Girls in Team Sports Gain Benefits Far Beyond Health and Fitness
Though long espoused as crucial for the development of young men, involvement in sports is highly beneficial for girls as well. Young women involved in sports are more likely to achieve academically, have increased self-esteem, experience a higher level of health and wellness, learn crucial skills for entering a competitive workforce, and enjoy the social rewards that accompany working as a team and having fun with others. With the availability of girls’ sports increasing, it is important that young women be encouraged to participate and enjoy the higher quality of life that sports help them achieve.
The most obvious benefit of involvement in sports is a healthier body. All children involved in athletics experience a decrease in the likelihood of developing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and several other complications linked to a sedentary lifestyle. For young women, in particular, there is a strong correlation between adequate exercise and a decreased risk for breast cancer and osteoporosis, both diseases that typically affect women. Studies also reveal that girls involved in extracurricular activities are less likely to experience an unwanted pregnancy. Being physically active when young increases the likelihood that a person will live an active lifestyle as an adult.
Studies indicate that young people who are involved in athletic activities achieve higher grades and are more likely to complete high school and college. This may be because adequate exercise improves mental acuity. It may also be attributed to the fact that children in sports are less likely to abuse illegal substances, such as drugs and alcohol. Steering clear of these substances helps young people stay focused on their academics and free of dangerous distractions. There is also evidence that young people who play sports are less likely to start smoking.
Women who are physically active generally have higher self esteem. They experience a better body image than their sedentary peers and exhibit more confidence. They are also less likely to develop symptoms of depression. The feeling of accomplishment that athletics can garner, having a healthy body, and feeling strong and capable all help young women feel good about themselves and experience a higher quality of life.
As more women enter the workforce, there are many job skills they can acquire from participation in competitive sports. Young women can learn to work as a team, to value a person’s skills and abilities, to take orders from a captain or supervisor, and acquire the confidence in their abilities necessary to success in a competitive job market.
In addition to all the quantifiable and tangible benefits of sports participation for young women, there is also the immeasurable social reward. Sports offer girls an opportunity to socialize with people of varying abilities and experiences. Through sports, young women can find positive role models. They can learn the importance of working hard, working together, and being fair. Athletics offer children a myriad of social interaction and the delight that comes with playing a game and having fun.
With all the benefits of participating in sports for young girls, it is important to provide opportunity and encouragement to all young women to compete and play. Athletics and competition are an integral part of any child’s growth and development, and young women are certainly no exception.
Source by Darla Blackmon