20x20: Maguire encourages us all to get active

​​The latest Chapter of the 20x20 Campaign was launched this week as the focus turns to the benefits of participation in sport and physical activity. 

  • 01 July 2020

Image by Golffile

The latest Chapter of the 20x20 Campaign was launched this week as the focus turns to the benefits of participation in sport and physical activity. 

Despite disruption to sport participation in the last few months, a recent Sport Ireland publication found that Irish adults adapted remarkably well in being physically active during this difficult period. More adults were physically active during quarantine than before the restrictions were introduced with a substantial increase in the numbers walking, running and cycling for recreation. 

20x20 Ambassador Leona Maguire has never shied away from any sport. Swimming, athletics, GAA and soccer are just some of the activities she participated in growing up until life on the fairways took priority. 

‘The more physically active you are the better, and it’s obviously good for your mental health too. Being competitive and meeting people are the big drivers for me, some of the best friends I’ve made have been through golf. There really are so many benefits.

‘Being out in the fresh air is a big thing I think, with everyone spending so much time in front of laptops or on their phones these days. Sport and Physical Activity is a nice counterbalance to that.’

A good mix of sports is important too.

‘I always think it’s good to play a mix of individual and team sports. When playing on a team you have to think of others ahead of yourself, you might have a coach giving advice, you may have to adapt to different roles within the team. You’re doing what you’re doing for the betterment of the team and the people around you.  

‘Whereas in an individual sport, like golf, you may be a bit more selfish. I guess that’s why college golf for me was so great because there was that team aspect too, it was a nice mix.’ 

The LPGA Tour will re-start in Ohio at the end of July after being shut down due to the Covid-19 outbreak. With a year round schedule under normal circumstances, injury prevention is a key consideration for Maguire and her physical training. 

‘We had an introduction to that side of things [Strength and Conditioning] from swimming but took it more seriously when we were 15 or 16. With golf, we play so much that it’s a case of staying injury free. You have to get stronger and faster but also preventing injuries to wrists and elbows, backs and necks as well.’

The 20x20 Campaign aims to increase women’s participation in sport by the end of this year and a particular target is the participation of young girls and teenagers. 

‘The big thing I see is when people get to secondary school and then they stop their sport. I remember going into 5th year and having an assembly where the teachers are saying ‘Oh you’re heading into Leaving Cert now you need to knuckle down, you need to stop your sport.’  I would always think that’s the worst advice. I played everything I could for as long as I could until the chance of injury was too high for my golf.’

So what advice does the former World Number One Amateur have for someone who may be considering an increase in their physical activity? 

‘That’s been the great thing about the lockdown, so many people have turned to exercise as a way of getting out of the house! People have started running, cycling, doing HIIT classes from home. We’ve had so many people join our golf club since it reopened too. Hopefully that continues. 

‘I would say grab a buddy and off you go, I think people find it a bit daunting to start something new by themselves but when you’ve someone with you they can be a motivation. With golf, once you go out you’ll always hit one shot that will bring you back again!’ 

Find out more about the 20x20 Campaign HERE​