Helping Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation with research

Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation exists for one core reason: to help Britain’s women be more active.

Did you know that only one in five women (and one in ten girls!) do what’s considered enough exercise to stay physically healthy and emotionally happy?

Why? What are the social, economic or gender-based issues behind that statistic? What are the barriers (perceived or otherwise) stopping more women and girls be active, take exercise, and do sport?

These were some of the questions I tried to help answer when I was interviewed by WSFF earlier this week as part of a huge research project they are conducting this Summer.

WSFF are interviewing women all over the country to understand how exercise and sport does (and doesn’t!) fit into their lives, and are also speaking to “experts in the field” (their words not mine) – and included me in that. “We would love to understand how you appeal to women and what you see the role of fitness to be in the modern woman’s life,” they said.

Well, I’ll do my best, I said!
The research project – “Understand Women’s Lives in 2013 and the role of Sport and Physical Activity” – is looking to unlock new insight around women’s lives in 2013 and the role that physical activity and sport can play. The results will enable WSFF to offer NGBs and other industry partners practical tools and guidance so they can better meet the needs of women today.

Much as I’d love to type up the entire interview for you, I think my fingers would burst into flames if I tried. Hannah (the researcher) and I talked… and talked… and talked… about women’s sport in the media, about body image, about “fitspo”, about social media and the opportunities (and problems) it presents regarding women’s attitudes to fitness, about what motivates and inspires women, about role models… and about lots of other stuff I’ve forgotten! I’m glad it was her job, not mine, to take the notes 😉

I thought some of you might like to see the list of basic questions she used to spark off our conversation. I’d love to hear your answers, or perhaps you’d just like to think about them yourself, or discuss with your training partners or friends, sisters, Mums, or partners.

– What have you noticed changing about women’s attitudes to physical activity over time?
– What have you noticed about recent trends, or changes in lifestyles, that might have an impact on women’s participation in exercise?
– In your opinion what are the key barriers to getting women more active?
– And what are the main motivations?
– What techniques/tactics/interventions are you aware of that others are using to engage women in sport and exercise?
– What kind of support do women benefit from or need more of (e.g. advertising, incentive, social encouragement, childcare)?
– What opportunities can you see to help motivate women and/or to help women break through barriers?

You might also like to take a look at a few video clips I’ve collected over the years – bundled together under this youtube playlist: Women in Sport.

The results of all the research will be wrapped up and published as a report at the end of Summer 2013. If I’m able to, I’ll link to it in a future blog post. I think it’ll be fascinating reading.

Please show your support for WFSS by liking Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation on Facebook, following WSFF on Twitter or subscribing to WSFF’s youtube channel.

WSFF, thank you so much for inviting me to contribute, I felt really honoured to be asked.

Helping Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation with research is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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