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Girls Don’t Do Sport

August 25, 2013 in Children & Play, Community Issues, Education, Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Opportunities, Sport, Women

Taken from our funmefit WordPress blog: http://funmefit.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/girls-dont-do-sport/
August 25, 2013

 

young female babyAlexa Hill, aged 1. A future sports woman? I hope so!

 

“Girls at school would do the dangerous ‘fainting trick’ to avoid Physical Education. I won’t go into detail for fear of someone trying this but the action involved getting a couple of friends to push on a certain part of your body until you fainted – effectively slowing or stopping your heart for a second. It scared me then and it scares me even more now to remember how dangerous this was.” (Anon, August 2013)

 

As a female and a mother to another female (even though she is only 1), I can’t help but blog my mouth off about the issue of us girls and getting actively involved in sport and exercise. In this post, I hope to shed some light on why, in my experience and opinion, young women and children of the female gender, may be discouraged, embarrassed by and put off from doing exercise, especially if it’s called ‘sport’.

 

Gender-Typing

The main issue in my experience of life is parents. Whether we like it or not, some of us mums and dads are gender-typing our children. Boys are the active ones who will make money one day from sport, girls are the caring ones who like to look after babies and help mum around the house. I have a girl and a boy who are close in age and I admit, I’ve been guilty of gender-typing on the odd occasion – getting my little boy into football, buying my little girl a toy baby. Once my little girl is at walking age however, I’ll be actively encouraging her to try different sports, get outside and see exercise as fun.

At Home

I remember that as a young girl, I was exposed to very few sporting female role-models. That’s why Sally Gunnel became such a heroine to me, she was the only woman I saw achieve things in sport on TV. Apart from Sally, I cannot remember seeing a plethora of famous sporting females on the telly or in newspapers. This was reflected at home. My mother used to be fit and healthy because she did everything around the house and took us to the park regularly. She wasn’t involved in sport and rarely talked about it. There was no one else around me who was female and sporty. Even my dad wasn’t sporty, he still isn’t.

Education

At infant and junior school, I don’t recall seeing any females take part in sport. My twin sister and I were the first girls in our year to start playing football with the boys – many girls followed in our footsteps later.

Although I tried ballet and tap as a 5 year old and karate later on, I never understood why sport was important or what it could do for me. No-one at school taught me why sport was important and I was never encouraged to join a team of any kind. I knew as a child that I found sports games like football fun. Playing with the other children (or the boys), feeling like I was involved in something big, running around for ages and the rough and tumble of a childhood game of football were highly appealing to me. I never knew that there were girls football teams or girls teams for any other sports such as basketball, cricket, rounders…

Media

Everyone complains about media; about TV and reality shows, about the lack of female sport in the news. I agree that women need to be covered more widely in the news but that isn’t exactly going to attract younger participants now is it? We need to look at teen magazines, look at how girls are using social media, look at why girls are more engaged with what their friends are doing and posing in ‘selfies’ photos. If you’re young and you want to look good, exercise and eat well. There’s too much emphasis on young women being singers, models and just plain beautiful. There are millions of beautiful girls out there but the ones people remember are the ones who stand out from the crowd and achieve in sport or in great careers. Vying for public attention constantly does nothing for self-confidence.

Teenage girls

In my opinion, the problem with many teenage girls (like I was once) is that they lack so much self-confidence. At school as a teenager, I loved sprinting, I won every 100m and 200m race on sports day, without fail. I was in the Air Cadets…Which was the only institution to push my running further where I ran for my region and eventually my county. I was due to run a final race to be entered for the national championships when I fell down the stairs before school and banged my lower back meaning that I couldn’t run. That was the end to my running career, maybe I could have been running alongside Jess Ennis-Hill…

The point here is not what I achieved or didn’t achieve but the fact that I had to fight against low self-confidence and self-doubt just to go to training. This was ultimately my downfall, not the fall down the stairs. I was complacent because I didn’t want to go against the ‘norm’ of what my piers were doing after school. It’s only when you reach 28, have gotten married and have two kids that you realise the things that could have been.

The very few girls I knew at school (I can only count one in my class) who were into sports and achieved in sport were the confident ones. They were self-assured, organised and seemed generally a lot happier than my friends who were using the ‘fainting trick’ to avoid any exercise whatsoever. I was always in the middle, always wanted to take part but never wanted to take the next step. I had no confidence to do so.

Looking back, what I find most annoying is that teachers could see my potential but never tried to support me. I played hockey and scored goals but always felt like the spare part. I would never have even known to join professional sports clubs or had the confidence to ask.

In part-conclusion (as I’m sure I’ll be writing further blogs on this issue), I realise now that sport enables young women and girls to develop, to grow, to be comfortable in their surroundings and opens their lives up to opportunities and experience. I hope times have changed now in schools but in my experience, I had no help, no support and was mainly ignored by teachers.

As a parent now, I see how difficult it is to get children involved in sport – the cost, the time, the travel. This was initially why I set up http://www.funmefit.com, to help parents find ways to get their kids (and their girls) active and see what opportunities there are. Now though, I see that times need to change before more young women can feel encouraged enough to take part in sport. They need to know about the opportunities around them, encouraged that sport will help them stay young and healthy as they get older, help them make new friends and build self-confidence. I wish I could take the 14 year old me, shake her and say: ‘You can do it! Running is what you can do. Don’t worry if you get set back. Get off your backside and go to training. Keep trying!’

My daughter will not befall the same fate. It is my ambition to open doors for her, help her see how fun sport can be. Help her find what she’s good at, whether that be football, hockey, running, gymnastics, dancing, horse riding, basketball, skating, rounders, tennis or your less popular sports. Attitudes have to change all together, families have to change, the media has to change and girls themselves have to be given the confidence to try something new, take a chance. Don’t do the old ‘fainting trick’ to avoid PE!

 

This blog post was inspired by the recent BBC News article (22/08/2013)

Children need more exercise – especially girls, study says – by Nick Triggle.

 

This article was written by Kate Hill, Founder of FunMeFit.

Please contact info@funmefit.com

Will you have a Playday?

August 2, 2013 in Children & Play, Community Issues, Events, Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Uncategorized

On Wednesday 7th August 2013, it’s Playday the national day to celebrate play across the UK. How will your family be joining in?

“On Playday thousands of children and their families get out to play at hundreds of community events across the UK. As well as a celebration of children’s right to play, Playday is a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. Campaigning for play where you live can make a huge difference not only to local children and families, but to whole communities.

It’s easy to celebrate Playday – it doesn’t matter whether your plans are big or small, what’s most important is that children and young people get the opportunity to get out to play for the day, and that collectively we highlight the importance of play in children’s lives”.

Source: http://www.playengland.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/playday.aspx

 

We’ve put together some active ideas on what you could do with your family on Playday, just to help all you mums and dads along a bit:

  • Rounders – We just love it – a bat, a ball, some make-shift bases and a team of however many you can muster!
  • Bulldog – For a large group, one person is on in the middle of the playing area. The rest of the players stand in a line with the aim of running to the other side of the playing area without getting caught by the catcher in the middle!
  • Frisbee – Throwing a piece of round plastic to one another – no one is the perfect thrower so there’s always plenty of running to be done!
  • Den building – Wherever you are; woodlands, a field, on the back garden, build a den! It’s great fun and all that’s needed are a few bits of wood or whatever you can find!
  • Let the kids make up some games too!

Most of all, as much as we want to keep an eye on our children, it’s so important that children have some independent time as children to explore their world and their imagination. Make sure that your little ones have time to just play with other children.

“Play doesn’t need structure, it doesn’t need rules, the ideas naturally exist in the creative mind of every child”.  Kate Hill, Founder of FunMeFit,  Mum of two & play-lover!

 

For more ideas, information, events and resources on play, go to the Playday website:

Playday

 

You can also find a lot of information about the importance of play and current research on the Play England website.

Cooking With Kids!

July 23, 2013 in Children & Play, Community Issues, Education, Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Nutrition, Opportunities

The Mini Cooking Club has been a registered charity since 2012, providing free cooking workshops for families and children. We believe that food is a fundamental component to a happy life, and that essential cooking skills should be instilled from a young age. All of our classes are free and teach members practical cooking lessons combined with basic nutrition information.

Our members have fun in the kitchen, and learn that cooking needn’t be difficult or expensive. All of our recipes can be reproduced cheaply and easily, and have high nutritional value. The Club is staffed entirely by volunteers and relies on donations to undertake its vital work in the community.

There is a misconception among people that children do not want to learn how to cook or will be hard to handle in the kitchen. The Mini Cooking Club has found all of its young members to be willing, enthusiastic and capable young chefs.

Our Food for Champions workshop, held in honour of the 2012 Olympics in partnership with Southwark Council, produced outstanding results. The children learned how to cook using exotic ingredients from all over the world, and shared a communal meal they had all helped to cook at the end of each class.

The Mini Cooking Club recommends the following tips for encouraging kids into the kitchen:

  1. Treat cooking as family time. Your kids will enjoy your attention and it will strengthen bonds between you.

  2. Get kids asking questions about the origins of their food. Find out if they know where eggs come from, or potatoes. You might be surprised at how many of them don’t know!

  3. Be positive– if you’re fussy about what you eat, your kids will be too! Try different ingredients together, and cook a totally new meal at least once a week.

  4. Let your kids pick ingredients out in the supermarket to cook and try at home. It doesn’t matter if they don’t end up liking it as it’s all about the process.

  5. Have fun!

The Club is based in South London and runs a variety of nutrition workshops, mental health programs, pregnancy classes and a Mini Baking Club for kids.

If you are interested in booking a course, check out our website for more details. Our blog has lots of regular articles about nutrition and health news! 

By Catherine Heath

Three of the Best Foods for Summer

July 3, 2013 in Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Summer is the season of fruits, picnics and lazy dinners in the dusk. Eating summer meals in the garden remind us of family moments, and food fresh from the vine has a Mediterranean feel.

It’s too hot and humid to enjoy stodgy comfort food, so the best ingredients are ones bursting with freshness and juicy to the taste.

Strawberries

Strawberries served with cream are of course the Wimbledon classic. We wouldn’t be British if we didn’t voraciously consume this distinctive red and white dish by the truckload; it’s just not the same watching Andy Murray without the delicious combination of this summer fruit and some fresh cream dolloped on top.

According to Wimbledon’s own official figures, 8615 punnets are consumed per day, and 28,000kg consumed over course of the tournament, all served with over 7000 litres of fresh cream.

The price of a punnet has increased by a staggering 50% since records started in 1991, from £1.60 to £2.50 in 2013. However, there’s good news if you weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket. Strawberries in Britain are cheap to buy this summer due to the rainy weather, so munch on your own in front of the TV.

The Mini Cooking Club recommends sticking to single rather than double cream for a healthier option.

Watermelon

Watermelons grow on vines in the ground and are related to pumpkins, squash and cucumber. Today, China accounts for over half of all water-melon production, vastly more than any other country.

One of the world’s healthiest foods, and originating in Africa several thousand years ago, it has high levels of lycopene which means it is great for cardiovascular health. Watermelon is full of nutrients including vitamin C, iron and zinc, and at its best when fully ripe. Even the seeds are full of goodness.

When shopping for watermelons, remember that one which is fully ripe will be much heavier than others, so buy a lighter one if you don’t want to eat it straight away. Watermelon can be consumed sliced on its own, added to a colourful fruit salad or incorporated in many other recipes.

Tomatoes

Bursting with antioxidants including vitamin E and C, tomatoes are both a fruit and vegetable. Famously used all over the world, the Italians sometimes call this food “pomodoro”, or “golden apple”. Though often associated with the Mediterranean, tomatoes originated from western South America. They were introduced to Europe by Spanish explorers returning from Mexico in the 1500s.

Widely known to aid in preventing cancerous diseases such as prostate and breast cancer, they are also good for keeping the heart healthy and lowering cholesterol levels. Tomatoes are also important for bones because of their antioxidants, and some studies show they can help prevent neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as well as reducing obesity.

There is still a lot that scientists don’t know about this fruit, but it is always high on the list of healthy foods. Again, China is the largest world producer of tomatoes and overall 130 million tons are consumed per year.

The best tomatoes to choose when shopping will have rich, deep colours and smooth skins. Add them to a classic Italian salad or find out how to make an easy salsa dip. Sun dried tomatoes are especially delicious and should be stored in a cool, dry place.

By Catherine Heath

This article was sent to us by our new member, The Mini Cooking Club:

“The Mini Cooking Club is a charity that provides educational cooking workshops across London communities. The Club is dedicated to promoting an understanding of how making informed food choices can enhance our wellbeing, and in return create a healthier society.

​Why food?

The Mini Cooking Club was created in recognition that food is an essential component in life. We believe the need to educate society as a whole and to learn more about eating good food. Our aim is to educate people about the benefits of a balanced, nutritious diet, and to discourage the consumption of processed foods with high levels of sugar, fat, salt and additives”.

http://www.theminicookingclub.org.uk/

 

We think you’ll agree that they’re a great addition to the FunMeFit community and don’t forget to connect with them and read more about their great work!

Promote yourself on our new Directory!

June 15, 2013 in Community Issues, Events, Latest Articles, News, Opportunities, Other, Uncategorized, Website Updates

It’s been a busy year so far for FunMeFit but we’ve finally managed to launch our new directory for members to add their businesses and services to. The best part is, it’s free for a basic listing.

We’ve been planning to directory now for about 2 years and once we told Foster and Scott (our lovely web designers) about it, they thought it was a brill idea!

 

The idea of it and of the FunMeFit community in general is that it helps to bring the community together in one place where the great work that many of our members do can be recognised and promoted.

The launch of our new directory means that all of our members can now list their business or services or clubs in a place where visitors to the website and other members can search for them by name, area or category.

As we can’t keep running FunMeFit without generating any revenue, we are also offering promotional packages for businesses that join the directory. If you want to list your business/group/club/service for free, that’s great but if you want to receive special features such as your own promotional page, a gallery of your images, your own contributors blog and an offers section that feeds through to our homepage then go Premium! We’re offering great rates and a lot in return. By upgrading, you’ll also be helping us keep FunMeFit going!

 

You can see what the packages have to offer here

 

“We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us through think and thin, everyone who has joined and offered their support and a big thank you to those who are spreading the word about what we do.

Keep telling your friends, family, sports clubs, neighbors, contacts and whoever else you can think of about FunMeFit because we want to expand the community so that it’s a really useful place for everyone to connect and discover what’s on in their community”.

Kate Hill, Founder.

You can also join us on Facebook

And on Twitter

Have a Green Gym Day!

June 6, 2013 in Children & Play, Community Issues, Events, Families & Children, Health & Fitness, Latest Articles, News, Sport

green_gym_day

 

When I was asked by our New York partner, Nancercize if I wanted to be involved in co-organising an international day to celebrate local parks and encourage more people to enjoy the outdoors, the yes came without any hesitation.

Part of what I do at FunMeFit is try to promote a healthy, active and largely outdoor lifestyle. What we and many more around the western world seem to be forgetting, worryingly, is that the outdoors is where our natural home is, it’s what makes us feel alive, it’s what we as human beings need – to be with nature and realise our place in it.

We can laugh at the television all day and think that’s ‘living’. Research shows that an increasing number of us are settling for a sedentary lifestyle and yes, it’s easy, it’s convenient and we feel we have everything we need in our gadget-filled homes. But what we are missing out on is the sense of being part of something bigger, something unpredictable and something that is more natural for our physical and mental well-being.

Some of us feel like caged wild animals when we spend too long indoors and that’s probably because we were outdoors a lot as children. If children don’t experience the outdoors enough, it’s been suggested that they grow up without a sense of belonging to nature and ultimately will not develop into a balanced and happy adult.

Since we live in cities filled with other people, cars, buildings and lots of noise, more often than not, our only opportunities to connect with nature are provided by our local parks and green space. Many of us spend little or no time at all in local parks, not seeing the relevance of them or the need for them.

So, whether you’re an outdoorsy person or not, give your local park a chance. Give nature a chance. Be part of Green Gym Day on Sunday and if you’re reading this, I’m not asking you to be in your park all day or to spend time there foraging for nuts and berries. I’m asking that you give your park a chance to show you what it has to offer. Take a walk, listen to your surroundings, play with your children, watch the birds, feel the sunshine (or rain) on your face and if you don’t feel slightly happier or you don’t see any benefits for your family at all then write and tell me.

If you support getting more people enjoying the great outdoors and want to be in your local park on Sunday, register what you’ll be doing and find a list of suggestions on the Green Gym Day Website. Join the movement, make friends with nature and celebrate your family and your local parks.

By Kate Hill, Founder of FunMeFit and busy mum of two little ones!

funmefit events4

Fancy an Urban Challenge?

May 20, 2013 in Children & Play, Women

Urban Challenge

 

www.urban-challenge.co.uk

Sunday 7th July

We’ve recently partnered up with a new Sheffield event called Urban Challenge…Always up for a bit of a challenge, we had a look at it and decided that we’d quite like to support this event since it’s combining some sporting activity with serious family fun!

We are proud to have partnered with these great people and announce that we’ll be putting a team together and since it’s in July, it gives us enough time to recover from The Sheffield Half Marathon. If anyone would like to join Team FunMeFit at taking on the 5k obstacle course then please do get in touch! It’ll be a good photo opportunity and a chance to promote your business or organisation. We are yet to decide on a charity to fund-raise for but we’ll let everyone know in due course!

 

“What is Urban Challenge?

Urban Challenge is a 5km run but with a difference! Taking place on Sunday 7th July, not only will you be walking, running or jogging you will have to take on obstacles that will obstruct your path. Are you up for the challenge?”

(Taken from the Urban Challenge website, 2013).

 

That would be a yes! The 5k course is for the over 11’s and the 1k course is for families with children who are aged 3-11 years so there’s no excuse for you to come along and have some fun whilst flexing those muscles and getting that heart pounding! You can enter as a team or as an individual raising money for charity or just doing it for the fun. The venue for this event is the special SWFC stadium and Hillsborough Park.

Check out the website above and if you want to take part, there’s a 10% discount code on the homepage for admission to the event.

To be part of Team FunMeFit, contact Kate info@funmefit.com – looking forward to meeting all who want to take on the challenge!

Basketball Anyone? It’s for Charity

May 15, 2013 in News

Our Member Katie Robson writes:

“The Rise Up Charity Basketball Tournament is back for a second year and this time it’s 3v3. Last year’s tournament saw Team BC battle with twelve other teams to lift the trophy and the event raised £900 in aid of St. Luke’s Hospice and Weston Park Cancer Hospital.

This year’s tournament will be on Sunday 2 June at Goals (All Saints School Basketball Courts). There will be an Under 18s tournament from 11am-1pm followed by an open tournament from 1-6pm. Both tournaments are mixed and open to all abilities, the emphasis is on fun and raising money for St. Luke’s.

St. Luke’s cares for people throughout Sheffield who have incurable illnesses by aiming to control their symptoms, alleviate pain and give them the best quality of life – all free of charge. To do this means that in this financial year alone they will need to raise more than £4.5 million of the £7.5 million total income required.

The cost to play in the tournament is £20 per team and all proceeds will be donated to St. Luke’s Hospice. A team must consist of four players, if you need help finding a team the Rise Up Facebook group might be helpful. Entry for spectators is free of charge but donations to St. Luke’s will be gratefully received.

To enter please email Katie Robson at riseupcharity-bball@yahoo.co.uk with a team name and the names of four team members. The deadline for entries is midnight on Monday 27 May though entry will close before this date if the maximum number of teams has been reached.

Entry fees must be paid on the day but other donations would be gratefully received at http://www.justgiving.com/charitybball

Date and time:

Sunday 2 June 2013. Under 18s tournament from 11am-1pm. Open tournament 1pm-6pm.

Venue:

Goals (All Saints School Basketball Courts),

95 Norfolk Park Road,

Sheffield,

S2 2RU”

We’re looking to put a team together for this. Last year we raised over £90 for this event so if you’d like to be part of the team, let us know info@funmefit.com! You don’t have to be a Basketball pro – just come and have some fun!

Hijinx Theatre – Positive Work in the Community!

April 5, 2013 in Children & Play, News, Uncategorized

hijinx theatre performance

We’re proud of the wonderful things that our members are doing across the UK. Whether they’re getting people more active in sport, helping people develop skills and confidence or offering services that really benefit their local community, we’re always promoting their work and helping to raise awareness via social media.

One of our newer members – Hijinx Theatre is really making a special contribution to their community across Wales. Not only is Hijinx Theatre one of the leading theatre companies in Wales but they’re advocates for the inclusion of people with learning difficulties in the arts.

Watch the video that they sent us, it really shows how vital their work is to help more people feel included in their community. We think that if we applied their ethos to all activity groups, sports clubs, organisations and community networks, the community would benefit so much from the imagination and creativity of people with learning difficulties.

Let’s make our work inclusive to all! Thank you Hijinx! @HijinxTheatre

Climbing for Business in the Community

February 27, 2013 in Regular Updates

Fun Me Fit teamed up with Sheffield-based Eclipse IPD Ltd on Tuesday 17th February to organise a community networking event with a difference

Creating Confident Communities was aimed at individuals, businesses and organisations in Sheffield who want to help improve their community by encouraging more people to get active, develop skills and work together. The event at The Foundry Climbing Centre in Sheffield was a great success with a number of business owners and community workers coming together and swapping suits for active wear for an early morning of climbing, coffee and a good chat.

Kate, Founder of FunMeFit says: “It was a great morning. The fact that it was fun and not formal was the best part. I think it really helps break the ice with others who you may not know when you’re laughing about trying to fit your climbing harness. I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who came and for the feedback that we received, it was all very positive so we hope to make it a quarterly event.”

If you’d like to attend future events organised by Eclipse IPD and Fun Me Fit, please inform us of your interest by going to our contact page. In the meantime, here are a few pictures to show you how fun it can be to combine networking and something active!

foundry climbing event 027 foundry climbing event 040 foundry climbing event 039 foundry climbing event 041
foundry climbing foundry climbing event 005

foundry climbing event 024