07 Feb, 2017 At the Heart of every woman
The 3rd of February 2017 marked an exciting step forward in women’s sport in Australia with the beginning of the official AFL Women’s League. Whether you’re a footy fan or not, the past few games have really been a terrific display of athleticism and good sportsmanship (or should I say sportswomanship!). From some of the photos taken at the games, I can see that it is inspiring young girls which is just wonderful. Hopefully it will also encourage other women (of all ages) to pursue the sports they enjoy, as so many of us ladies leave sport behind when we finish primary or secondary school. And what do we replace it with? Unfortunately, a lot more sedentary activities which do little for our heart health.
Up until recently, women in sport has not had the prominence that men’s sports have, unless of course it’s netball or tennis. This was really brought to my attention last year when I was in Europe and noticed the significant amount of advertising and promotion around the France women’s national football team. They even had posters in the Paris metro, see a quick snapshot below that I took!
Seeing a poster like this about women’s football surprised me, and it got me thinking about how much more we could be doing to support our own Australian women’s soccer team, given they reached the finals in the Olympics last year! One woman who is a champion of supporting women in sport is Susan Alberti who has organised a charity breakfast celebrating “Women in Australian Rules Football” on the 3rd of March 2017. If you would like to support the event or find out more, please click here.
Without the publicity, media coverage and supporting events like these, extremely talented athletes can go unseen and unheard. I think this would be a great shame as it means younger girls miss out on having these inspiring women as role models who encourage physical activity, getting involved in sport and good sportswomanship. So as the AFL Women’s League takes off this year, let’s all show our support for what is a momentous stage in the history of women’s sport, and foster a culture where women playing football and other vigorous sports is no longer a rarity, but a norm.
Now speaking of sport becoming a norm, if you’ve been wanting to get more active, but haven’t quite known how to go about it, signing up for events is a fantastic way to build motivation and commitment. Keeping the same routine can sometimes become a little uninspiring, whereas when you work towards an event, every run, walk, cycle or swim you do is for a purpose, so the activity becomes meaningful! A terrific event that one of my interns has started doing is called ‘parkrun’. Every saturday morning at a variety of locations around the world, people of all fitness levels can participate for free in a 5km fun run, which is organised by volunteers and sponsored by a number of big businesses. I think this is a wonderful idea as it gets people out moving, allowing them to challenge themselves in a supportive environment, and potentially make some great friends in the process!
Another spectacular event is the Miss Muddy fun run series that involves running and obstacle courses, as well as lots of colour, foam, inflatables, music and yes, a bit of mud! These events take place around Australia throughout the year. The next one in Melbourne will be on the 25th of March 2017 and I am excited to say that Miss Muddy will donate $10 for each person that registers using the code HERHEART! Miss Muddy aligns with our own values, encouraging women to take action to protect their hearts by getting out and getting active!
There are plenty of ways to get active. If running is not your thing, give swimming a go. If you prefer a team sport, get yourself involved in a team or club. Feel like it’s been a long time since those muscles have been used? Start out gently and gradually build up, maybe start with a regular walk. We all have to start somewhere, and it’s better to start late then never start at all. I’d like to leave you with this thought… Our heart is a muscle. One about the size of our fist. This one muscle beats non-stop to pump litres of blood around our bodies, day after day, year after year, to keep us alive. Let’s say thank you to our hearts…by looking after your hearts. So go and get active!
Thank you for continuing to support our campaign in fighting heart disease around the world and visit us on www.herheart.org.au