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Why Girls Who Play Sport Win At Wellbeing

March 21, 2022 4 min read

We know there’s plenty of health benefits to living an active lifestyle, but when it comes to girls, particularly in their formative years, encouraging physical activity and living a healthy life is key to their personal growth, development and mental health.

According to Health Direct, children aged one to five should be moving for at least three hours a day and children aged five to 12 should be doing at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.

But as they get older, encouraging them to move can get harder and harder.

team sports

Research shows that currently 73% of girls up to the age of 14 participate in organised sport and active recreation outside of their school hours. However, as girls start to mature and go into their teens, there is a sharp decline in participation, with many opting out of sporting activity. 

Shockingly, 43% of girls who classified themselves as sporty and active in primary school now no longer feel that way and are dropping out of regular exercise. That figure is 24% for boys. In their teens, girls start to define themselves rigidly as either sporty or not sporty, and whereas six in 10 boys say they are sporty only four in 10 girls say the same. By the time they are between 17 - 18, 55% of girls will have hung up their sporting hats entirely. (Source: Women In Sport. Reframing Sport for Teenage Girls, Tackling teenage disengagement. March 2022)

So, how do we keep our girls engaged in sport and winning at wellbeing?

Well, we reckon it's worth focusing on the positives and having regular discussions with her about the countless intangibles and life lessons that can be taken away from participating in sports.

Read on to equip yourself with the helpful talking points that even the most defiant girl can't argue with!!

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Building Confidence

We want all girls to be happy, healthy and comfortable in their bodies and being active is a good way to boost confidence and help girls appreciate what their body can do - rather than zero in exclusively on how it looks.

The Womens Sport Foundation’s research found that girls and women who participate in sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well being than girls and women who don’t. Plus, the research found that more than 75% of working women surveyed felt that sports participation enhanced their self-image.

girls playing netball

Resilience Training

Playing sports encourages healthy competition. However, with healthy competition comes winning and losing. Through sport, girls learn what it means to not always be the victor and how to accept defeat gracefully – something that we all experience in life. As Health Direct suggests,

“losing teaches children to bounce back from disappointment, cope with unpleasant experiences, and is an important part of becoming resilient”.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T 

Part of this process is to encourage young girls to respect themselves - absolutely - but, sport also presents the need for her to respect the people around her. When she participates in sport, it’s not always about her; there are teammates to consider, coaches to listen to, referees to heed, and competitors to content with.

Sport can teach young girls how to be strong, supportive, dependable and cordial to others when the pressure's on.

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Career Prep

Discipline in sport can also translate to the classroom, which can then translate to careers. Studies suggest that sport participation can improve overall concentration, time management and assist in building a strong work ethic – all highly respected skills to take into the workforce. Results from the HSBC Women In Sport survey found that nine in 10 women felt that playing team sports has made them succeed in their professional career and over 95% agree that teamwork experienced on-field has only made them more successful off-field.

But wait, there's more!

To get the mental and physical benefits that can come from regular exercise, girls should be incorporating one hour of exercise into their daily routine. 

MENTAL BENEFITS

  • Research shows that exercise helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Exercise can give her a confidence boost.
  • Team sports help girls build social skills and make friends.
  • Being part of a club or team helps her feel like she belongs somewhere.
  • Since exercise reduces stress, it helps your girl sleep better - super important!

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

  • Exercise reduces the risk of developing conditions like obesity and type-2 diabetes.
  • Physical exercise boosts the immune system.
  • Kids build new motor skills and improved movement patterns through exercise.
  • Physical activity gives teen heart and lung health a boost.
  • Exercise, especially gentle physical activity, can ease menstrual cramps.

About Lava Tribe

Lava Tribe empowers young girls to be the best they can be and to focus more on the incredible things their bodies can do instead of how it looks. We celebrate inclusiveness and diversity and encourage girls to own their uniqueness whilst living happy, healthy and active lives.

For more news, info, tips and all things girls, sport and wellbeing, join us on social. You'll find us here on Facebook and here on Instagram.  





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