ExerciseSweat, energy, competitive spirit and boundless energy—in other words, the same stuff as little boys! Of course, this isn’t news to any household with a daughter involved in a sports program. Encouraging the exercise habit in girls is essential. As they mature, osteoporosis (weak bones) and weight management become major issues; exercise should play a major role in maintaining strong bones and a healthy body weight.
It’s important for young girls to work on overall body strength, just as it is for boys. Girls needn’t worry they become too “buffed” from strength training. Their muscles naturally become stronger, yet maintain the sleekness rather than the bulkiness that boys develop. And don’t forget, exercise should be fun! If pressured to compete becomes the issue, the exercise habit—and its benefits—could be abandoned.
What types of exercise are especially beneficial? Endurance and running, swimming, jumping and other aerobic activities are excellent, for girls and boys alike. After all, until puberty girls and boys can play with and against one another equally in terms of performance.
Flexibility, while a natural part of being young, can be maintained through slow, controlled movements to increase the range of motion of joints.
Along with the exercise habit, young girls should be encouraged to grow into adulthood using good health practices as a guideline. These include not smoking, managing a health diet low in fat with lots of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates for energy.