According to the Women's Sports Foundation and the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, participating in sports is extremely beneficial for the health and well-being of our daughters. Not only does their physical health depend on having a consistent exercise routine, but their mental and emotional health flourish when they play a sport.
1. Better Grades
Girls who participate in sports have better grades than girls who don't and are much more likely to graduate from high school. They can handle pressure and deadlines better than girls who don't play sports, and they know that making a mistake or experiencing a "failure" doesn't make them a failure. They are more likely to pick themselves up and keep moving academically, just as they do in sports.
2. Higher Self-Esteem
Girls who play sports have higher self-esteem than those who don't play sports. They are less likely to face unintended pregnancies and less likely to battle depression.
3. Better Life-long Health
The health benefits of playing sports extend far beyond high school. Not only are they less likely to develop osteoporosis, but girls who play sports reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 60%. Plus, anyone who regularly exercises as a child will continue to do so as an adult, leading to an overall healthy life.
4. Tools for Success
Playing sports teaches girls the same tools for success that boys have been benefiting from for generations. Girls learn teamwork, goal-setting, loyalty, and how to follow directions, which are all essential to becoming successful in the work place. In fact, 80% of the female executives at Fortune 500 companies refer to themselves as former "tomboys" — all of them having played sports.
5. Better Body Image
Girls who play sports have a more positive body image. This means they are less likely to develop an eating disorder and more likely to stay away from risky behaviors like promiscuity, drugs, and alcohol.
If your daughter isn't interested in sports, talk to her about what options are available to her. There's everything from soccer to gymnastics, cheerleading to basketball, and snowboarding to hockey for girls. It doesn't matter which sport she chooses — what matters is that she becomes part of a team that will help her to develop her self-worth, leading her through a lifetime of confidence, health, and success.