At the moment I am a member of my school’s Futsal and Football team. I also referee Football and in my spare time I enjoy running and biking. I enjoy being involved with various sports and activity because it allows for a lot of opportunity. For example; connecting with different people, improved health outcomes, and different experiences.
I started Football when I was really young, and I’ve always enjoyed it but I remember wanting to give it up because I was the only girl out of several boys and they would never pass to me. It sounds quite juvenile, but I didn’t want to continue being involved because it seemed like no one who looked like me was doing it. This is a trivial example of the greater powers at play that I’ve come to understand better as I grow up. Within sport there’s certainly a rhetoric of sexism, homophobia, and racism. I hear when I’m in the changing room, at a practice, and in a PE class. Those who are at risk of discrimination are more likely to experience a negative environment. Some people can’t participate because they aren’t in the financial situation to do so. At every level there are gaps and barriers. As a female and a member of the LGBT community there have certainly been challenges of discrimination and learning to accept who I am, especially when I do what I enjoy.
Sport is not separate to society. The inequality in sport exists because it exists everywhere. As I continue to grow up, learn, and experience life I gain the skills to overcome the barriers I face. Firstly, I identified what my obstacles were and then solutions that were discussed with the people around me. These barriers are different for everyone, though I face my own challenges I’ve always been in a financial situation that allows me to make the most of my opportunities and I don’t have a disability. A lot of the people around me talk about their journey with body image. Ultimately, exercise can be used to overcome barriers in our lives.
As human beings, we aren’t designed to live sedentary lifestyles so it’s very much a natural instinct to incorporate activity into my everyday routine. The subsequent benefits of exercise mean I have improved self-esteem and body confidence, my energy and motivation levels have increased, and activity helps me relax and distract myself from stressful aspects of my life. By lifting my mood and allowing for connection with my community, it improves aspects of my life seemingly unrelated to activity.
Each sport or activity makes me feel better for different reasons. In Futsal and Football, when I’m playing well it makes me feel confident about myself and my abilities. It also allows me to have shared experience with others and accomplishing things as a team. Biking is more of a personal endeavour and makes me feel autonomous as I have an independent mode of travel that helps me move my body. It also makes my parents happy because I don’t have to rely on them for transport.
The real women who encourage me to remain physically active are the women or girls who have overcome or are overcoming the obstacles in their own lives to participate in activity and sport.
The advice I would give to other women is find what works for you. Active, healthy lifestyles aren’t defined by how often you run or go to the gym. Exercise can look like what you want it to be and what fits into your life. Once you’ve found what works for you: utilise it to feel confident. Make it a positive experience for yourself and have positive intentions. For example, don’t set goals of how you want to look as a result of physical activity.
Today my biology teacher talked about how much it would cost to construct a human body. The sum totalled to roughly $400,000. However, even if you had all the materials you needed you still wouldn’t be able to create a human being. This question doesn’t ask what life is, lucky for me because I don’t know, but I do know the human body is an amazing thing and should be treated with love and respect.
"Going to the gym and being physically active makes me feel alive and motivated"
"The rush you get from being active, and achieving your physical goals, is unmeasurable"
"I love the feeling when you're all sweaty, tired and out of breath because you know you've tried your best and pushed yourself as far as you could"
"I like getting fit, competing and winning medals. I like to have big strong muscles"
"So often as a mum you are doing things for other people, so being physically active makes me feel good in that I’m doing something positive for myself"
"I enjoy the social aspect of being physically active, when it’s not too serious and it’s just about learning new skills or getting out of the house and having fun"
“I don't like sitting around and being bored. I love participating in team sport and putting goals in place to achieve.”
“Never give up, keep pushing even when times are hard, and love yourself. Find your passion and grow because your only competition is yourself”
“Being active is important to me. I want to live a healthy life and movement is a big part of that”
"For me, sport and physical activity has offered me opportunities to make friends for life and memories I will never forget"
"I’m now convinced that I am not in competition with anyone and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks anyway. I know I’m never going to win races but as long as I am trying my best to be a better me than I was yesterday then I am winning at life"
"Not being the one sitting on the sidelines watching and being able to role model how to stay healthy and fit to my children so that they grow up believing being active is a part of everyday life and sharing all these wonderful adventures with them, it makes my heart sing"
“Quite often when you can’t be bothered or you’re feeling sluggish and tired you can surprise yourself on how well you’ll do. Just get out the door, breathe in some fresh air and take some time for YOU, because you deserve to be HAPPY and HEALTHY!”
“Start out with small steps and milestones like walking around the block without stopping, going to that first group fitness class or jumping in the water for the first time in 10 years or so”
“I feel a lot happier when I'm active. A run or a swim will always clear my head”
“You have got to have a positive attitude and just get out there. Keep moving, stay focused, because life is way too short to waste your time not doing what you love to do. Just do it”
“By valuing ME more, I started to recognise myself and all of my qualities. Now I’m proud of who I am”
“I find I am generally a better human being and can give more when I keep active”
“Being active amazes me at what my body can achieve, after all I have put it through. It amazes me how it can heal”
"Find something that you enjoy doing and make the time to do it. You’re not being selfish; you’re looking after yourself. The best time to start is today"
“Running and working out are my antidote to the everyday stresses of life. When I’m not active I find it harder to switch off and view things in perspective. Sweating through activity means I don’t sweat the small things in life”
“Being active makes me feel like I’m using my body for good. It makes me feel powerful, positive, sweaty, glorious, achy in a good way, and hopeful for the future”
“Running is an outlet for me and I feel as though I am in control when it’s just me and my running shoes”
“I was proud that I was determined enough to start from scratch and have had lots of fun playing in local competitions”
"I didn’t want to be the parent that only ever watched my kids run around and kick a ball – I wanted to be a part of what they were doing"
“Happy is a very well-known word but yet can be described in many ways. To me happy means doing the things you love while not being forced to do them. Sport and keeping physically active are my happy place”
“Overall regular physical activity makes me more positive and happier”
“I feel alive and ready for anything”
“Active, healthy lifestyles aren’t defined by how often you run or go to the gym. Exercise can look like what you want it to be and what fits into your life”
"Just by putting your shoes on and getting out there, you’re being active and doing great things for your wellbeing."
"There’s so much reward to be had by overcoming fear and achieving things you never thought you could – so go for it – and link up with other likeminded women along the way."
"Exercise makes me feel incredible! It makes me feel strong capable and grounded."
"...there is more to life than the aesthetic of your body."
"I am so damn proud of what my body and brain can do for me. It brings me so much joy."
"Feeling confident in my own skin, being stronger and fitter than when I was younger."