Ballarat mum Sharon Dundas rocks up to show This Girl Can

FOR Sharon Dundas, pulling on the sneakers and trying something different was about leading by example. 

The Ballarat mum wanted to show her daughter a healthy lifestyle was important, and could be fun. So, Ms Dundas just did it.

Ms Dundas is encouraging all women and girls to get out and have a go in any sport or exercise in the spirit of VicHealth’s This Girl Can message.

“I saw an advertisement and simply rocked up to give it a shot,” Ms Dundas said. “This Girl Can is about acknowledging that we are important enough to take time out and move our body for physical and mental wellbeing. It means being real, having fun and celebrating what we can do.”

VicHealth’s edgy campaign, featuring everyday women getting sweaty and jiggly, has inspired more than 185,000 Victoria women to get active in its first year.

This Girl Can is built on the highly successful Sport England movement. Sport England’s chief visited Ballarat and Clunes in 2017 to scout for regional ideas she could take back and adapt.

At a regional level, Sports Central has led a series of social and modified programs to introduce women to new physical activity or an avenue to pick up sports they had enjoyed after a break. Programs include social sixers cricket, soccer mums and switch (touch football).

Sports Central has also been a partner in hosting Western Bulldogs’ popular holistic health program for women, Daughters of the West, which also introduces participants to a range of sports and activity.

INSPIRE: Ballarat's Deb Clark was part of the first edgy advertising campaign, encouraging women to overcome self-doubt and get moving for health. Picture: VicHealth
INSPIRE: Ballarat's Deb Clark was part of the first edgy advertising campaign, encouraging women to overcome self-doubt and get moving for health. Picture: VicHealth

Determined to be the best, healthier mum she could, Deb started walking before breakfast. Deb had been worried about people calling her a heifer or laughing at her as she walked down the street.

Then, Deb started to feel the positive physical and mental difference of her new routine, including achieving a daily goal before breakfast.

Sport Central is set to host a This Girl Can come-and-try sports day on Monday afternoon as part of VicHealth’s inaugural This Girl Can week.

The event will showcase diverse programs in the region for women to try for free. Sports Central is also seeking feedback for how to better deliver programs that fit the Ballarat region. A panel of Ballarat women, featuring Ms Dundas, will share their stories to get moving.

The campaign aims to smashing stereotypes for a more active life without worrying about body shape, size, age or coordination.

Ballarat women are moving less than the average Victorian woman, with about seven in 10 Ballarat women failing to move for 30 minutes at least five days a week.

This Girl Can come and try session is at Morshead Park on Monday, from 5pm.

Originially published in the Ballarat Courier.