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Playing sports

Girl playing soccer

Playing sports can help you through tough periods and put you on the path to a healthy adult life. The Women's Sports Foundation has conducted research on the link between academic success and sports for women and girls. Their research shows that:

  • Girls who participate in sports are less likely to do drugs, less likely to get pregnant, and more likely to graduate from high school than those who do not play sports.
  • Half of all girls who participate in sports have higher than average levels of self-esteem and less depression.
  • 80 percent of women identified as key leaders in Fortune 500 companies participated in sports during their childhood.
  • Women who are student athletes graduate at higher rates than women students generally.

What kind of sports or exercise would you like to participate in? In picking a sport the focus should not be on what particular sport you excel in, but what sport you enjoy most!

If you are quiet, shy, or just not very athletic, go for walks with a friend or your mom. Try hiking or swimming on the weekends as a family. You might also try noncompetitive dance, gymnastics, aerobics, or ice skating classes. Learn about playing sports with an illness or disability.

If you are a bit of a “tomboy“ and always seem to want to play with the boys at the park, go for the more competitive sports. Enroll in either co-ed or all-girl sports such as softball, soccer, basketball, field hockey, or track. Let’s not forget football!

Even if you consider yourself a “girly-girl,” you can enjoy participating in sports as well. Dance and cheerleading often are overlooked when considering sports, but they are physically demanding and are excellent forms of exercise.

 

Content last reviewed October 09, 2009
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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