Calls to get women more active after coronavirus drop in exercise
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It's hoped that more women in Suffolk can back to being active after concerns were raised about the drop in participation in sport and exercise, as a result of the pandemic.
Figures from Sport England suggest that the number of women doing 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week or more had fallen by 12% during the last seven months to just 23%.
Although the pandemic has affected the entire population, the impact on activity levels in women has been higher than on men.
Ipswich Basketball player, Harriet Welham said that sports teams locally had been badly affected by the pandemic.
"I know within basketball, the pandemic has really affected the participation rates," said Ms Welham.
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"I’m luckily enough for my team to be classed as elite but for a lot of people, the game has been put on hold... the younger people in the club haven’t been able to play as they’re not classed as ‘elite athletes’."
Not all women's sports teams in Suffolk have been classed as elite; Ipswich Basketball have been but local hockey and netball teams haven't.
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There have also been disrupted seasons for many of Suffolk's football clubs including Ipswich Town Women who were not classed as elite athletes by the FA.
Ms Welham said that a lot of women also took part in indoor fitness classes and groups which had had numbers limited because of social distancing rules.
"When the ‘rule of 6’ was introduced, the females had nowhere to train and with nothing to do," said Ms Welham.
In order to help more women in Suffolk get active again Active Suffolk has joined forces with instructors, partners and local This Girl Can ambassadors to deliver a week of free online activity for women from January 18- 22, 2021.
The five-day event brings a huge variety of activities which women can try from the comfort of their own home, ranging from seated Pilates to high intensity interval training.
Laura Beale, from Active Suffolk, said: “It is clear to see that the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the number of women across the country participating in regular physical activity.
"Research suggests that there are several reasons for this and with the recent announcement declaring Suffolk will be entering Tier 4, our online event comes at a time when support, motivation and encouragement will be needed more than ever.
"We have been pleased to receive such a high level of interest and support, and we are excited to offer five days of free online activities to women in Suffolk.”