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.

women cant run 100 metres

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.

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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%)

Sign the petition here

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  • Rebecca Adlington

    Swimming 800m Freestyle Final: 03/08/2012

  • Victoria Pendleton

    Cycling, Women's Individual Sprint

  • Sarah Stevenson MBE

    Taekwondo Women's -67kg Final: 10/08/2012

  • Keri-Anne Payne

    Swimming 10km Final: 09/08/2012

  • Fran Halsall

    Swimming 100m Freestyle Final: 02/08/2012

  • Hannah Mills & Saskia Clarke

    Sailing 470 Class Final: 10/08/2012

  • Helen Glover & Heather Stanning

    Rowing Pair Final: 01/08/2012

  • Kath Grainger & Anna Watkins

    Rowing Double Scull Final: 03/08/2012

  • Mhairi Spence

    Pentathlon Final: 12/08/2012

  • Women's Hockey Team GB

    Women's Hockey Final: 10/08/2012

  • Laura Bechtolsheimer

    Equestrian Individual Dressage Final: 08/08/2012

  • Mary King

    Equestrian Eventing Final: 30/07/2012

  • Shanaze Reade

    Cycling BMX Final: 10/08/2012

  • Laura Trott

    Cycling Omnium Final: 07/08/2012

  • Nicola Adams

    Boxing Flyweight 51kg Final: 09/08/2012

  • Savannah Marshall

    Boxing Middleweight 75kg Final: 09/08/2012

  • Christine Ohurugu

    Athletics 400m Final: 05/08/2012

  • Jessica Ennis

    Hepthalon Final: 04/08/2012

British People Among The Least Active Nation In The World

“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...

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  • 10 Inspiring Ways To Think Yourself Fit

    How to 'think yourself fit' this spring by fitness trainer and coach <a href="http://www.timweeks.co.uk/" target="_hplink"><strong>Tim Weeks</strong></a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/tim_weeks" target="_hplink"><strong>Follow Tim on Twitter</strong></a>

  • Enjoy It

    If there is no passion in what you do, even the greatest motivation power wont get you over the first hurdle. Loving what you do makes the whole 'fitness experience' a lot of fun. Think of it like your job: hate your job and the week drags by. Love your job and nothing is ever a problem and motivation is constantly high.

  • Give Yourself Plenty Of Options

    Due to your natural peaks and troughs of ones mood (especially for women due to menstrual cycle), you need to have 4 or 5 different activities to choose from depending on your mood.   If you really can't be bothered, having an easy option like a walk will mean you don't need superhero powers to motivate yourself to get off the sofa.  Try as many different activities as you can until you find a few that 'click'.

  • Set Yourself A Challenge

    However cliché this sounds, it works. This doesn't necessarily mean signing up to the London marathon or climbing Everest. It might be trying to complete a lap of the park jogging without walking.

  • Invest In A Decent Trainer

    Anyone can write a programme. The real talented trainers out there have something very special about them.   Look at Jose Mourhino. Love him or hate him. He has an amazing ability to motivate people and unlock peoples potential to allow them to reach new heights.  Having that 'motivator' at your side should be able to unlock that 'belief' within you that everyone has. Look for someone who is interested in your long term development. They can actually help you put all of these 10 items in this list into place.  Not just getting ready for the beach in 4 weeks time.

  • Build A Fortress Around You

    'Stuff' happens in life that you have to deal with as you go along (good or bad). Build a support network of good people around you for when bad times arrive. It therefore means you don't always have to rely on will power. Having good people around you can actually kick start your motivation for you without you even realising.

  • Share Your Achievements

    If you get feedback from another person, their enthusiasm can help you feel valued. If you feel good about yourself, you naturally enter a self generating positive motivation cycle.

  • Have An Incentive

    This may sound ridiculous but it can work.  Put a chart on your fridge for 10 sessions.  When you have completed all 10, treat yourself. Buy an item like a handbag, a pair of shoes or a book. The physical item is a nice reminder to yourself of how amazing you are and what you have achieved.

  • Have A Fitness Buddy

    Sometimes having a friend giving you a kick up the bum is really helpful. You can actually motivate each other. Especially useful if one can't be bothered.

  • Don't Go Over The Top

    If you go over the top and set yourself totally unrealistic goals (eg I am going to exercise everyday) the low you feel is VERY low. You then need superhuman motivational powers to get back on track.  Don't put yourself in the position in the first place.

  • Take Time Off

    If you exercise regularly, at some point you will hit a motivational lull. Therefore, when you go on holiday, enjoy yourself. Forget exercise.  It will recharge your brain so you get back that hunger.