Mind Over Matter: Women are moving to improve their mental wellbeing

Over a half of UK women use movement to aid their mental wellbeing according to new research.

The independent research, which was commissioned on behalf of ASICS for International Women’s Day, found that 61 per cent of women felt exercising was an important way to improve their mental wellbeing with less than a third (28 per cent) saying they would move to achieve personal goals – indicating the importance of movement as a holistic rather than competitive activity.

When it came to the biggest barriers to physical movement, concerns around body image and confidence were the greatest – with over a third of UK women stating that body image (32 per cent) and feeling self-conscious or embarrassed (32 per cent) were their main barriers. A further (27 per cent) admitted that exercising in public was their most significant barrier to movement.

The research also indicated that what inspires women to move can be found closer to home with 39 per cent of women stating that they were inspired to move by either their friends or family.

Wider research from across Europe – including women in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain – found physical fitness and mental wellbeing to be the two main reasons behind women moving, with over half women (58 per cent) stating they would use movement as a means to improve their mental wellbeing. Time (35 per cent) was found to be the biggest barrier to movement with body image (22 per cent) and being overworked (20 per cent) the two other considerable factors.

ASICS, an acronym for the Latin phrase Anima Sana In Corpore Sano or ‘A Sound Mind in A Sound Body’, believes in the holistic power of movement and the mental benefits it gives you. To mark International Women’s Day and celebrate this philosophy, the Japanese brand is heroing ten female runners and their stories on the personal benefits of running and what International Women’s Day means to them.

Linda van Aken, Vice President Running ASICS, said: “At ASICS we firmly believe in the power of movement, and the positive impact it can have on everyone. This campaign has been created to shine a light on all different kinds of women and the reasons they move – no matter their shape or size. We want to remove barriers and enable all women to move without any pressures or embarrassment which is why we wanted to show our full support – especially on International Women’s Day.”

Becca Burns, a UK ASICS FrontRunner, added: “I’ve been everything from a size 22 to a size 6 but never felt happy in my own skin until I started running. I don’t see my body for what it looks like, I see my body for what it has achieved.”

Speaking on what International Women’s Day means, Becca said: “It’s a chance for women to celebrate women – to stand up as one and celebrate how incredible we are. Sometimes I don’t think we take enough time to value each other. It’s a day to push for change, equality and to draw attention to where we go next.”

From March 8, ASICS will be publishing a series of images and quotes from a selection of female runners across Europe – highlighting the reasons why they move and their feelings on International Women’s Day.

You can see them by heading to ASICS Instagram page.

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