Every now and then a campaign comes along with a message that I love. Decathlon‘s new Sport for Every Body initiaive champions getting active without being held back by body image, fitness level, shape, age or size. Let’s do this!
Learning to love your body
The clue’s in the name – Decathlon’s Sport for Every Body is about encouraging everyone, regardless of size or shape, to get into sport. This seems like a key message to be sharing on World Mental Health day. Despite a rising way in body positivity and diversity in the media we are still bombarded with images of extremely specific, and often borderline unhealthy, body types. I’ve heard before from women who are anxious about trying hiking or swimming because of how they think they will look or feel.
The more positive messages out there encouraging us all to see our bodies as strong, capable and amazing, the better, and it’s so important to realise that practising sport isn’t about being tough, looking nice in leggings or losing weight. What sport does offer everyone is a great way to feel good, both mentally and physically.
I had the best time at the launch of Decathlon’s campaign, a gorgeously sunny day in London attended by fitness and sports writers of all body types. Unlike a lot of sport events, we actually got to work out – playing games in the park until we were all totally knackered and sweaty. We were also all interviewed on what sport means to us. The inspiring answers are quoted in the video below.
Learning to love sport
I feel like it’s only been in adult life that I’ve really learned to love sport. At school I dreaded team sports (didn’t many of us? All that pressure!) and instead spent my time solo training – swimming, running, horse riding and cycling. I still love disciplines where the only person I have to compete against is myself, and now, aged 30, they’re what I turn to as a calming mechanism when I feel anxious or stressed. I’m so glad I found sport in my teens – it gave me so much confidence moving forward in life.
Now I’m all grown up I regularly run, swim, cycle and surf alone. But I’ve also finally discovered group sports. Perhaps it’s because I’ve realised you can actually practise them in supportive, friendly environments far removed from the school gym. Now I love to climb, mainly for the great relationship it builds with a partner. And (14-year-old me would be astonished at this bit) I play football pretty much every week, and relish the fantastic feeling of being part of a team.
If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that there really is a sport out there for everyone, and that if you look, there are supportive, non-scary ways to try out any sport you’ve dreamed of. Have a look for beginner groups, women-only clubs, whatever makes you feel comfortable – but take that first step and give a new activity a try, even if it’s just to say you had a go.
Watch the video
Get inspired with quotes from Decathlon’s Sport for Every Body ambassadors, including me!