Who would have thought that our Olympic Gold Medal winning heptathlete, Jessica Ennis was bullied at school? Listening to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour earlier this month, Jenni Murray was talking to Jessica who revealed how, as a school girl, she was bullied for being small & skinny. The well-spoken Yorkshire lass was the first to admit that she was insecure as a child.
Jessica was asked what she had gained from her sport. She explained how when she was young her parents had sent her outside to ‘exercise to burn up some energy’. She joined an athletics club aged 13yrs and never looked back. The sport gave her confidence and made her feel good. Jessica went on to say how sport had taught her a lot, given her her personality, a structure to her life, a belief in herself, made her strong and powerful.
We can’t all experience that transformation: a small, skinny bullied school girl to a strong and powerful Olympic Gold Medallist. But sport can help us to gain self-confidence, self-belief and indeed it does. Taking part in sport will increase our fitness, making us stronger and giving us that feel good factor. If we feel happy with our body image we will feel more confident and cope better with work and life in general. It doesn’t matter what sport we do so long as it is something we enjoy – then it is easier to commit to getting fit!