Because all work and no play makes Jill a dull gal!
We’re all well aware of the physical, psychological and social health benefits of participation in sports for children and young people. Interestingly, these benefits tend to be particularly great for girls. One major benefit of girls playing sports as they grow up is the impact this will have on the women they will become.
Confidence, teamwork and a more positive self-image are all qualities that will grow and develop as she takes part in physical activity. Sport teaches our daughters to set goals and work for them, understand their limits and defy them. It also teaches them to be disciplined, celebrate achievements and learn from failures. It teaches them that not everything will be a victory and you will have to pick yourself up and go again. Not only in sports, but also in life. In order to see these benefits put into practice, young girls need female sporting role models and they need them close to home. And that, mamas, is where you need to step in.
Why women and girls give up on sports
Throughout a woman’s life, the odds are stacked against her for staying interested and active in sports, perhaps because of a combination of a lack of opportunity and sporting female role models. As teenagers, adolescent girls become highly critical of themselves. It is at this stage that girls begin to place limitations on themselves. Without realising that sports, in fact, help us transcend these self-imposed limitations, girls may stop playing if they assume they won’t go on to become professional athletes. As they continue to grow up, balancing a career and a family means dropout rates in women’s sports remain high. Even if a woman were to choose to take up a sport later on, it can be intimidating (and difficult to find suitable opportunities) after being out of it for a while.
The influence of mums and female role models
Mothers have a huge influence on their daughter’s relationships with physical fitness or sports. Whether it’s participating together, or simply allowing your daughter to see that you yourself are active, this visibility is crucial.
Participating in a sport in front of your daughter allows her to see you as more than just “mum”. She will observe you dealing with pressure, supporting and working with other women, sweating, struggling, learning and showing respect, leadership and discipline. You will come across as capable, confident, willing to try new things and resilient. If you apply this to your daily life, your daughter will subconsciously imbibe the same lessons. We should allow our daughters to see their mum participating in sport because she wants to. Not because she’s trying to lose weight, or because she’s a professional, but because she is self-assured and confident and sees the benefits of it for her mental and physical health and well-being.
Read more: The Things Our Mamas Once Told Us
Sports & outdoor activities for mums & daughters
Other than just enrolling your daughter in a sports class, you could look at participating together in specific mother and daughter sports events. If not, take up a sport and make sure to invite your children (a good lesson for boys and girls to cheer on their mum!) to watch and learn. For those who find sport intimidating, taking part in an all-female environment might help you feel more relaxed and supported. Take a look at the initiatives below and get in touch with those that interest you. It’s also worth reaching out to other sports clubs that interest you to see if they run any beginner or casual sessions.
WISE HK – Women In Sports Empowered Hong Kong
WISE HK champions sports for women and girls in Hong Kong through a variety of initiatives. WISE believes in the power of sports to teach crucial life, personal and professional skills and change women’s lives. They run Mother and Daughter Sports Days roughly every six weeks at various locations. Girls from 5 to 15 are invited to attend with their mothers. Over the last two years, the events have provided a variety of different sports led by coaches in that field. Past sports have included football, touch rugby, volleyball and more. WISE has even started inviting teenage girls to provide the “coaching” aspect of the day in order to accelerate girls’ leadership skills and enable them to thrive and advance their impact in their community. Keep an eye on its Facebook and Instagram pages for its Mother and Daughter events.
Move it for Mental Health: Join the Challenge!
Why not participate in a challenge with your daughter? For something a bit different, check out Mind HK. Every February, Mind HK encourages people to exercise every day for 30 minutes for their mental well-being. While the many physical benefits of exercise are known, this campaign asks you to exercise for both your physical and mental wellbeing and raise awareness of it. Mothers and daughters can participate in this together, doing anything from a 30-minute walk or hike, a HIIT or dance class at home or some hula hooping! Share your progress online using #moveithk. Continue this practice every month after for continued benefits.
Hong Kong United*
Hong Kong United is a newly-formed football initiative that invites women of all ages and abilities to a weekly training session. Set up via Standard Perpetual MLFA, Hong Kong United understands that as a beginner or someone who has been out for a while, getting into football can be daunting. That’s why it’s started these sessions, which are run by two female coaches working in Hong Kong. Participants’ ages range from late teens or early 20s to those well into their 40s and 50s. The sessions are fun and inclusive and, as the name suggests, they’re aimed at bringing Hong Kong women together through the beautiful game. Check it out on TeamApp at Hong Kong United FC. Its training sessions are held on Monday nights in Happy Valley from 9:30pm to 11pm.
*Editor’s note: The author of this post started this initiative.
This special series in honour of International Women’s Day is brought to you in partnership SoFi Hong Kong, the $0 commission trading app and contains editorial and sponsored posts celebrating women in Hong Kong. For more such stories, please click here.