There are several clear benefits associated with physical activity for youth that include social and mental improvements, building respect for others, teamwork, and building self-confidence. Unfortunately, many girls (as do many boys) miss out on these benefits because as they get into adolescence, many of them migrate toward other interests outside of sports. School sports for girls have never been so prevalent as they are today. From tennis to volleyball to swim and track – even wrestling – here are but a few of the direct benefits to girls who pursue sports:
- Healthy lifestyle
The number one benefit of girls participating in sports is the health benefits. Sports and physical activity helps reduce many health risks, builds strength and endurance, and helps in mitigating depression, stress and worry. This can be especially vital when girls are going through stressful phases such as exams or heavy class loads.
- Boost academic performance
Every parent wants their daughter to excel academically, and participating in sports could be an important key to this goal. Research has shown that girls who participate in sports tend to perform better in their classes and exams. Physical activity has been linked to improved learning, concentration and memory function – all which are essential for enhancing learning.
- Helps cope with pressure
By taking part in sports, girls get to learn winning and losing, how to accept and have an appreciation for their bodies, to be resilient and to cope with issues. They also get to network with other girls with whom they share interests.
- Teaches teamwork
Teamwork is a treasured skill everywhere, especially in the corporate world where employees work in groups. You can set your daughter on the right path by having her take up a sport as it facilitates teamwork. In fact, being on a team shows girls on how to respect each other and to work in synergy with fellow players, coaches, opposing players and referees. Additionally, being in a sport helps them improve their problem-solving skills. This comes in handy in everyday life situations.
Adolescent girls tend to lack self-confidence, as they are often not fully confident of their changing bodies. On the other hand, girls who take part in sports learn how to appreciates their bodies in spite of their size or shape. They also benefit from feeling physically, emotionally and mentally strong and they enjoy being in top form. All this helps them make friends more easily and they are more likely to take up good habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle.
More girls should be encouraged to take up sports, as there are numerous health and social benefits associated with them. Therefore, if your daughter is thinking of quitting her current sport or on the fence if she wants to join a sport for the first time, you might want to share some of this information with her.
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Dr. Kevin Crawford