#MatchFitWoman Challenge launches for UEFA Women’s Euro 2017

19 June 2017

#MatchFitWoman Challenge launches for UEFA Women’s Euro 2017

Only one in four British women (24%) are doing enough physical activity to keep their hearts healthy, according to new research from the World Heart Federation.

To address this, the World Heart Federation, in conjunction with UEFA, are today launching the #MatchFitWoman challenge, to encourage women across Europe to improve their heart health and get active for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week in the run up to this summer’s UEFA Women’s Euro in The Netherlands.

The 28 day #MatchFitWoman challenge will run from today, Monday 19th June until the tournament begins on Sunday 16th July.  Entrants will have a chance of winning fantastic football prizes including VIP tickets to the Final itself. 

Physical activity can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by up to 30%, and the majority (72%) of the 4,000 women questioned across the UK, Germany, Sweden and France would like to be more active, with the figure rising to 81% when it comes to 18-24 year olds; so what’s holding them back?

Family: 1 in 3 women (34%) stated that they focused on making sure their families are active and don't think about being active themselves. One in five women even say that they feel guilty making time for their own exercise and it seems that having a helpful partner when it comes to household chores would help nearly a third (30%) of European women to be more physically active! 

Image: Over a third state that the reason they don't exercise more is they don't like looking hot and sweaty - this is particularly the case for younger women - nearly half of all 18-24 year olds (48%) compared to 31% of over 55s.

The research also looked at who inspires women to get active, and although overall only 19% of women are inspired by celebrities, celeb-culture is more important to 18-24 year olds, with 41% following the fitness lead from their favourite stars.  Female sports personalities most inspire 18-24 year olds to be more active (41%), compared to just 13% of 45-54 year olds.

However, the greatest source of inspiration for the women surveyed is friends – over a third (36%) agreed that friends inspire them to get more active, rising to over half (54%) in the youngest age group. Family members are also an important source of inspiration for 34% of women in the four countries. 

The #MatchFitWoman challenge is part of A Healthy Heart Your Goal, a joint campaign by the World Heart Federation, UEFA, The Dutch Heart Foundation, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) and the Healthy Stadia network, which aims to raise awareness of heart health and encourage women and children to be more physically active. 

As part of the campaign, the World Heart Federation commissioned pan-European research into women’s awareness of heart disease and stroke, and the results are worrying.

The research shows that women across Europe, including two thirds of British women, don’t realise that heart disease and stroke are the number one cause of female death in Europe.  Many people wrongly believe that cancer is a greater risk for women.  Compared to their European counterparts, British women had the lowest level of awareness of the issue, with German women being the most aware.

Sangeeta Bhagat from the World Heart Federation said: “Every woman can be match fit. Being a #MatchFitWoman is not about being ‘Beach Body Ready’. It’s not about striving to achieve a high level of athleticism or an unrealistic body shape. It’s about recognizing that even with our busy lives, we can all make a healthy heart our goal. It’s about making small changes that will see us in the game (of life), fit and healthy and there for our loved ones - for the long term.”

Peter Gilliéron, Chairman of the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee said: “We can all look after our hearts by making exercise a part of our daily life.

"Playing football is a fun way of getting together with friends or meeting new people, and importantly, you don’t need an expensive venue or kit – having a kick about in the local park is looking after your heart just as much as playing in an European final.”

Take a look at their video below:

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