During one of the lockdowns, the second I think, I was very focused on my high-intensity YouTube workout videos at home. For about three months, I did sweaty 30-minute workouts in my living room, four days a week.
But as with so many things my enthusiasm was waning and forgive me Joe Wicks it has now been at least 12 months since my last PT session.
I’m not alone. Last month, a survey in the UK found that half of all women have not engaged in vigorous exercise in the last year, with 67 per cent citing a lack of motivation as the main factor.
I won’t deny that my frequent feelings of “I’m not sure I can be asshole” lately are seeping into my own miserable workout habits, but I also think “lack of motivation” runs much deeper culturally than just that the average woman’s ability to get excited about burpees.
Because the fact of the matter is, the world of sport isn’t all that encouraging or welcoming to women.
I can think of 100 small but demotivating things that have marred my own relationship with sports over the years. The sports at school that we had to compete in regardless of interest or ability, where you immediately felt like a failure because you couldn’t coordinate/jump high enough/run fast enough. And it’s always been about winning, never promoting a positive association with physical activity and the many benefits it can bring.
Don’t even get me started on the scare of the ‘navy knickers’ that my athletic gear school insisted on. While the boys jogged around the training grounds right next to our own in regular shorts, we girls were stuffed into baggy pants without giving a thought to how unsuitable they are for confident teenagers struggling with body image, body hair and periods. Then there’s the taunting, widespread belief that only certain bodies can be seen in workout clothes in order to get fit. I was about 16 years old when I jogged past two teenagers, only to hear one of them say, “Would you look at the condition?” and the others burst out laughing. There is no way I would go public with videos of overweight women now being posted on social media for Lolz.
I have a friend who felt like she couldn’t go to her gym until she lost two stone in weight at home. And there’s the simple fact that fostering a love of sport isn’t a level playing field in today’s world.
Boys are encouraged into the world of exercise, they can be inspired by the idea that they could be professional footballers. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was disheartened when I read a recent interview with Irish footballer Saoirse Noonan where, despite her considerable talent, she never believed this could be a career option.
“I think as a girl, growing up, I knew I wasn’t going to make a living from this,” she revealed.
Despite the government’s pledge to tackle the gender pay gap in sport, a recent report revealed that female GAA stars continue to be left out of pocket.
It’s not that every woman should feel like she can make it – and be paid accordingly – as a pro to play sports. But knowing that this path is closed to us does nothing to inspire enthusiasm from an early age.
My husband plays soccer twice a week and those games are as etched in stone as school runs or work. He tells me I need to “make time” for exercise, but when I have two child-free hours, I always go to work or do the cleaning, or just have a quiet coffee at a Zumba class.
For a lot of women like me, exercise just isn’t a priority, and it’s something that’s been built on being told that a lifetime.
If you want us to be motivated, stop telling women at a young age that only men’s sports matter. And for heaven’s sake, let’s wear what we want to train.
Children’s programs not suitable for summer
As a kid, I always longed for summer vacations to last forever. But as a parent, I’m counting down the days until I go back to school.
By the time September arrives, like so many other families, we will have spent significant sums on summer programs to keep our children entertained while we both work.
It is an expense greatly compounded by the need to pay for our youngest son’s individual attention in the classroom as well, to accompany him to his program, given his developmental disability such that it would be impossible for him to to function in such a setting without dedicated support.
The cost and availability of summertime entertainment and care for the children of working parents is an often-highlighted area of concern, but the provision of options for SEN children is another unfortunate layer.
In Ireland, eligible children are entitled to 40 hours of summer care, but that often depends on their school’s ability to accommodate them – not always a given – and it’s a drop in the bucket when faced with a two-month break are .
After that, it’s mostly hit and miss, depending on whether parents can source and pay for an SNA/tutor or find a mainstream program that their child may be able to tolerate and cater to their needs.
Add to the mix the challenges surrounding routine changes and regression, and as one mom I know recently pointed out, “Summer is the most difficult time for parents of children with additional needs.”
Zellweger’s reality check on aging
Shattering the stereotype of age-resistant female Hollywood stars, Renée Zellweger gave a brilliant interview this weekend in which she gushed about the joys of being 50.
“It made me realize that I have no interest in being 23,” he said Bridget Jones star (53). “Good luck all you jerks out there because you have a lot to survive to reach my age and I’ve earned my power and my vote.”
I don’t always agree with Hugh Grant, but he was right when he declared Zellweger “a real good egg” because when it comes to aging well in showbiz, she’s definitely cracked it.
https://www.independent.ie/life/theres-a-sneery-widespread-belief-that-only-certain-bodies-are-acceptable-to-be-seen-in-workout-gear-41898466.html “There’s a taunting, widespread belief that only certain bodies are acceptable to be seen in workout clothes.”