The award-winning This Girl Can returns today with an updated campaign celebrating the inventive ways women have stayed active during the pandemic.
Not everyone has felt able to do so since the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis hit though, with the pandemic creating further physical, financial and time barriers to getting active, leading to increased anxieties in some.
So, as ever, This Girl Can is aiming to inspire other women to get active by using real-life stories of how, even in the toughest of times, women have still fitted activity into their lives.
Encouragingly, our research shows that women have a clear appetite to get active again, with 52% of women saying that, since the outbreak, they've found new ways to be active. They’re also placing a great importance on being active and are very aware of the important mental health benefits it can bring.
However, while that may be the case, we know that exercise regimes have been disrupted due to the pandemic and it's been difficult for many women to prioritise exercise.
The refreshed advertising features women from the original ‘Me Again’ campaign, as well as some new faces, and shows them fitting activity into their own lives, in their own way, in their own time.
“At the beginning of lockdown there was a sense there was a right way to do it. A feeling like we should all be starting new hobbies and getting very fit,” said Kate Dale, our campaign lead for This Girl Can.
“But the reality for a lot of women is that we have more demands on our time, and more financial and mental wellbeing challenges.
“We’re back with This Girl Can celebrating the fact that there’s no right way to get active – there never was. Just like there’s no right way to do lockdown.
“We’re celebrating all the women getting active in the ways that work for them, no matter what life throws in their way. Saying it’s OK to do it when you want, how you want.
“The pandemic has given many of us a renewed appreciation for the benefits of mental and physical health, and we hope the film will inspire other women to want to feel that joy of moving, whether they’re jogging with their kids, squeezing in a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session in between meetings, or trying to walk instead of get the bus to get their steps up.”
Launched in 2015, This Girl Can aims to close the gender gap around activity levels between men and women and is built around the insight that a fear of judgement – of not being good enough, of not looking the part, or of prioritising the wrong thing – is the unifying barrier preventing women from being as active as men.
The new film includes 35-year-old Katy, who founded ‘Blaze Trails’ during lockdown – a community of walking parents and children.
Walking with her baby on her back and her toddler for company helped her cope with feelings of isolation in lockdown.
There’s also Aneesa, a 43-year-old mother of two from south London, who lost her income at the beginning of lockdown and started running HIIT and dance sessions over Zoom – through which she’s met an entire community of new women.
The pandemic has given many of us a renewed appreciation for the benefits of mental and physical health
Campaign lead for This Girl Can, Sport England
The stars of the film will be appearing on the Instagram feeds of leading social influencers and commentators, including fitness YouTubers Lucy Wyndham-Read and Tally Rye, and journalists Poorna Bell and Bryony Gordon. They’ve all given space within their channels to share the women’s stories and drive conversations around women’s experiences of keeping active during lockdown.
Launching alongside the advert, which will run on video on demand TV, social advertising and radio from today, comes a new and improved activity finder on the This Girl Can website, which provides accessible ways to get active, sorted by location.
And, as part of the Great British Week of Sport, which runs from 19-27 September, This Girl Can and ukactive will be bringing an evening of music and fitness to social media on Saturday 26 September.
Streamed live on Instagram, the evening will feature exclusive workout and DJ sets that people can join from the comfort of their own living room, all powered by Foundation FM. Women can join in @GBweekofsport, or by using or searching #BeActive across social media.