While more teenage girls believe that being physically active is important for feeling good about themselves (89%), 6 in 10 are not meeting the physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes activity per day and sadly, 55% of girls have lost confidence in their sporting ability since lockdowns started.
Time online is soaring and 32% of women say they couldn’t prioritise doing exercise during lockdown as they had too much to do for others Now is the time to stop, switch off our phones and get moving together.
Spending time being active together provides a valuable opportunity for daughters and their mum/mother-figure to discover the joy, fun and wellbeing benefits of exercise.
During October, we’re inviting inviting mums/mother-figures and daughters to set aside time to develop their relationship with each other, and with exercise as part of our #TimeTogether campaign.
Read some of our stories to find out how daughters are spending time with their mums and what it means to them.
- Georgie and Izzie have fun at outdoor gyms
- Team Phoenix believe you’re never too old for netball
- Ali & Ellie share a love of rugby
- Michelle and Isabelle use exercise as part of their self-care
Bethan and her mum, Paula – British Cycling
My daughter and I both participate in BMX racing, I’m 60 and Bethan is 26. We started racing in 2001. Since then whilst we no longer live in the same house we still meet up regularly to ride together, BMX racing when possible but we also ride our road bikes together, giving us the opportunity to chat and exercise at the same time. Bethan is also developing a love for mountain biking and whilst my skill levels are nowhere near hers we are now mountain biking together as well.
The reason we ride together is because we both love riding our bikes, this runs through the family and my sons ride as well. My 4 granddaughters all ride, aged 15 down to 4, last year Bethan and I spent some time with the youngest one, Hallie (prior to starting school) at both the local skatepark and at a nearby pumptrack.
Bethan and I have both trained as coaches and Ride leaders, to raise awareness and support females in cycling. I now also run women and teen girl sessions at Tiverton BMX track where we also have mums and daughters riding/exercising together. I think having a joint interest gives us the opportunity to spend more time together and remain fit.
Isabelle and her mum, Judy – England Golf
One day last Christmas summed up the beauty of golf for Judy Nickalls and her family.
“It was just lovely,” explained Judy. “My mum – who is in her 80s now – was able to play nine holes with me and my daughter. There’s not many sports where the generations can go out and play together in such a fashion.”
For Judy, who works in investment management, golf was a sport she picked up in her twenties while working in London. It was then put on hold when her son and daughter were born but is now once again a fixture of the family’s sporting diary.
Rather than Judy driving it, though, 14-year-old daughter Isabelle is just as likely to suggest a quick nine holes at Bamburgh Castle Golf Club or a trip to the driving range at nearby Close House.
“Izzy’s participation started when she was about six,” added Judy. “As a working mum, I enrolled her in a golf holiday camp at Close House over the holidays. It was a safe environment for her and she got to play with other children on the par three course and at the range and it developed from there.
“I’ve got back into golf and joined a local club and now we can play together. The golf club I’ve joined allows dogs on the course. Now myself, Izzy and the dog all head out together for nine holes. I find that we can enjoy a lot of ‘happy’ chat together as mum and daughter.
“It’s so much better than what I’d describe as ‘angry’ chat on the school run when we’re running late and it’s my fault! I also find it’s really therapeutic. They say that you can’t fail to feel better after taking the dog for a walk, well I feel the same about playing golf with Izzy.
“It’s a game we can all enjoy as a family. It’s been lovely, for example, on a couple of Boxing Days being able to go out as a family of four with my husband and son also involved.”
Izz is now on the county golf pathway in her native Northumberland and also involved in a North East Futures programme for girls looking to improve their game and have fun with like-minded teenagers. At the start of 2019 her handicap was 33 and now it’s down to around the 18-mark.
“It’ s great being able to watch her progress, make new friends and enjoy herself at the same time.”
Charlotte and her mum, Anna – British Cycling
Charlotte and her mum Anna volunteer for their local British Cycling Family Community Cycling events, encouraging families to get out riding together. These traffic-free events help families to feel safe and comfortable when out together on two wheels.
“Volunteering at these events gives me some quality time with my mum but we’re also helping others in the local community too.” said Charlotte.
Anna believes the events are helping her daughter to develop new skills “It’s important for teenagers to know how important volunteering is within the community. As a parent, not only are you actively volunteering, you can watch your child learn new skills and grow in many ways. I feel proud of Charlotte every day.”
Minreet and her mum
Lockdowns and limitations on where we could go and who we could spend time with have disrupted our lives and it has been a challenge to get routines back.
Minreet and her mum usually spend a lot of time together being active. Like many of us, they have found the past year hard, putting on weight and not exercising enough. Regular walks weren’t the same as going to the gym and working up a sweat. The lack of their familiar routine was difficult and was affecting how their wellbeing.
“We love doing exercise. Exercise is everything for us! It helps us to stay positive and happy. We’re losing weight too, so it’s great!
“My mum is 70. Over the last year she has learned to ride a bike, skip and hula hoop. She never gives up and never says she can’t do it. She can even do a plank for five minutes, I can’t even do that! My mum shows that age is just a number. She is determined to inspire other women and to help Asian women to get off the sofa!”
Minreet finds spending time with her mum inspires her to do more, “I think it’s very important to spend time together. My mum is my best friend and has always been my support. She encourages me to stay active and exercise. She is my motivation! She’s a good laugh and is great to be around.”
Minreet and her mum have found keeping active has helped their mental wellbeing, “You feel energised and happier. It is so good for tackling stress. TimeTogether is such a great campaign. It highlights the importance of spending time with loved ones. This is very important. Life is too short, we need to spend it with those who inspire us.
“Working out together means you can motivate each other. Getting active and doing at least 30 minutes of a day is so important and good for your health.”
Freya and her mum, Ruth – British Mountaineering Council (BMC)
“In 2008 I had a child, Freya, who climbed everything, even climbed out her cot before she was able to stand. At 4, as a reward for a good first week at school I took her climbing indoors with me under instruction as a belayer. I had no intention of climbing and thought it would be like everything else she’d tried and get dumped before needing to buy gear. It didn’t get dumped; Freya climbed everything from trees to street signs!
I was a single mum on a budget so couldn’t buy her the experiences I wanted to offer her; I knew I had to learn so that I could parent her through her passion. I was ok bouldering (low and safe) not so much high up! My daughter had the talent and I had the work. In her first year in a climbing team she qualified for the nationals in Edinburgh but she didn’t ever really care where she came in a comp so we realised this would only be a sideline!
Meanwhile the climbing community did what it does best and included a middle-aged scared mum with a very small kid in tow, our outdoor journey began. We have been climbing outdoors since 2014 give or take. I have cried on a wide variety of rock, too scared to move but having to as even more scared of being lowered! Freya has beasted her way up most stuff as long as she hasn’t got distracted and rigged herself to dangle out a tree or gone catching crickets.
I started leading in 2016 after the first WTF – the first event ever I could afford and welcomed Freya. Freya did her first genuine outdoor leads this year. We both led our first Severe climbs within a month of each other this summer. Freya is the only kid in our climbing crew. The crew is the village raising my climber with me and they have lent/taught their skills at every milestone. We’re really lucky.”
Amelia and her mum, Tracey – England Golf
Tracey and Amelia both agree that playing golf gives them an opportunity to spend precious time together, to chat, to compete, to wind down and to share a laugh or two while enjoying great exercise is what has helped create an extra special bond between the two generations.
Mum Tracey was already a keen golfer when 10-year-old Amelia first picked up a club to have a bash. Soon, her other sporting loves took a backseat and it was full steam ahead on the golf courses around their home in Norfolk.
Earlier this summer Amelia, now 21, and her mum achieved the rare honour of being selected for England and winning their respective categories at the Home Internationals against Wales, Ireland and Scotland staged at Woodhall Spa.
Amelia – a student at Florida State University – struck gold with the women’s squad, while Tracey earned her first cap for England’s seniors. It was a lovely way for the two women to create yet another special family memory simply down to their love of the same activity.
Tracey explained: “Myself and my husband Mark already played golf and originally Amelia tried other sports such as gymnastics and skiing. In the end she came along with me one day aged about 10 and took an interest and it went on from there. There’s not many sports where you’re not running around – and if you were playing tennis, for example, would you have time to chat? With golf you have time to enjoy that during the game.”
For four years between 2014 and 2017, the Williamsons strengthened their bond by playing in an amazing event for mothers and daughters held at Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club.
Amelia added: “Although golf can be competitive it’s also a very sociable game. Between each shot there’s a lot of time to switch off and chat. That’s what makes it such a good family game – there’s time to talk in that mini break between shots.”
As well as Tracey being able to teach Amelia the basics of the game from an early age and then watching her flourish as a teenager, golf has also created another way for mum and daughter to share precious moments.
In May, Tracey won her first national title – the English Women’s Amateur Stroke Play at Hayling Golf Club in Hampshire. And to add to a wonderful week, daughter Amelia was by Tracey’s side every step of the way acting as caddie and then on hand as the first person to give mum an emotional hug.
“My caddie was very good,” joked Tracey. ‘A calming influence!’
Amelia, though, was just happy to share in her mum’s joy – payback for all the years when mum was cheering on daughter. “It’s not often I get the chance to do it with me playing so much, but it was nice to see mum play and also quite exciting!”
Millie and her mum, Marie – The Wildlife Trusts
Millie and her mum enjoy spending time together outside. With two older brothers at home, outside had become their place to have one-on-one time.
Millie enjoys running, particularly 5Ks and trains with her mum. We also walk our dogs, Barney and Daisy, together. Sometimes we just go for long walks to chat about our day.
Living in Lincoln there are lots of green spaces to explore. Since lockdown we have rediscovered the benefits of spending time outdoors on our mental health and wellbeing.
Phoenix, England Netball
We previously played in adult (mums) and junior (daughters) teams then started our own netball team ‘Phoenix’. When playing as Phoenix, we found we had gaps in our team, either due to injury or maternity leave, so our daughters filled in.
We soon became a team that almost always had at least two mum/daughter pairings in each game. It hasn’t been uncommon to have three pairings playing in a game.
Pre-Covid, we held training sessions that our daughters led, and we’ve had meals/social events that we’ve enjoyed attending together.
Melissa (48) and Maisy (18): “It’s been really important for us to play netball together because it’s given us time to do something away from the pressures of work and school. It’s also meant that we have something to do together, we have a large family and netball has been something Maisy and I have been able to share.”
Rachel (54) and Molly (18): “It’s great playing together. It gives us a shared activity and we enjoy talking about the game after the match. It gives us one-to-one time together.”
Gill (51), Lizzie (19) and Hattie (18): “Netball gave me the opportunity to play sport with both my daughters as they grew up and progressed through their later teenage lives. It was a time away from the day to day, and probably made us closer as a result.”
Alex (45) and Megan (17): “My mum played netball and it’s a shame we never got the opportunity to play together. But she inspired me to play and it’s a privilege to now play with my daughter in the same team. I love that we have a shared interest which will hopefully continue as we both get older.”
What are the benefits of netball and why does netball inspire you to be active?
Rachel and Molly: The benefits are being active, getting fitter and having fun. Because it’s a fun game and we have a great team – we all encourage each other and enjoy playing together – it’s no hardship to go out and play even on wet, cold nights.
Melissa and Maisy: Playing netball together has allowed us to spend time together having fun and being active. We have a very inclusive team that’s been full of laughter and encouragement.
Alex and Megan: We enjoy the team spirit, camaraderie and competitive nature of a team sport. Our daughters have also definitely grown in confidence as a result of us playing together and that’s fantastic to see. In netball, there is a team for everyone, regardless of age, ability or fitness.
Why is netball a great sport for teenagers and mums to do together?
Melissa and Maisy: Netball is accessible – age doesn’t need to be a barrier. We’ve both enjoyed it immensely and it made me very proud to be able to say ‘my daughter’s the GA (goal attack)’ as she scored an impressive goal.
Alex and Megan: Playing netball together has given us some great memories and we’ve had lots of fun along the way.
Rachel and Molly: It’s a game that can be played by all ages even if us mums are not quite as fit and energetic as our daughters! We both encourage each other and have a shared interest.
Gill, Lizzie and Hattie: The games were always great fun and full of camaraderie because there were so many mums and daughters. It was a special time.
Georgie – The Great Outdoor Gym Co.
I find joy in moving and this keeps me interested. I remember doing endless cartwheels and handstands in the living room with my sister when we were children. My parents were watching Eastenders and the Bill and it may have been distracting but they didn’t tell us to stop. They provided a safe space for me and my sister Charlotte to move. My mum also took us to tennis, swimming.
My kids know how important being active is and #TimeTogether is a valuable reminder how important my time with my daughter is.
Her health in the future may depend on the quality time we spend together. Izzie hasn’t got a sister, like I do, so I need to be there for her. Luckily, I still love things she is interested in like roller skating, cartwheeling, dance, trampolining and handstands so I’m pretty sure she will be ok and foster a lifelong love for movement. The key to this is prioritising because time is never on our side! I am always busy.
I have a simple plan to make sure we spend time together – little and often makes it so much more achievable. Doing an activity that makes us laugh and doesn’t get us stressed, it is supposed to be a loving, nurturing time after all. Exploring the great outdoors – walking to our local park and making use of one of The Great Outdoors Gyms or trying out one of the workouts on TGO Activate. These are all easy ways to fit time together in to our busy hectic lives.
Ellie and Ali – England Rugby
At primary school I found out that I was naturally good at sport. I had a really encouraging PE teacher who introduced my class to tag rugby. I loved the rough and tumble of it all but when I moved on to secondary school there weren’t many options to continue, and it just tailed off.
It wasn’t until I was around 13 and a friend of my mum’s set up a girls rugby club that I found a route back into the sport.
I love being part of a team, working together with people you love to reach a goal. Rugby has given me such confidence. I can be proud of what I look like, my strength and power and nothing matches that feeling of having hold of the ball and running free up the pitch.
It’s brilliant to be able to share this feeling with my mum. One summer the club ran a fun for fitness programme, and I persuaded my mum to come along and that was it, she was hooked too! It has been so good playing rugby or training with my mum. We’ve grown closer. We’ve become friends as well as mother and daughter. It is great to have this common interest.”
Mum, Ali, has found that playing rugby together has opened up a whole new life for her and taken their relationship to a new level.
Ellie was the one who was into rugby, I was just there to support her – taking her to training sessions and so on. Although I was very reluctant at first, Ellie persuaded me to join in with the fun for fitness sessions that her club set up. It was like an epiphany. I had done keep fit classes in the past, but this was something else. You get fitter but you’re also learning something new and meeting new people, having a laugh.
Running around on a field, just like a child again, it makes me feel alive. Being outside in the fresh air, it feels great. I’m meeting people I would never usually meet.
Rugby has given Ellie and me a new way to relate to each other. It takes us out of the humdrum of everyday life. It makes us more equal in a way. I definitely wouldn’t be doing this if it hadn’t been for Ellie’s encouragement. And I now have a better understanding of what Ellie is doing when she’s competing, which means I enjoy watching her games so much more too.
Spending time together playing rugby has opened up our lives. It doesn’t need to be rugby though, just try something new together, do something that’s a bit different, follow your daughter’s interests and push yourself out of your comfort zone. The most important thing is to do something together.
Isabelle and Michelle – Her Spirit
Michelle is a cycle coach for Her Spirit and an experienced Ride Captain for Hotchillee on their events. Isabelle swims, cycles, runs, plays netball and triathlon.
Growing up in South Africa being active outdoors was a big part of Michelle’s life. She enjoyed sports at school but always felt like she wasn’t “very good” at it. “I was never picked for the top teams. My parents weren’t overly supportive or encouraging of my sport and I grew up thinking that I was not at all sporty”.
It wasn’t until Michelle moved to the UK with her mountain bike that she found her passion. “I realised that I really loved being outdoors in the woods on my bike with friends. I became fit, strong and healthy and I’ve never looked back! I loved being physically active and fit again. I then started running and swimming too!”
“I support Isabelle through highs and lows of participating in sport but she knows she’s always got her family behind her! I want her to know participation and commitment are the most important.”
“I just love hanging out with her doing something we enjoy together and it’s more than just being a good role model. We’re an active family so it’s just what we do.”
“I’m very conscious of the high drop- off rate for teen girls doing sport and I want Isabelle to know that sport and physical activity is just another part of what we do every day, not a chore or something she has to do. I want exercise to become part of her self-care routine.”
“For Isabelle it’s time for the two of us to connect be that in the pool, watching matches, cycling or running together.”
Earlier this year Isabelle suffered quite severe anxiety which stopped her participating in all sports and especially swimming. “I had to take off all pressure but keep the conversation open and trust that her embedded values would shine again.”
“Recently she came to me and said she missed swimming and would like us to go together. (I nearly fell over!) Her excitement was brewing ahead of our pre-booked 6.30am swim. What a win! Big smiles and now a regular ‘session’ for us. Who knows if she’ll swim competitively again? It’s not an issue – she’s doing what she loves now.”
“A big moment for me was when Isabelle came to me and said ‘Mum, you have to make me do exercise, as it makes me feel so much better’’. My strategy is starting to work!”
Sia and T – Her Spirit
Sia is my biggest supporter. From a young age Sia has watched me take on swim and various other challenges and cheered me on from the sidelines. As a mum it’s easy to feel guilty for taking on these events and the training they demand but I believe Sia has gained so much confidence from watching and being part of the activities I enjoy.
I remember when Sia was 2, she stood on the side of Hampstead lido with my towel and watched me take a very cold dip in the icy breeze. She let me go in as long as she got to pass my towel and give me a big Sia cuddle to warm up when I got out. She got to witness the wide smile these activities bring.
Sia’s always been shy, just like me, but moving up to high school she’s been ready to take on new challenges I never thought possible. She was recently picked for the cross country team and although apprehensive, said yes regardless. I think Sia’s journey is just beginning, her confidence is soaring in saying the word ‘yes’. I’m so proud of her.
It’s important for her to know that it’s ok to give something a try and if you like it, you can practice and become better but if you don’t, nothing is lost. It’s not all about winning, it’s about turning up and being in that moment.
I think watching and supporting my events and seeing how I overcome the challenges has helped her. Standing on the sidelines at the start of the race she feels my fear and then ultimately fears for me. When I finish, she sees my broad smile and how much I enjoyed the event. It’s an important part of the process. She knows the joy of just turning up.
Sia joined me on some wild swims this summer which was so lovely. Our ‘Sia/Mummy swim school’ is back on track too where we have fun in the pool but also learn technique. Next year we are taking on the Her Spirit Go Tri Mother and Daughter duathlon together – I can’t wait!
It’s these special moments we do together that bring us close, the shared post swim endorphins, the hot chocolate and the endless chats that ensue. Sia recently told me that she loves being active but she loves it more with me. That means so much.
My advice for other mums? Talk to your daughter, ask them what their dream goal would be and help them to achieve it the best way you can. Just start small and keep it fun. Don’t be afraid to fail and make sure they know that just showing up makes them a winner.
Daisy and Rachel – The Wildlife Trusts
My name is Daisy. I am 12 years old and I have been going on walks and adventurous hikes with my mum for as long as I can remember. It is really special time. There are no distractions – no tv, no computers, no housework – just proper together time to talk and share stories.
We both love nature and being outdoors and we really get absorbed in the moment. Sometimes we just go for local walks by the river and look out for herons, cormorants and other wildlife. Other times we go to one of our favourite nature reserves where we have competitions to see who can spot the most fungi or insects – learning new things as we go.
We do more epic walks as well. We went up Snowdon when I was 9, then Ben Nevis two years later. It was amazing, even though the sheer drops gave me butterflies. I can sometimes get scared, especially in bad weather but mum always makes me feel safe, even though I think she might sometimes be scared too. She also encourages me to keep on going and not give up.
When we are tired and our legs are aching, we help each other along, making up daft songs or playing word games. The feeling afterwards makes me feel so proud, like I am on top of the world. My mum says she feels the same.
This year we went on some brilliant long walks in Scotland and saw dolphins, seals, wild deer and mountain hares, as well as some great rock formations. I think me and my mum can do anything – nothing holds us back. And it’s not all about the moment either, it’s about the memories, which I know will last a lifetime.
Sharon and Kulbir – Her Spirit
My mum has been my biggest inspiration! She has always enjoyed staying active and is most happy when she is encouraging others to enjoy themselves and dance like no one is watching. I didn’t realise that seeing her do this would have such a major impact on my own fitness journey and on my career.
As a teenager, I didn’t really understand the importance of wellbeing. I was unfit and unhealthy. I made poor lifestyle choices which included an inactive lifestyle and overeating. This impacted me physically as well as mentally. I had low confidence, lack of self-esteem and low motivation. I used to always wear a hat as it was my way of hiding away from other people and also my own challenges. I was scared to exercise because I believed I couldn’t do it.
Taking the first step can be so challenging, especially if you don’t believe in yourself. This is where I will be forever grateful for having my mum in my life. When I had lost self-belief, my mum was the person who believed in my most. In order to help me get active and improve my confidence, my mum suggested we spend more ‘daughter-mum’ time together. We enjoyed walking and dancing, and we started to do more of these activities together. Without realising, my mum was helping me improve my fitness whilst spending time together. We eventually even joined a gym together. Looking back, it was quite funny to see how neither of us really knew what we were doing, but that was part of the fun of training together.
I look at all of the passion my mum had in helping me on my fitness journey and understand how powerful it can be to believe in others. I felt like I could support others on their journey and become a personal trainer. Mum is fearless and made me feel I could achieve anything. Starting a new career can be challenging, it was great having my mum in my corner, supporting me along the way. Mum continues to join me in classes and lots of my clients also loving refer to her as ‘mum’. We motivate and encourage each other to be the best we can, and our bond has grown stronger through our love of fitness and being active.
Lara and Clare – This Mum Runs
We went on a run once together for fun and just kept going! We also need to take our dog out every day and I really like running with our dog. I enjoy the fresh air, going on the Downs and to local parks, exercising and spending time together. I like running with my mum because I like spending time with her.
It is important to be active, it keeps me healthy. I also love playing tennis and being fitter and faster is good for my tennis!
Me and my mum have always been really close, running together means we can be even closer and be together more.