It is common knowledge that regular participation in physical activity is beneficial for anyone’s mind, body and spirit. But for young women in Australia, where sporting participation is at a decline, their daily dose of endorphins are either coming from other areas, like a jog around the block, or not coming at all – which leads to further unhealthiness in the community.
So why play sports? The Women’s Sports Foundation has discovered that sports offer some extra benefits for girls in addition to having fun and getting fit. Here are my top five from the list:
1. Girls who play sports do better in school.
You might think that swimming lessons, netball training, or any extra-curricular sport you participate in will take up all your study time, but research shows that girls who play sports do better in school. Exercise improves learning, memory, and concentration, which can give active girls an advantage when it comes to the classroom.
2. Girls who play sports learn teamwork and goal-setting skills.
Working with coaches, trainers, and teammates to win games and meet goals is great practice for success later in life. Being a team player can make it easier to work with others and solve problems, whether on the field or in the classroom, or at your part-time job.
3. Sports have hidden health benefits.
Some benefits of sports are obvious — like improving fitness and maintaining a healthy weight. But girls who play sports are also less likely to smoke and have a reduced chance of getting certain cancers and osteoporosis later in life. Sure, you can get these benefits from any type of exercise, but if you have trouble getting to the gym, there may be more incentive to show up and play if you know your coaches or teammates depend on you. Accountability becomes an extremely crucial motivator for young people.
4. Playing sports builds self-confidence.
Girls involved in sporting activity feel better about themselves, both physically and socially. It helps to build confidence when you see your skills improving and your goals becoming reality. Other esteem-boosting benefits of sports participation include getting in shape, maintaining a healthy weight, and making new friends.
5. Exercise can cut the pressure.
Pressure is a big part of life. Playing sports can help you deal with it, since exercise is a natural mood lifter and a great way to relieve stress and fight depression. Plus, when you are on a team, you have friends who support you both on and off the field.
All these benefits can be harnessed by getting involved with sport in your local community. Sport Has No Gender encourages increased participation in order to reap as much positivity from sport into your life, to propel you forward into a happy, healthy adulthood.