For Go Home on Time Day (June 21), This Girl Can are encouraging women to talk about their work / exercise balance. From This Girl Can insight, we know some women find the fear of judgement – especially around work priorities – a barrier to exercise. While in the real world not everyone can get home on time, the Sport England campaign wants women to know that its ok to talk to your employer about your needs or take time to reassess how you can make physical activity work for you. Here, we hear from some women who found how to make their working day work-out friendly.

I’m much better prepared for the working day

I’m much better prepared for the working day

Rosi Jelfs, 29, from Durham, said: “Finding a sport or exercise that really focuses the mind and doesn't give me the opportunity to think about work. I know how much better I'll feel after an hour of throwing heavy weights around at the end of the day so that alone gets me to the gym.”

Chloe, 28, from Birmingham, reconsidered her relationship between work and physical activity after a car accident left her unable to walk for three months. She said: “After an accident, I asked my boss for a 90-minute lunchbreak to help me work on returning to physical fitness. It worked out great and getting to experience running in the daylight really helped to improve my mood which obviously had taken a knock following the accident. All my colleagues were supportive and there was a knock-on effect in the office and soon colleagues were joining my running at lunchtimes. Obviously, I had to make sure that it didn’t affect my work – and commitments to colleagues and clients always had to come first. But as long as I was getting my work done, my boss was happy. With my company’s help, I was able to get in the training and even complete a marathon.”

Rachael Barnwell, 32, from Stanley, Co. Durham requested to change her working hours after finding yoga, swimming, archery and the gym helped her ease symptoms of stress and anxiety. She said: “Starting an hour later might sound like a small change but as someone who is definitely not a morning person, it’s been a huge shift for me. I found I can get up and while cognitively I’m not really there, I’m awake enough to do some exercise. I also avoid rush hour in the commute so I can do some yoga, centre myself and find I’m much better prepared for the working day.”

Social worker Dionne Ling, 44, from Southend-on-Sea said: “I was waking up at 5am worrying about work or getting reports ready for court. One day I had a bit of an epiphany when I realised that if I could get up early to work, I could surely sometimes spare 20 minutes to go on a run. I felt like it was up to me to prioritise physical fitness as much as work because at the end of the day it matters just as much.”

Gemma Pridmore, 38, from Crowborough, East Sussex, said: “My motto is ‘just be selfish’. You can let work and kids and partner get in the way and stop you being active but you deserve time to exercise and everybody will be better off you are active (you’ll be less stressed and your kids will see a fab role model, even if you’re going slow but lapping everyone on the couch!).”

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