The survey conducted by YouGov in France, Sweden, UK, Denmark and Germany, and commissioned by the World Health Federation, reveals that more than half of British women did not play competitive sport or do any intensive workouts in the week of the survey.
The research found that the indifference of British women is not just directed at sport, as 1 in 3 women do not do enough physical activity of any variety, and more than 2 million women in the UK are just below the threshold of the suggested levels of physical activity recommended for a healthy lifestyle.
In fact, seven months on from Britain hosting the 2012 Olympics, the enthusiasm for sports was lower in Britain than in any other countries surveyed, with 54 per cent of British women being inactive in the week of the survey, compared to just 52 per cent in France, 47 per cent in Sweden, 44 per cent in Germany and 34 per cent in Denmark.
According to Johanna Ralston, the CEO of the World Health Federation, this lack of exercise puts women at serious risk of cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke.
She said: “In combination with everyday physical activities, such as gardening or even doing household chores, sport can help reduce the risk of heart disease, the number one killer of women, responsible for the deaths of 1 in 3 women worldwide.”
Make sport a regular part of your healthy lifestyle with these tips for getting started:
Find a sport you love
While you might think that sport is “not for you” this is probably because you haven't tried the right one yet. With such a wide variety of sports available, there is a sport out there for all of us. Try to think what your goals are — whether it is to improve fitness, aim for competitions, gain competence in sport, or just enjoying yourself — and think what you realistically could do. You could try one of the more popular sports such as football, tennis, netball or golf or seek out something more unusual such as orienteering or roller derby.
Don't be put off
Many of us think we can't take part in sport due to our age or fitness levels or a disability; however, there is bound to be a sport you can take part in. Most sports are open to all, regardless of age, so don't be put off. Likewise, any decent club will cater for participants of all abilities and fitness levels, and tailor a plan to improve both over time. Also, many of the more experienced participants are only too keen to pass on the benefit of their experience. More and more clubs are getting tuned into the need to open up their sports to everyone, including those with disabilities. You need only look at the success of the Paralympic Games to see that a disability is not a bar to getting involved.
Get a friend involved
If you are anxious about getting started in sports, going along with a friend can help you to feel more confident and motivated, and you will have someone to talk you into it when you are tempted to give it a miss. Playing sport with a friend is also good fun and the fun element of your exercise sessions should not be neglected. You may have some health and fitness goals but it is equally important to enjoy and bring laughter into your exercise routine. Don't worry if you don't have a friend who wants to join in though – once you have braved the first session you will find playing sport is a great way to make new friends!
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