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Empowering women through the habit of play

Empowering women through the habit of play

Empowering women through the habit of play

By Published On: March 8th, 2024

The other day, I read a thought-provoking post on LinkedIn from Dr. Brendan Stubbs.

He does outstanding work in movement and mental health and is the top 0.1% globally cited researcher.

In his research for the ASICS “Move Her Mind” project (which was also contributed to by two phenomenal women, Hannah Beecham MBE, founder of RED January, and Elite Canadian athlete Dr. Sasha Golish), he posted that:

“Over half of women drop out from exercise during their life.”

Awful, right?

Here’s the thing. 

Today is International Women’s Day, and Dr. Stubbs’s research shows that “women are 52% happier, 48% more confident, and 67% less stressed when exercising regularly compared to when they are not.”

Yet, “women experience multiple barriers to exercise: time pressures (74%), low self-confidence (35%), intimidating environments (44%), or not feeling sporty enough (42%).”

Here’s my thinking.

First of all, it’s alarming that over half of women drop out from exercise during their lives when movement is the closest thing we have to a magic pill to fight chronic disease.

Most women I’ve worked with over the years, either through 1:1 coaching or as a personal trainer, echo the sentiment (at one point or another) that exercise is hard, strenuous, stressful, boring, and time-consuming.

I’m all in on helping to change that belief – because feeling better, mentally, socially and physically, is something every woman (and man) deserves (which is why I wrote my book!).

My friend and fellow play expert Darryl Edwards gave a great TED Talk entitled “Why Working Out Isn’t Working Out,” supporting the idea that “if working out isn’t working out, what should we do instead?”

As kids, we typically played with other people and did not think about it as exercise or check our heart rates.  

Play brought us joy and happiness.

As adults, we are often alone and experience many barriers to entry – which is why inactivity is such a problem.

Dr. Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College and author (who I quote in my book), discusses the barriers further and the solution to a healthier and happier life in his article “Play out. Don’t work out.

He believes “the only way most of us are going to exercise more than we do is if we come up with ways of exercising that we enjoy—things that leave us wanting more rather than less.

Playing out rather than working out improves mental and physical health.”

Isn’t it time to reframe what exercise can be – fun!

Empowering women through the habit of play can create opportunities for self-expression.  

It also builds confidence, fosters connections, helps us embrace creativity, and celebrates playfulness.

By incorporating play into their lives, women can become the best versions of themselves and live fulfilling, joyful lives.

Play on my friend,

xox Coach Jan

PS: Whenever you are ready, here are 3 more ways I can help you PLAY for life:

  1. Click here to grab a copy of my best-selling book, The Play Book:  How To Get In The Habit Of Good Health
  2. Join the FREE 7-Days of Healthy Habits Course that can help you starting today.
  3. Want to work with me personally on your wellness goals? Click here to book a call.



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About the Author: Janet Omstead

To re-ignite people’s passion for play (movement) to fight chronic disease while improving their quality of life as they age.

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