Currently 22% of women are achieving 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times per week, compared to 35% during April of this year. This huge 13% drop is compared to a 5% decrease identified amongst men.
Women in Sport stated that 32% of women couldn’t prioritise doing exercise during the first lockdown as they had too much to do for others.
So come on ladies lets get active this winter and change these stats. I’m joining Suffolk’s This Girl Can Ambassadors in partnership with Suffolk Mind to complete the 100 mile challenge. If you need some inspiration you can follow our progress here. You can complete the challenge on your own or, restrictions permitting, join with friends, family, or colleagues to reach the milestone whist raising money for Suffolk Mind, it’s easy to sign up just head over to the Suffolk Mind website here.
Not sure how you want to cover 100 miles? Stuck for ideas to get out there in the colder months? Need some inspiration to get the family involved? Then I’m here to help with 10 ways to cover 100 miles. Whether you take the challenge on alone or in company it can be harder to stay active during the winter months and being stuck at home in lockdown but that’s no excuse to not get involved.
Running can be great fun and very sociable – you can run with a friend, make new friends with a beginners group, go to your local parkrun, or even head to a running club. You certainly don’t have to enter a race to enjoy running – just put on a pair of trainers and get out there doing what you want to do. Running is good for your heart and strengthens your bones and tendons. Getting outside, or hitting the treadmill can be a great way to clear your head and relax. It’s hard to fit everything into our busy lifestyles but you could make the school run more active, not only will the kids arrive to school more awake and full of energy, you’ll start your day the same way too, and exercising on the way home is a great way to wind down and reconnect as a family.
Swimming is a low impact exercise, but will work almost every muscle in your body without putting your joints under stress. It’s also a great form of physical rehabilitation. It’s a recreational activity enjoyed by many people either in open water, leisure clubs or public swimming pools. Open water swimming takes place in outdoor bodies of water such as the open sea, bays, lakes, rivers, canals and reservoirs. Are you brave enough to try paddling or swimming this winter? I think I might be needing my wetsuit to do any outside swimming as I’m a bit of a wimp!
Cycling is a great form of low impact exercise, so it’s good for your joints – particularly your knees. Cycling is also a great social activity – there are many female-friendly cycling groups and clubs out there that welcome all abilities, and it’s a great activity to enjoy with family and friends too. The health benefits of cycling aren’t just physical, getting active outdoors and enjoying the fresh air can have a great impact on your mental health and wellbeing.
Canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding are paddle sports, there are so many styles for you to choose from. Get close to nature as you take part of the activity and breath in the fresh air. Whether you want a relaxing pastime or adrenaline-pumping competition, paddling has something for everyone. Paddling is a great way to discover the peace and tranquillity of Britain’s waterways, explore stunning coastlines or challenge yourself on natural and manmade whitewater. Paddling is a low impact aerobic workout that can improve your aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. Getting outside and enjoying nature can also be good for your mental health.
Whether you climb to the top of a hill or just make it up your own flight of stairs it can be a great way to tot up some miles for the challenge. Studies have shown that walking up stairs at a moderate pace can be just as effective as running on the flat, and two to three times more effective than walking briskly on level ground. Whatever pace you do it, adding stairs into your fitness routine is a really efficient way to increase cardiovascular fitness, heart and lung health, as well as improving balance, power and agility.
If you want to find the highest point in your village or even your county to stand on top of it’s a great way of increasing that heart rate and seeing some great views.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and want to do some rock climbing or bouldering then good for you! Indoor climbing involves following a series of coloured grips, with different colours corresponding to a different level of difficulty. Your climbing partner, called the belayer, controls the rope that stops you from falling and preventing an injury. Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that doesn’t use ropes. Instead, you only climb a few metres off the ground with crash pads beneath you to cushion your fall. Climbing can be done indoors or outdoors, with a partner or as part of a group. It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy nature with friends and family, or a great way to meet new people by joining a climbing group. Climbing can help to improve strength keep your heart healthy.
6. Horse Ride
Horse riding is an excellent way to exercise and improve your balance, posture, coordination and flexibility. It strengthens your core body muscles, and provides a great cardiovascular workout. Riding can help to improve your sense of wellbeing as it has antidepressant effects associated with a drop in stress hormones. This is definitely one of my favourite ways of taking on the 100 mile challenge.
A brisk ten minute walk can make a huge difference to your health – it gets the heart pumping faster, can make you feel better, more energetic and improve your mood. Over time, brisk walking can help to lower the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Whether you’re walking to work, stepping out at lunchtime, walking to the shops or local park or taking the dog for a walk, brisk walking can be simple to fit into your everyday life.
Working out with your pets is a brilliant way to get active. You can play tug of war, throw a frisbee, or cycle alongside your dog instead of walking. You can even turn them into your running buddy and take them for a run! Canicross is cross-country running with dogs, where the dog is attached to your waist with a harness, and you run in a team! It’s a great way to keep you both fit and strengthen the bond between you and your pal. Getting outside into the fresh air every day will bring a host of mental and physical health benefits for you and your pooch – better sleep, good heart health, and lower stress levels. Throwing balls and frisbees are great for building upper body strength and coordination, and running around the house with your cat will be fun and double up as a good workout for you both.
8. Home Workouts
There are fitness apps and YouTube videos for every type of activity or exercise you can imagine. Stairs, chairs and household objects can be used to create your own indoor circuit class. Bodyweight exercises such as press ups, dips and wall sits are great for building strength and endurance in the chest, shoulders, core and legs.
We need a strong core for so much of everyday life and is great for aligning our bodies and preventing back injuries. A strong midriff helps with balance and stability, whether that’s whilst exercising or simply walking down the road, climbing stairs and lifting children – so it’s worth working on!
Incline press ups put less stress on your elbows and reduce the amount of weight you’re lifting so are a great way to build up to full press ups, and Russian twists are a good workout for the whole abdomen engaging all your core muscles.
Orienteering is an adventurous outdoor sport, providing a workout for the body and the mind. With the aim to find points marked on a map and choose the best route to complete the course in the fastest time, it can take place anywhere! Orienteering is a great cardiovascular workout which will help to improve your stamina, navigation and teamwork skills. Apart from the obvious benefit of being outdoors geocaching it’s another great way of getting active. You can get the whole family involved searching for a geocach box full of goodies.
Dancing is definitely one of the most fun methods of smashing out some mileage. This Girl Can have teamed up with Disney to share some dance routines so you can join in with the kids as well, check them out here.
If you’re not keen to do such high intensity dancing then maybe a bit of yoga will get you moving. Yoga and Pilates aim to improve full body strength, flexibility, balance, posture and coordination. Pilates has a particular emphasis on working your core muscles. Yoga and pilates also have great mental health benefits, providing an opportunity to relax, reflect and escape everyday stresses. Yoga specifically is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. The main components of yoga are poses, breathing and meditation.
There are only my top 10 ideas for completing your 100 mile challenge raising money for Suffolk Mind, there are plenty more ideas for covering some miles or want to know how to get started then head over to the This Girl Can website.
So get that fitness tracker on, your fitness app on your phone or the good old note pad and pen to record your mileage and let’s get active!