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This Girl Can – exercise to music class

This Girl Can (TGC) is Sport England's behaviour change campaign, aimed at encouraging women to become more active. North West Leicestershire District Council signed up to TGC exercise to music programme utilising pre-choreographed classes aimed specifically at women to deliver a class once per week.

The challenge

Tackle the fact that women persistently remain less active than men. 

This Girl Can believes that there’s no right way to get active – if it gets your heart rate up, it counts. And they want more women to find what's right for them.

The solution

A fitness class that:

  • Has an instructor trained specifically to engage women new to exercise, returning to exercise or nervous to exercise.
  • Is a welcoming and supportive environment.
  • Caters for all types of ladies of all abilities.
  • Is choreographed in a way that is inclusive and manageable whilst being reasonably challenging.
  • Is fun and interactive with a different dance style each week.

The impact

The women have reported that they feel much better in themselves, some have lost weight and find the opportunity to socialise really appealing. 

A diverse range of women attend who all have similar motivations. It is a great chance to share stories and fitness goals. 

Overall activity levels increased (numbers in boxes relate to number of participants not per cent of participants)

Participants and how group’s activity levels increased. 39 participants. Before the programme, 11 did under 30 minutes physical activity per week. By the end of the programme, this was 0. 8 people did 30-59 minutes exercise before the programme compared to 4 after. Results same at 60-89 minutes of exercise. 4 people participated in 90-119 minutes exercise before the programme, increasing to 15 afterwards. 4 people did 120-149 minutes exercise before the programme, increasing to 8 afterwards.


Participant comments

 “I really look forward to these classes. Not only have I felt an improvement to my level of fitness, but they have also improved my mental health as I suffer with anxiety. My outlook is brighter, and I feel more positive when I leave the class.”  

Clare (40+) 

“I enjoy these classes because of the variety of exercise that is included. I am not one for going to the gym and would not participate in exercise if I didn’t do these classes. Jenny knows how to motivate us to help us improve our fitness and stamina.”  

Jackie (50+) 

The sessions have provided an outlet for women who do not attend any other classes to exercise at their own pace. 

How is the new approach being sustained?

The class is now at the point where income (£3 per class) is covering expenditure (venue hire + instructor cost) and therefore can continue as long as this remains the case. 

Lessons learned

  • Applying a free taster works well.
  • Ensuring robust comms and marketing is key. Using local mags worked well. 
  • Buy in and support from the Parish Council (who manage the venue) was very helpful in recruitment and smooth running of the sessions. They also discounted the venue hire which is vital to sustainability. 
  • Ensure local partners are aware and can refer in such as GPs, Local Area Coordinators and Social Prescribing Link Workers.