Sports tournaments that can inspire women to greater fitness levels

There’s nothing quite like watching a great international sports event to encourage you to get off the sofa and do more exercise yourself. But it’s not a generalisation to say there is always less coverage of women’s sporting fixtures than men’s.

In June, for example, Canada is playing host to the seventh FIFA Women’s World Cup and even though this tournament is a much bigger event than in previous years, the media coverage is miniscule in comparison to that for the men’s FIFA World Cup in 2014 in Brazil.

If you watch any of the matches, though, you’ll see how exciting women’s soccer is becoming, with more and more countries getting to play at ever higher levels. This year, the Women’s World Cup has been expanded from 16 countries in 2011 to 24 countries. As hosts, Canada got a direct entry into the finals, and a qualification tournament consisting of 134 teams provided the teams for the remaining 23 countries. For anyone betting on the winning nation for the Women’s World Cup, the US, Germany and Japan were all pre-tournament favourites, and now that we’re almost half-way through, Germany are at odds of just under 2/1.

Although watching the Canadian women play in the World Cup may be inspiring stuff, it’s not always that easy to do than actually make the leap and join a local soccer team. However, other sports, such as tennis, are easier to get motivated to begin playing, because there’s no pressure to be part of a team. For example, if you watch Wimbledon this summer, it’s no real effort to book an hour on the local court with a friend to have a hit around.

As with all four international tennis Grand Slams, the Wimbledon tournament these days showcases the women’s game far more than it used to, and although there’s still definitely a preference to show the men’s matches at peak viewing times, at least the women get a reasonable amount of air time. Performances from players like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have been encouraging women around the world to get out their tennis gear and play themselves for years now.

by  jikatu  Caption: Serena’s been a great role model to many women and inspired them to do more sport

It’s amazing what a positive effect watching great sports women can have on you if you’re feeling like you should do more exercise. Although you might think it would make you feel like you’ve got so much ground to cover compared with these professional players, the number of people who actually take up different sports having watched a big tournament can be enormous.

Caption: Remember, if you’re going to play a team sport, you have to play nice!

Of course, the enthusiasm for a particular sport may not last – depending on whether or not you discover you have a natural flair for it. But as long as it gives you the boost to get started on a new fitness regimen, that’s good enough. Once you’ve started being more active, you become more motivated to try new sports until you find the one that really suits you.

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