A programme to keep teenage girls active during lockdown has found it significantly boosted their strength, fitness, motivation and body image.
The HERizon Project is a six-week, home-based exercise programme developed by experts at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), Radboud University in the Netherlands, the University of Liverpool and Dublin City University.
The programme enabled teenage girls in the UK and Ireland to choose from a range of exercise options, engage in weekly live workouts, communicate with other girls on the programme via social media and have weekly one-to-one video calls with an activity mentor.
These video calls helped the girls to set goals and develop coping strategies to help them stay on track.
At the end of the six-week programme, the participants had improved their muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness, body image, as well as their motivation towards being physically active.
The multi-disciplinary HERizon Project combines teaching, learning and research and is delivered by a PhD candidate, five trainee sport and exercise psychologists and a team of seven MSc students.
Emma Cowley, PhD candidate at LJMU’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, is part of the team that developed and delivered the programme. Emma said: “The HERizon Project has proven to be a valuable and enjoyable way for teenage girls to stay fit and active during the pandemic.
“The national lockdown in the UK has had a major impact on our day-to-day physical activity and, globally, it has been found that less than 15% of teenage girls are meeting the minimum physical activity guidelines of at least 60 minutes per day.
“HERizon has not only helped the girls to stay physically active, but they have also reported how it has boosted their mental wellbeing, self-confidence and body image.
“We are delighted to see such a positive impact on the girls’ physical health and mental wellbeing and we are now delivering an expanded programme to 152 girls over 12 weeks across the UK and Ireland.”