Break the Barriers; Girls and Sports

A new survey of young people by Women In Sport has highlighted the how many teenage girls are moving away from sport as they transition from primary to secondary school.

We all know the benefits of exercise for mental health. Exercise helps increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter which is involved with regulating mood. It can also give us a sense of achievement, provides opportunity to connect us with others, and can help with relaxation and enjoyment.

Exercise does not have to mean sports in the formal sense. It includes any activity which helps to increase the heart rate and gets us slightly out of breath- so walking, dancing, hoovering the house can all come under the exercise heading.

In the survey of over 4,000 young people, some of the factors that affected teenage girls enjoyment of sport included:

  • Feel judged (61%)
  • Lack self belief (50%)
  • Pressures of schoolwork (41%)
  • Don’t feel safe exercising outside (38%) (Women In Sport, 2022)
Graphic from Women In Sport, 2022

Self-belief, concerns about body image and appearance and feeling like we don’t belong are things that can affect us all at different times. However, when these thoughts and feelings begin to affect our ability to engage in the activities that we want to or need to do, it’s a good sign that we need to address them.

Occupational Therapy can support you to identify and overcome the barriers to doing what you love.