Girls, make your move!

If there was one thing you could do to feel healthier and happier, give you a better night’s sleep, more energy, and a sharper mind, you’d probably think it was too good to be true.

But there is something – and not enough of us, particularly Australian teenage girls, are doing it. We’re talking about being active, sitting around less and getting out more.

Currently, only one in 10 young Australians move enough, and Australian girls in particular are doing less physical activity as they move through their teens.

Despite recognising the range of benefits to being physically active, it is clear that when young women exercise they do so at a lower level of intensity, and have higher amounts of sedentary time, than young men.

There’s a lot of reasons for this. Many young Australian women don’t feel they can be physically active. They face a number of additional barriers not experienced by young men – girls don’t want to be judged or ridiculed, and they can be self-conscious about how they might look when exercising.

The Girls Make Your Move campaign is about pushing past those barriers and generating positive perceptions of physical activity. It’s about inspiring, energising and empowering young women to be more active, and reinforcing the many benefits of an active life, whether through recreation, sport or incidental physical activity.

We want to encourage sport and physical activity to be a natural part of young women’s lives – enjoyed, not endured. We want to see young women have the confidence and motivation to be active.

There’s a sport or activity out there for everyone – you’ve just got to find one that works for you. The campaign presents a variety of physical activities and sports to show the range of options for young women to get active, including popular sports as well as activities that may be surprising or unexpected.

Physical activity and sport has so many benefits. It’s good for our health – regular physical activity, even of moderate intensity can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, obesity and injury.

We know that lack of physical activity is the number one contributor to preventable illnesses later in life and girls have a higher risk of osteoporosis (almost one quarter of all Australian women over 50 years are affected).

Being active can also help you to stay fit mentally and to cope with the ups and downs of life – including studies. In addition to greater energy and improved fitness, regular physical activity can help manage stress, alleviate depression and anxiety, strengthen self-esteem, enhance mood and boost mental alertness.

Girls – encourage each other to keep trying until you find something you love – something that gets you up and moving. If you get bored with it, try something else. There’s something out there for everyone.

Not sure where to begin and need ideas? Head to the Girls Make Your Move website at www.australia.gov.au/girlsmove for tips to get started.

There are also ways you can incorporate activity into your daily life. Here are some practical tips:

– Get off the bus/train two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to school or work
– Set up a schedule with a group of friends. This could be going for a walk, jog, to a dance class or to play sport. This way, you can motivate each other to push a little further and stay on track.
– You could start getting active by dancing or doing yoga at home using some online instructions.
– Do something at lunch. This could be a fast walk, some yoga or stretches.
– Using the stairs is a great way to increase your overall activity. Try running up every flight you come to each day. Wherever you are, always take the stairs instead of the escalator.
– Walking is one of the easiest ways to get active. Mix up trails to keep things interesting. Don’t avoid the hills!
– Use the ad breaks to get some activity in. Try star jumps for one ad, squats or lunges for another, try to hold a plank for the entire break, do some sit ups and push ups. Each time try to get more reps in.

For daily tips and inspiration, follow the campaign’s Instagram site @girlmakeyourmove and search ‘Girls Make Your Move’ on Facebook!

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