Addressing barriers to physical activity for International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day, it’s paramount to spotlight the unique hurdles women face in their pursuit of regular physical activity. From societal expectations to personal struggles, these barriers demand acknowledgment and proactive solutions to empower women on their journey to fitness and wellbeing.

Societal expectations and gender stereotypes

Women are frequently subjected to societal expectations and gender stereotypes that dictate their roles and behaviours, including in the realm of physical activity. Traditional norms often prescribe women to prioritise caregiving, household duties, and nurturing roles over personal fitness pursuits.


Take ownership of your choices and prioritise your health despite societal expectations. Remind yourself that physical activity is essential for your wellbeing, and don’t let gender stereotypes dictate your actions.

Lack of time and balancing responsibilities

The juggling act of managing work, family obligations, and social commitments leaves little time and energy for women to devote to exercise. The pressure to excel in multiple domains often results in physical activity taking a backseat.


Utilise time management techniques such as time blocking to allocate specific time slots for exercise in your daily schedule. Treat these slots as non-negotiable appointments with yourself, just like any other commitment.

Access to resources and facilities

Limited access to safe, affordable, and women-friendly exercise facilities and resources poses a significant barrier to physical activity participation. Transportation challenges and financial constraints further exacerbate the issue.


Explore at-home workout options that require minimal equipment, such as bodyweight exercises, yoga, or online fitness classes. You can exercise anytime, anywhere, without relying on access to a gym or recreational facility.

Fear of judgment and body image concerns

Women often grapple with fear of judgment and body image insecurities, which can deter them from engaging in physical activity, particularly in public settings.


Practice self-acceptance and positive self-talk to combat negative body image concerns. Focus on your strengths, accomplishments, and how exercise makes you feel rather than how you look. Remind yourself that everyone has insecurities, and you deserve to prioritise your health and wellbeing without fear of judgment.

Lack of motivation and self-confidence

Low self-esteem and motivation hinder many women from initiating or sustaining regular exercise routines, leading to a cycle of inactivity.


Begin with achievable goals that build confidence and momentum. Start with short, manageable workouts or activities that you enjoy, and gradually increase intensity or duration as your confidence grows.

By implementing these individual solutions tailored to each barrier, you can overcome obstacles and empower yourself to embrace physical activity on your own terms. Remember, every small step you take towards prioritising your health is a significant achievement worth celebrating.

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