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Scarlett Moffatt teams up with This Girl Can Classes

The presenter and author wants to help women re-discover the joy of being active by attending This Girl Can Classes that focus on enjoyment of activity over ability.

22nd March 2022

This Girl Can and EMD UK have partnered with television presenter Scarlett Moffatt to help more women re-discover the joy of being active by attending a This Girl Can Class.

Launched last year, the classes aim to tackle the ‘enjoyment gap’ as many women report viewing exercise as something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

This Girl Can classes are on a mission to tackle that enjoyment gap and continue to be made available across the country to help women rediscover the joys of getting active.

Former Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt waves at the camera, wearing a hoodie with 'GRL PWR' on it.

Scarlett herself is no stranger to the pressures of body image and the nerves that taking part in exercise can bring, having previously felt insecure and worried about participating in the past.

Which is why she’s teamed up with This Girl Can to promote the classes and recently took part her local class in Newcastle.

“I loved being active when I was younger, I was really into dancing and even took part in ballroom dancing competitions, but as I got older, I started to feel more self-conscious and worried about taking part – was I fit enough? Did I look right? What did other people think?” She said.

“Everyone in the [This Girl Can] class was so welcoming and the instructor made me instantly feel at home.

“Looking around the studio it was great to see women from all different backgrounds, with different body shapes, and at similar fitness levels to me, relaxing and enjoying just getting active and moving their bodies. 

“In the past I’ve often felt daunted by exercise – viewing it as a means to change my body rather than appreciate what my body can do.

“I now have a very positive attitude to exercise and do it for my mental and physical health and because I’ve found exercise options that are right for me such as gentle swimming.

“I really want to help more women get to a place where they exercise for the pure joy of it rather than to punish themselves.

“These classes are a perfect way to learn to enjoy being active again, in a supportive environment and at your own pace with a great playlist.

“I’ll definitely be back – and I want all women to choose joy when they’re getting active.”

Scarlett is not alone in the way she felt about exercise, with our own survey of 605 women aged 25-34 showing 40% saying one of their primary reasons to exercise is to lose weight and see getting active as a chore – rather than something they enjoy.

These figures highlight the ‘exercise enjoyment gap’, with our Active Lives data showing 2.3 million fewer women than men strongly agree that they enjoy exercise and sport.

"Looking around the studio it was great to see women from all different backgrounds, with different body shapes, and at similar fitness levels to me, relaxing and enjoying just getting active and moving their bodies."

Scarlett Moffatt

TV presenter and author

The fun, low-intensity This Girl Can Classes aim to combat the enjoyment gap by offering a range of exercise styles including dance fitness, boxing fitness and yoga-inspired stretch – acting as a stepping stone into mainstream exercise class options, while creating an environment in which women feel confident and supported.

More than 20 major leisure centre operators and have now signed up to the classes and more than 200 instructors have been trained.

And our This Girl Can activation lead, Frances Drury, is delighted Scarlett has experienced the benefit of the classes first-hand.

“Our research has shown that truly enjoying being active leads to longer-term lifestyle changes – rather than doing it purely for body image reasons,” she said.

“There is a lot of pressure for women to look a certain way – even when they’re exercising – but This Girl Can has always challenged these conventional ideas and used joy to inspire women and prove that getting active should be fun.

Insight provided by leisure centre operators shows that women make up 84% of group exercise visits in leisure centres, but that for those who don’t participate in group exercises, not feeling fit enough (35%) and body image concerns (33%) are the major barriers.

So for Scarlett’s instructor – Catherine Muckle, who works at Newburn Activity Centre – these classes are a great way of welcoming new participants.

“I love teaching these classes and giving women a chance to find a way to get active in a warm and welcoming space,” she said.

“Whether it’s low impact stretching or an upbeat dance class, what matters most to me is that everyone feels comfortable and finishes the class with a smile on their face.”

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