Time to Move: Girls Active

Ellen Crombie, also known as Teen Runner, is a massive advocate of sport and physical activity amongst girls. Read on to find out why she thinks there is a lack of young people playing sport and what we can do to tackle this.

Just recently, I’ve become a Girls Active ambassador, which is a Youth Sport Trust campaign to get more younger girls into physical activity, most importantly those around the age of 11-14. I guess you could kinda think about this as being a more specific ThisGirlCan campaign, in which I’m going to be working to remove stereotypes and give people the confidence to join teams, workout in the gym, and enjoy themselves. I personally believe that there are two main reasons why we’re seeing a lack of young people in sport: with number 1 being that there isn’t enough information on how to do it, and number 2 being the fact that a large majority lack confidence in their abilities.

But I’m not ‘sporty’…

Okay so I totally understand that most of you readers are most likely to be runners yourselves and so are already super active, but I want to talk to those of you that aren’t. Being active doesn’t mean that you have to join a sports team, train six times a week and transform your whole lifestyle. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have to make an extra effort in PE lessons whilst wearing your school’s sports kit which is almost always unpractical, basically see-through, and the number one material in the world for displaying sweat.

Being active is YOU getting out there for YOU and doing things that are enjoyable for YOU.

And you don’t have to really push yourself. Not if you don’t want to.

Although it is so much more rewarding when you do.

I’m talking about going for walks in the countryside (a personal favourite) or toddling around the streets on your bike. There’s no need to go far…or fast. But take in the scenery, enjoy it, clear your head. This Easter holidays my ‘post-30minute-cycle’ revision sessions have definitely been the most productive.

gym selfie #girlsactive youth sports trust cycling

What I’m proposing is that you make the time, let’s say half an hour a day, to get outside. Trampoline. Skateboard. Jog. Find something you enjoy but be willing to stick with it at first- it will take a little while to get into it.

Sometimes, it’s easier just to stay at home…

Yes, sometimes it is.

But the feeling of stepping out of your comfort zone and then returning is unbeatable. And I’m really not just saying that!!

But what if you would really like to try a team sport? Or even just to be part of a group that’s away from your school friends. Well I would recommend either joining a local club (search online, you’ll be surprised to find how many random sports organisations there are near you), or take up a class at the gym. Depending on which you choose, exercise classes can be tough…and I’m not just talking about the exercise part. Sure, I might be a runner, but there are times when I’ve felt completely out of place and extremely nervous at my local gym. I remember the first time I tried a ‘body pump’ class. I went alone, was the youngest there, and couldn’t keep up with ANY of the sound tracks. However, for some reason unknown to me at the time I went back for a second try, and absolutely loved it. The members of the class remembered (and smiled at) me. I still stood at the back of the class, but this time I didn’t feel so isolated. I realised it was okay to miss out some of the moves, and that there were many people in the class who were struggling more than me.  I enjoyed it.

Believe it or not, this was completely the same with joining a running club. After our taster session, my brother came back crying, and I was convinced that running was not the right sport for me. I had found the training unbelievably hard, and never quite managed to pluck up the courage to talk to the group of girls. But we said we would try it for at least a week, and by the end of the seven days we were both hooked.

Joining a new group of people will be tough at first, but in the end that initial hardship will always be forgotten- I promise.

But GirlsActive doesn’t really apply to me because I’m always training…

This is where I need you guys to help. People listen to people their age…so why not take on a challenge of your own. If you have a sport that is special to you, why don’t you promote it? For example, next September I’m going to be running my own cross country club for the Year 7s and 8s in one of my free periods. And I’m actually really excited for this! If that’s not really applicable, you could always start your own blog/ social media account or alternatively, there’s always the option of taking a coaching course and teaching some of the younger athletes at your club.

Please do drop me a message if you plan on doing something like this! I would love to hear (and maybe write) about it.

A few final tips from today

If only one of you reads this post and considers taking up a new activity, I would be over the moon. Seriously.

#girlsactive try yoga enjoy it youth sports trust

You don’t have to hike up a hill first, but yoga is a great one to try.