“Real Women” need to feel free to exercise

Rachel CombeCulture

This morning I read with alarm that 41% of women (The Advertiser’s Tory Shepherd quoting Vic Health study) are embarrassed to exercise in public. That same study also shows 73% of women in Australia have low or sedentary activity levels.

These statistics are unnerving but not completely surprising based on my experience as a physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor over the last 20+ years. In the UK, a campaign called “This girl can” was released to show that women who come in all shapes and sizes can and should be exercising. The video attracted more than 16 million views on YouTube and Facebook and featured
women of all ages and sizes jogging, jumping, sweating and playing sport. The organiser, Sport England, estimates the campaign inspired 2.8 million British women to get more active.

In my experience, the biggest inhibitor for many women to exercise is the environment. There are many exercise environments which do not make “real women” feel comfortable. Whether that be
too many “Ninja Warrior” types (kudos to those women but it is not a realistic goal for 99% of the population), unattainable body images on the walls, instructors pushing people beyond their limits, blaring music or other participants wearing outfits made of dental floss, any of these factors can be
enough to send women running out the door!

At Physio Pilates Proactive our aim is to help people create healthy, happy bodies. Our ethos is Learn, Enjoy and Belong. We have created a positive, inclusive and encouraging culture around that ethos for staff and clients alike, and we celebrate every gain in movement ability.

Please do not be one of the 46%! Whether it is with us or somewhere else similar, I encourage you to find the right environment and help your body be healthy and happy.

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About the Author

Rachel Combe

Founder and Director of Physio Pilates Proactive. In 2003 Physio Pilates Proactive Stirling was born. Fast forward to 12 years later and Rachel is regarded as one of Adelaide’s most qualified and respected Pilates instructors. Passionate about Pilates and its effectiveness in rehabilitation, she also promotes Pilates as a lifestyle choice that can enhance a person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.