For many young people, playing sports is a no-brainer – especially for boys. However, many girls shy away from playing sports for one reason or another. This blog is for those girls. I want to convince you to rethink your decision – you’ll thank yourself down the road.

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Playing sports impacts a girl’s life more than just having fun and getting exercise. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls will see not only health benefits from playing sports, but also gain internal benefits, such as doing better in school and boosting self-confidence. As a girl who was involved in sports all throughout my youth and into high school, it definitely taught me valued life skills that have shaped me into who I am today. It also taught me leadership skills, which carry over into my career as a Wellness Coordinator where I have to work in an environment with multiple leaders working to achieve a common goal.

The Women’s Sports Foundation conducted a report in 2009 titled Her Life Depends On It II, which addressed the role sports plays in the life of girls. The study showed that girls who play sports are less likely to get Osteoporosis, reduce the risk of cancer, have fewer teen pregnancies, improved mental health, less likely to smoke and do drugs, less likely to develop Cardiovascular Disease, reduce the risk of obesity, decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s later in life, and have improved self esteem. The study also stated that girls who had the highest physical activity during adolescence and young adulthood were 20% less likely to develop breast cancer later in life.ymca1

Aside from the health benefits, girls who are involved with sports learn teamwork and goal-setting skills, boost their self-confidence, reduce stress, and make strong friends. Valuable life skills that pop up on the playing field or in the locker room are negotiating, managing confrontation, and working towards a common goal. Learning these life skills at a young age will be beneficial when working with coaches, trainers, and teammates to achieve a common goal. Knowing you can practice, improve, and achieve your goals will build up your confidence and make you feel better about yourself. Brain chemicals are released during exercise improving your mood and reducing stress that is put on your body. The teammates you have on a sports team can turn into friends for life. Knowing your teammates will support you, trust you, and comfort you both on and off the court or field is a mood-lifter.

The sports I played in high school were basketball and soccer. They had a bigger impact on my life than I would have ever anticipated, not just physically, but mentally as well. Sports helped me stay in shape and build up muscle and endurance so I was able to keep up with the competition. I discovered what my strengths and weaknesses were when playing sports, making myself work harder on my weaknesses and becoming a better player both on and off the court. Sports have many benefits in a girl’s life and to me the biggest benefit is that they are fun!

 

This Bfitteens blog is written by Rachel Langholf, Wellness Coordinator, YMCA of Rock River ValleyRachel_Langholf