The campaign ‘This Girl Can’ was recently launched to encourage more women to be active, whatever their shape, size, colour, ability and so on. ‘This Girl Can’ has got people talking about some of the real reasons a lot of women don’t exercise, the ‘I can’t go to the gym until I’ve lost weight’ worries and the ‘I don’t look like the other women at the fitness class’ concerns. They’re not true, but they’re powerful and they hold many women back. It’s no wonder these doubts are so pervasive when every woman being active in advertising is toned, smiling, sweat-free and looking gorgeous. That’s why ‘This Girl Can’ is such a breath of fresh air, because fitness is for all women, it’s important for all of us to be active, and it’s about time the media reflected this.
The confidence that comes with exercise is not just the confidence to do it however, but the confidence gained from it. The benefits of being active involve far more than a physical change. Exercising regularly boosts your mood and your self esteem, and not just because you’re seeing your body change, although that is part of it. Exercising is something you are doing purely for yourself – it’s time dedicated to looking after your health and improving your lifestyle. Before I got into fitness, the sing-along-question ‘what have you done today to make you feel proud?’ was one I rarely had an answer for, now I find myself singing it in my post-workout showers because that is what exercising is: something you can always feel good about.
If you’re looking after your body, you’re relationship with it changes too. I used to have the mind-set that my wobbly bits and tubby tummy was just the hand I’d been dealt; some girls get to be slim, some girls have to live with being bigger, ho hum, so is life. Now that I’m actually taking the time to give myself a healthy body, I know this is simply not true. Feeling in control is a massive boost to your body confidence. It doesn’t matter if you’re not at your ‘goal weight’ or as toned as you’d like to be yet, you can look in the mirror knowing that you’re making positive changes, you’re a work in progress, and you’re learning to work out because you love your body, not because you hate it.
As much as exercising can be fun, if we’re all honest, it usually isn’t. It’s usually bloody hard work, and if you’re trying to beat a personal best, it can be such a killer. This however is what brings about the confidence. But this confidence is not just something you get in the 10 minute walk home from the gym, you begin to see it in all areas of your life. If you’re someone who pushes themselves in order to be the healthiest they can be, the way you’ll view yourself and your capabilities in all areas of life will become more positive. Exercise, both when you’re doing it, and the will-power to keep it a habit in your life, is hard, but knowing that you’re someone who gets on with it to get the results does wonders for your self esteem. The best thing about exercise is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out from being a couch potato, or whether you’ve been doing it for years and training for a marathon, it gives the same confidence boost to everyone, and can bring positivity into the daily life of anyone.