Top 5 Benefits For Girls From Sports & Being Active

"I take karate classes at a different place (than school)—it was hard to find a place that teaches girls! I really like karate because I learn a lot, and I also get some exercise." - Arina, January-February 2012 issue of NMG.
“I take karate classes at a different place (than school)—it was hard to find a place that teaches girls! I really like karate because I learn a lot, and I also get some exercise.” – Arina, January-February 2012 issue of NMG.

Girls who play sports get many mental, physical, and emotional benefits. But what if your daughter doesn’t like sports? Is she just destined to miss out on all those benefits?

I was one of those girls.  I was never much into the typical sports that my older siblings grew up on, like tennis, softball, soccer, or basketball. I was much more interested in books and writing. But staying active and finding sports that did interest me played a huge role in my confidence, body image, and much more.

I found a good fit in horseback riding and swimming. Both of these sports taught me independence and responsibility, and most importantly, all of the amazing things my body could accomplish. These successes gave me strength and confidence, and bolstered me in areas where I didn’t feel as confident.

I think a lot of girls now feel the same as I did. They don’t find many run-of-the-mill sports fun, and feel like they can’t get anything out of them. But being active, in sports or not, has amazing emotional and physical benefits for every girl. It’s all about finding the right fit for her.

Top 5 Benefits For Girls Playing Sports & Being Active

  1. Making Friends Outside Of School “Having a social support group outside of school during the rocky adolescent years can also be helpful. Girls learn valuable life lessons as they deal with competition and politics, and the regular physical activity helps reinforce a healthy lifestyle. While free time decreases, they can learn to become more organized in school and other activities,” says Kristal Leebrick.
  2. Stress Relief “Getting active makes girls feel better because physical activity releases mood-elevating chemicals in the brain—and is a stress reliever. The more physically active girls are, the greater their self-esteem and the more satisfied they are with their weight,” says Helen Cordes.
  3. Gaining Body Confidence Girls face huge pressures about body image starting at a very young age.  Every girl needs to know her own strengths, the goodness of how her body works, and how it helps her fulfill her dreams.  Feeling good about her body is a great boost to her confidence.
  4. Dealing With Failure Failure in childhood is a powerful teacher, especially when parents can be the emotional safety net that allows girls to feel the frustration, embarrassment, hurt or whatever comes, and then listen while their daughter figures out what to do next. Failure handled this way builds true self-confidence. It’s the definition of resilience which is one of the very best gifts we can hope to give our children.
  5. A Step Toward Equality “Still, today, girls worldwide lack opportunities to play sports and face daunting pressures to follow cultural, governmental and familial norms prohibiting girls and women from participating in athletic activities … Title IX — the U.S. law requiring gender equity in public education, including athletics — has led to a significant nationwide increase in labor force participation since its passage in 1972. More women in the workforce correlates with higher GDP growth,” says Kim Turner, Fair Play for Girls in Sports.

How do you encourage your girl to stay active? Does she play traditional team sports, or has she found a better fit in something different? Share your stories in the comments below!


P.S. Get A Free Download From the Women’s Sports Foundation

Find even more benefits for girls in sports with this free download, Benefits – Why Sports Participation for Girls and Women: The Women’s Sports Foundation Position


Megan Fischer is the website editor at Megan is passionate about empowering girls to find their full potential. She lives in Colorado with her husband, 3 dogs, 2 horses, and 2 cats.