healthy and, if I have to run for that bus, I want to be able to do it in style. The ‘This Girl Can’ campaign is really striving to make it ok for us ladies to sweat and own it when we do, and I think that is awesome. Obesity is a major problem that must be addressed. Young children need to do physical activity and play sport from a young age, and we adults need to honest with ourselves and take charge.
The Lancet medical journal published last year that 67% of men and 57% of women are either overweight or obese, and more than a quarter of children are also overweight or obese – 26% of boys and 29% of girls. I find this incredibly worrying. Children are given endless opportunities to take part in different sports in schools - they can join football, rugby, cricket, swimming, athletics, gymnastic, dance and cheerleading teams. There are initiatives and campaigns such as ‘This Girl Can’ happening all the time, but are we doing enough to bring about change?
I believe to get change we need to start in nurseries. If children are encouraged to take up physical activity from a very young age it will become second nature to them, so that when they start school it will become a natural progression to join a sports team, to join extra-curricular activities after school, to stay active because they have been doing it from as long as they can remember. I was very active at a young age, I learnt to ski, ride a bike and did ballet all before I started school. This put me in good stead going forward - the whole way through school I was active and I played sport, I joined in every PE lesson, I represented my school and county in swimming and I did ballet and jazz dance up to a high level.
Adults need to take charge, we need to lead by example, we need to be showing children and young people the way in regards to fitness and staying healthy. ‘This Girl Can’ is a start to getting women into exercise; healthy eating initiatives are a start to educate people on how to eat healthy, but we as adults, mums, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers and leaders need to lead the way in showing our children and young people it is OK to get hot, red and sweaty.
Its not about being skinny, it’s about feeling good.
Managing Director The London Cheerleaders