Recent research shows that inactive or sedentary women have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and depression. More research shows that by increases their exercise and improving their diets women can dramatically decrease their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and many of the other risk factors associated inactivity. Even though the information about the health benefits of exercise for women is readily available women still report having more issues with exercising and on a whole exercise less frequently than men.

Research shows that women typically find more reasons not to exercise than men do. This is most likely due to multiple factors that influence every woman’s decision to exercise, including various social, psychological, societal, and family pressures. I’ve read it reported that female gender roles like child care and managing a family and household can get in the way of a workout or even a woman’s overall ability to view their own health as a priority. This is unfortunate as in today’s society there should not be any gender biases getting in the way of women living healthy active lifestyles. The tide however is changing and an amendment that was passed back in 1972 has a lot to do with it.

The rise in participation of women in sports is largely due to the amendment called title IX passed in 1972 that leveled the playing field for women in varsity sports. Women could not be discriminated against and institutions like universities that received federal aid were now required to provide equal funding for female and male sports. This has caused an ever increasing rise in the participation of women in sports. Women that grew up without the help of title IX may still find it more difficult to adopt a lifestyle of exercise and sport as there were social pressures and biases that did not support them. Playing sports and developing an active lifestyle early in life can get girls in the habit of regular exercise and help them keep the habit for life. They also develop social skills, interpersonal skills, improved self confidence and self worth, and a sense of belonging to something that is greater than oneself.

It is now socially acceptable for women to play any sport you can think of, and I’m not just talking about the ‘girl’ sports. I am a varsity coach of a women’s ice hockey team and these girls are every bit as good a team of athletes as any men’s team I have ever seen. Girls are now playing all of the male dominated sports and even the roughest ones with great success like Football, Rugby, Ice Hockey, and even Lacrosse. This is a great time for female athletics and the future is even brighter.