21 March 2017
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

What are the benefits of a sporty lifestyle?

March 13, 2008

Higher self esteem; a better social life and an improved sense of worth – just some of the benefits of an active sporty lifestyle according to new research conducted by Nike.

sporty-lifestyle.pngIn order to gain an insight into what attracts young women to sports, as well as what they perceive to be the main benefits and disadvantages of it, Nike commissioned independent research across nine European countries with 10,000 women aged between the ages of 16-30. The results of the Here I Am survey offer some expected, but also some surprising findings.

Around half of the respondents play sport, with German women appearing to be the sportiest (67%) and the UK women lagging somewhat behind with only 45% participating, the second lowest figure in the survey.

In the UK, aerobics and gym classes are the most popular form of exercise (51% of active respondents), followed by swimming (45% of active respondents), fitness (36% of active respondents), dance (24% of active respondents) and running (23% of active respondents).

The primary reasons for doing exercise is physical, “What the participating young women like most about sports, is getting physical results and the proud feeling afterwards. Their favourite outcome is that they feel energised and the main reason to play sports is their general health,” says Bridget Eliot, Women’s Category Manager for Nike UK and Ireland.

But it is not only the physical benefits that are a motivation. Emotional rewards are felt too. Nearly three out of four of the young women who took part in the survey and play sports, indicate that sports make them a stronger person emotionally. “At Nike we have always been convinced that sport makes you stronger in both body and mind, but it is good to see that these girls also feel this way,” Bridget Eliot continues.

Of the women involved who play sports, a significantly higher degree feels as if they can conquer the world (41%), more of them have confidence in themselves (77%), feel successful (77%), have a high degree of self-esteem (62%) and are proud of who they are (85%), as opposed to the girls who do not play sports. In addition, 68 per cent of the young women involved who play sports, state that sport can have a big impact on their success in life, for example career-wise.

Social lives also benefit according to the research. About two thirds of the young women who play sports, indicate that it makes them meet new people. Furthermore, just about half of them also say sport helps them stay cheerful and an even bigger group (59%) feels that it helps them to cope with stress or anger.

So health benefits aside that’s a better social life, more confidence and a positive effect on personal relationships – if that’s not going to convince girls to get out there and get active I don’t know what will!

Reassuringly, the vast majority of the 10,000 young women (83%) do not consider sports to be more of a guy thing. But more alarmingly here in the UK a reasonable amount of the girls who took part in the survey, state their fear of losing femininity through sports, as a reason for not participating. Wherever this illusion is coming from, brands and the media must certainly work together to overturn it.

Similarly English girls in particular say they do not play sports because it makes them too sweaty – something that the British government has recently addressed through their Fit for Girls initiative in schools. The scheme has introduced better changing facilities in schools and provided accessories such as hair straighteners and hair dryers in a bid to lure girls back to sport. Read the full story here: New initiative to get girls active.

Nike is also playing its part in a bid to get more girls active here in the UK by launching a social networking site to encourage girls to meet as an online community and encourage and inspire each other to live more sporty lifestyles. Join up at www.nikehereiam.com

Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Read about Nike’s link up with the Women Will charity to help underprivileged girls experience the benefits of sport.

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