British women are almost twice as likely as men to be brought out in a cold sweat by the idea of running 100 metres, according to a survey of 2,065 people conducted by Slimming World and YouGov.
During an Olympics, when 36% of all Team GB medals have been won by female athletes, 56% of British women believe it would be difficult or impossible to run the distance compared to 31% of men.
When it was announced that the Olympics were to be held in London it was hoped that it would leave a legacy of a more active Britain, but the survey revealed that three out of four people (75%) in the UK never take part in competitive activity and more than half (55%) never take part in non-competitive activity either.
In contrast, six out of 10 men (59%) enjoy watching sport on TV at least once-a-week, with that figure likely to have risen during the Olympic season.
“These findings show how daunting the idea of physical activity can be for the many of us who lead completely sedentary lives,” says Carolyn Pallister, Slimming World’s public health manager, in a statement.
With more female competitors than ever, the London 2012 Olympics has been labelled “the best ever games for women” by Sue Tibballs, CEO of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation.
But, the CEO has also admitted there is far more to be done to boost the profile of women's sport and encourage more women to participate.
In July, the WSFF -- in association with Stylist magazine -- launched the Fair Game campaign, which is pushing for a formal inquiry into the coverage of women’s sport in the UK.
Here's what they are pledging to change:
- Only 5% of sports media coverage features women
- For every 53 articles written about sporting men, there is one about a woman
- Women’s sport receives only 0.5% of the total sponsorship income into sport (men get 62.1%)
“It’s easy to fall out of the habit of being active and the longer we go without doing it the less confident we feel. For people who are worried about their weight or poor fitness – and that’s the majority of the population – the thought of taking those first steps to a more active lifestyle can feel terrifying and, with busy lives, it’s easy to make excuses and decide that now just isn’t the right time to make a change.”
However, being more active does more than just keep you fit – it also improves health, boosts mood, reduces stress and builds confidence, says Pallister.
“With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that once people find a way of being active that works for them as an individual, it can quickly become a habit that they just couldn’t bear to give up.”
If you're struggling to get motivated, take a look at these inspiring tips on getting more active...