Exercise like no one is watching
by SANDI MILLER
9th March 2020
WOMEN ARE constantly bombarded with imagery of women with so-called “perfect” bodies working out without even breaking a sweat.
It sends a message that there is something wrong with us if we don’t look like that.
Women should not feel like exercise isn’t for them because they don’t have a six-pack or the latest active wear.
That’s why This Girl Can celebrates all women’s bodies getting active — wrinkles, jiggles, red-faces and all.
The campaign, which features real Victorian women instead of professional athletes or toned Instagram models, last year inspired an incredible one in five Victorian women to get moving.
The campaign is empowering women to smash their fears of judgement and intimidation holding them back from being active.
Before the campaign, VicHealth research showed a staggering 52 per cent of Victorian women worried about being judged while exercising.
Now over three quarters of women who’ve seen the campaign feel it has helped women increase their confidence and overcome their fear of being judged when being active.
More than 400,000 Victorian women have been empowered to get active as a result of the This Girl Can campaign.
The This Girl Can launch in Nillumbik was attended by Eltham local and Richmond AFLW star Sabrina Frederick, who said public life was a “constant battle between what other people think and what you are doing”.
“When I started playing football, it was a very male-dominated sport and you get it into your head that it’s not for you or you’re not strong enough,” she said.
“But as time goes on you get more confident.
“Over time you realise it’s not about other people, it’s about what you want to do and what you want to achieve.”
VicHealth’s Melanie Fineberg says the program isn’t about making women feel bad about not exercising enough, it’s about celebrating what they can do, whether that’s a walk around the block or a few laps of the pool.
“We want to help women focus on the feeling of being active, instead of their worries about being judged, by showing a range of everyday women being physically active regardless of their background, ability, age or body shape,” Melanie said.
Women can get involved in a range of fun, inclusive, free or low-cost events being held right across the state as part of This Girl Can Week kicking off on March 23.
Local councils are offering a range of programs as part of the initiative.
Spokesperson for Manningham said: “Council is committed to helping women in Manningham to get more active and lead healthy lifestyles”.
She said to support active living, Council is focused on establishing programs that encouraging physical activity and reducing barriers to participation.
Manningham Council is offering over 30 free classes and activities to women of all ages.
A local highlight is free dancing in the dark with No Lights No Lycra (NLNL).
On Wednesdays, March 18 and 25 2020 Manningham Council is hosting NLNL in the Warrandyte Mechanics Hall.
At this event the lights will be turned off and the tunes will be cranked up so participants can release their inhibitions, move their moods and work up a wild sweat.
NLNL organiser Kim Hunting Thompson said these classes were an extension of the existing popular program she runs at the Mechanics Hall each week.
Kim says Council have also invited her to run the program in Templestowe on Mondays during This Girl Can Week.
Registration for these free sessions is available through the Manningham Council website.
Manningham are also hosting come-and-try clinics in AFL, Hockey, Netball, Volleyball and Lawn Bowls, as well as bike riding lessons and social walks.
Nillumbik Council’s Communications Officer Natalie Town said Nillumbik took part in the program for the first time last year.
“It was such a success we are doing it again this year,” she said.
All of Nillumbik’s five sport and leisure centres and the Yarrambat Golf Course are getting involved again, as are many local sporting clubs.
Eltham Leisure Centre is offering special free classes from March 23–29, everything from Meditation to Spin classes, to Zumba, with free childcare for some sessions.
For more details and to register go to elthamleisurecentre.com.au
Yarrambat Park Golf Course is offering free golf for women during This Girl Can Week, with clubs supplied, plus special clinics for women.
Full details at mygolf.org.au and search ‘Yarrambat’.
Or for something a bit different, head to Skaterz in Eltham for some Roller Derby action.
Find activities and register for events at thisgirlcan.com.au or via your Council’s website: nillumbik.vic.gov.au/thisgirlcan or manningham.vic.gov.au/thisgirl-can.