Did you know, only 42% of teenage girls meet physical activity guidelines and just under a third of girls (32%) are inactive, engaging in less than an average of 30 minutes activity per day.
Now is the time to illustrate the positive effects of being active. Talking about ways to improve mental well-being has never been so relevant in the lives of young girls, as a result of conversations in popular culture and social media as well as the current COVID-19 crisis.
The bond of mum and daughter provides an opportunity to be active together, and discover the joy, fun and well-being benefits of exercise. We also know from our ‘Lockdown Research’ that mums are often reluctant to allocate time for themselves to be active with 32% of women saying that couldn’t prioritise doing exercise during lockdown as they had too much to do for others.
The #TimeTogether campaign is about inviting mums and daughters to both set aside time to develop their relationship with each other, and with exercise.
To illustrate the power of the bond, we’ve collected some great stories from some of our activity partners. Read on to hear from mums who have found activity together with their teenage daughters.
British Mountaineering Council (BMC) – Ruth and Freya
“In 2008 I had a child, Freya, who climbed everything, even climbed out her cot before she was able to stand. At 4, as a reward for a good first week at school I took her climbing indoors with me under instruction as a belayer. I had no intention of climbing and thought it would be like everything else she’d tried and get dumped before needing to buy gear. It didn’t get dumped; Freya climbed everything from trees to street signs!
I was a single mum on a budget so couldn’t buy her the experiences I wanted to offer her; I knew I had to learn so that I could parent her through her passion. I was ok bouldering (low and safe) not so much high up! My daughter had the talent and I had the work. In her first year in a climbing team she qualified for the nationals in Edinburgh but she didn’t ever really care where she came in a comp so we realised this would only be a sideline!
Meanwhile the climbing community did what it does best and included a middle-aged scared mum with a very small kid in tow, our outdoor journey began. We have been climbing outdoors since 2014 give or take. I have cried on a wide variety of rock, too scared to move but having to as even more scared of being lowered! Freya has beasted her way up most stuff as long as she hasn’t got distracted and rigged herself to dangle out a tree or gone catching crickets.
I started leading in 2016 after the first WTF – the first event ever I could afford and welcomed Freya. Freya did her first genuine outdoor leads this year. We both led our first Severe climbs within a month of each other this summer. Freya is the only kid in our climbing crew. The crew is the village raising my climber with me and they have lent/taught their skills at every milestone. We’re really lucky.”
Her Spirit – Tracey and Summer
“For a long time, my anxiety often got in the way of spending time being active with my daughter, I’d often blame lack of time, but it was also linked to me thinking I was not good enough or capable. My daughter Summer is an amazing 16-year-old, that is fearless, talented and energetic; everything that for years I dreamed of being, but am only now starting to live out and enjoy the ensuing benefits.
Like many women across the UK, I was affected by COVID-19. I work as part of the air crew for Tui, though I was furloughed throughout the immediate months of lockdown and it ignited periods of anxiety and worry for me. In reality, it was one of the best things that could happen as for the first time in decades I put myself first and prioritised my physical and mental wellbeing.
I decided to take on the 6 week Learn to Swim Freestyle session earlier this year with her Spirit, a global community that offers women personalised coaching, plans and advice for Mind, Body and Fuel. From day one I embraced the support and inspiration of the women and it’s been the catalyst to overcoming my fears and has strengthened my relationship with my daughter.
I decided that I’d have a crack at cycling, running and swimming as they’re sports that Summer is already excellent at, and it would be a way of spending quality time together whenever and wherever. Only able to execute an embarrassing wobble around a car park on my first time back on a bike, I slowly gained confidence and after months of hard work my husband bought me a road bike (called Cassie the Carbon) to keep up with Summer and just completed a 50 mile ride! I’ve been following Her Spirit’s tailored running guide and am now able to pound the pavements regularly and also enjoy it as I run further and faster. Not able to swim freestyle more than 20metres on my first attempt at a local fresh water lake in Nottingham, I am now a strong swimmer and often join Summer for swims even as the weather gets a little chillier!
The relationship I now have with Summer is like nothing I’ve had before and we spend time together in a way that I never thought possible. We’re around each other much more and I know that she is amazed and inspired by my journey, which has also spurred her along to start coaching swimming, so she can help inspire more women to take to the water.
During our time together we have motivated, inspired and encouraged each other to surpass what we thought we were capable of in swimming, cycling and running. These experiences have brought us closer together. This would have not been possible without the inspiration and support of Her Spirit.
I feel I am now a bigger part of Summer’s life, as before I would just ferry her to training and wouldn’t be able to truly connect with her over the things she loved. I know I’ve achieved the hard work myself, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without the real women of Her Spirit who have changed my life for the better and transformed my relationship with Summer.”
RFU’s O2 Touch – Angela, Willow and Alicia
“I am fortunate to play touch rugby alongside two of my daughters at Havering and Essex touch. My name is Angela Jasper, I am 49 (ssh!) years old and play alongside my identical twin girls Willow and Alicia aged 14.
I started playing touch about 5 years ago when I set up the Billericay Queen Bees touch rugby team. I played happily at Billericay for 4 years when my daughter, Willow, decided she wanted to have a go, she really enjoyed it, although she told me she loved it more when I wasn’t there.
Willow had spent a long time finding her sport, we had tried all sorts, climbing, swimming, basketball, you name it! She has now decided touch rugby is it! I made the tough decision to leave Billericay and was recommended Havering and Essex, I love it!
Havering and Essex went back to training sooner than Billericay so I suggested Willow give it a try, she came along and watched with me the following week she decided to give it a go. Well she loved it! Willow’s confidence has grown enormously through this sport and has now encouraged her twin sister to join in. They both play at Billericay, Willow and I play at Havering, Alicia has other commitments on Havering’s training night, however we have all just taken part in a charity tournament together. I cannot say how proud I am of both of them and the fact that we have a shared love of the same sport is amazing.”
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) – Petrina and Ianna
Petrina Drury has made time for cricket. The 45-year-old teacher and mother of Ianna had only picked up a cricket bat when playing at the beach or in the park with her family, until last year, when she became inspired by the growth of the women’s team at Sheffield Collegiate Cricket Club. “Local clubs are full of local people with the same outlook. You don’t need to be any good, just look to learn something new.” She signed up to the first ever all female ‘Super Over’ competition with her daughter and daughter’s friend Hannah, in the hope the young girls would get something out of it. Since then, they have attended weekly training and participate in matches.
Petrina’s confidence has experienced a turnaround since being involved in cricket, she loves being part of a team and the WhatsApp banter. “Coaches and teammates are so friendly and encouraging and over time, without realising, you are improving. I’m far more confident now than I was a year ago. Juggling teaching, being a mother and wife, it can be difficult to fit a hobby in but I carve out time for myself. I leave work on time to attend training, even during stressful times when it was the last thing I felt like doing. I knew it was needed.”
“Cricket is for any females who need to find something for themselves. My score-sheets are a testament to how much I have enjoyed taking part, I’m improving and learning all the time!”
Canal & River Trust – Jacqui and Jaime
Jacqui and her family live in Hemel Hempstead near the Grand Union Canal. Here Jacqui tells us why she enjoys running along the canal with her daughter Jaime.
“I’ve exercised with my own mum for as long as I can remember. Yoga mostly, and walking, but we’ve always been active. Now I enjoy exercising with my own daughter, Jaime. It’s a great way to reconnect with each other and take some time without the day-to-day distractions of work and school and little brothers that get in the way otherwise! There’s something different about the rhythm of running that helps conversations flow.
Running along the canal together is a great way to get away from it all. It gives us an opportunity to escape from the roads and the noise of the traffic. We live near the centre of a busy town but when we’re out running along the canals we could be anywhere.
Jaime bought herself a litter picker last year with her own money. She uses it everywhere – particularly on the school run. It’s great because she’s passionate about the environment and believes in making change happen herself. It does mean it takes a long time to get anywhere though!
I didn’t realise that collecting litter while you’re running is called plogging until recently. It makes sense to do it when we’re out running together. It gives us a focus and helps distract from the distance we’re running. It can be a bit awkward to run with a litter picker. It’s easiest just to take a bag and gloves.
There’s usually more litter at the weekend after people have been out on a Friday or Saturday night. We’ve been out on a Sunday morning and found takeaway cartons, beer cans and empty cigarette packets. Despite this the canal is still a beautiful place to come and have a run and we just clean it as we go. It’s a very satisfying thing to do.
I know that Jaime will be off doing her own thing soon. I’m making the most of this time while I can although I hope we will always be able to grab our trainers and get out into the countryside together. The canal has always been part of our lives and it’s comforting to think that as she grows up it will always be a place we can visit and remember running and laughing together.”
Petanque – Julia and Francesca
Francesca and I started playing Petanque 4 years ago. We had been for a Sunday morning run around Lancing Manor Park and afterwards we walked past Adur Petanque Club. There were a number of members playing a friendly match so Francesca and I stopped to take a look. We were both quite intrigued about the game and seeing our curiosity, Graham – the Club Chairman asked if we would like to have a go. We did and 4 years later after becoming members of AdurPetanque Club & Southern Counties Petanque Association, we play socially and competitively. We have played matches all over the country and last year Francesca and her junior teammates won an Inter-Regional competition which we were so proud of.
I am nearly 50 and never thought that I would take up a new sport at 46 but I absolutely love it. Francesca who is now 14 is very competitive and loves to play. She has recently been chosen to represent England in the Junior Girls team who will compete in Spain next year which is a fantastic achievement.
Francesca has an extremely rare genetic condition and was lucky enough to receive a stem cell transplant 6 years ago. She has undergone an incredible amount of hospital admissions, chemotherapy, isolation for 7 weeks, numerous invasive tests and will continue to do so for the rest of her life.
I think Petanque is a welcome distraction for her. She has gained an incredible amount of confidence as it is a very social game and she loves to meet the friends that we’ve made over the years, both young and old. The good thing about it is that we can either play against each other or with each other and we can adapt our playing strategies.
Covid-19 certainly put a spanner in the works as Government guidelines were introduced around social distancing and sporting competitions but Francesca and I still practiced daily in the back garden. In fact, Francesca took part in a virtual competition and was extremely focussed on her game. She strives for excellence and time away from school meant that she could ‘up’ her game.
I am so incredibly lucky that both Francesca and I have the same interest in sport and look forward to many more years!
England Netball – Anita, Izzy, Eliza and Amelia
Having played netball at county level at school, Anita Barclay was also a member of the England Lacrosse squad in 1983-1984. She continued to take a keen interest in keeping fit but didn’t take up netball again until eight years ago – when her eldest daughter, Izzy, joined Norfolk United Netball Club. Now, at 52, she and all three of her daughters are members of the club!
Anita says: ‘I spent a year watching Izzy and my second daughter Eliza attend training before deciding it was time to take to the court again! Netball is very different to when I was at school. Now I play more than ever and am fitter than I’ve been for 20 years! I’m lucky enough to be part of a wonderful family-run netball club and have made some special friendships along the way.
As well as playing, I’m a qualified C Award umpire and coach senior teams in both the winter and summer leagues. I’m also an assistant coach for the current U16 Academy Squad at Norfolk United. I love watching my daughters play and do so well.
‘Izzy played two seasons for the benecosMavericks U19 side from 2015-2017 and was also part of the England U17 squad in 2016. She has just finished her third season playing in the national Premier League Division 3 with Norfolk United. Her Norwich School team has also been successful, having reached the National Schools Finals in 2016 and 2017.
‘Eliza, 17, is currently captain of benecosMavericks U17s, where she is enjoying her first season at this level. My youngest daughter Amelia, 15, joined Norfolk United in 2012. She too is in the Mavericks U17 Squad, having had a great year in Mavericks Development last year.
‘This year Eliza, Amelia and I have all played for the same team in the East regional Division 2. It was an incredible experience to play alongside both Eliza and Amelia – sometimes with me at GK, Amelia at GD and Eliza at WD! Is my husband a netball widow? Yes and no! He loves watching his daughters play. I simply can’t imagine life without netball!’
Eliza adds: ‘I have loved playing in the regional league with my mum! I’ve made so many friends outside of school through netball. I’m very competitive, love playing for all of my teams and feel confident when I’m on court.’
Amelia says: ‘I like meeting new people and making new friends. I really enjoy the high level of coaching and it means a lot to be recognised as a good athlete. I’ve loved playing with my mum!’
Do you have a daughter and mum #TimeTogether story to share? Get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experiences.