An ever-evolving and growing body of research supports the important health conclusion that a physically active lifestyle lowers risk for a host of chronic illnesses that adversely affect women’s lives, including heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
On May 12, 2015, the Women’s Sports Foundation released its third edition of Her Life Depends On It, a comprehensive look at the links between participation in sport and physical activity and the health and well-being of American girls and women. The report is compiled from more than 1,500 studies examining women’s athletics and health, and research shows that for girls and women, the pathway to living a strong and healthy life is paved in part by participation in sport and physical activity. Whether being armed to conquer the physical challenges of daily living or developing the mental fortitude to overcome life’s obstacles and inner struggles, the more active girls and women are, the more prepared they are to reach their goals, handle what life presents to them, and draw upon their own power when necessary.
Keep reading for Brief highlights or download the full resource below to learn exactly how living an active life impacts both the physical and mental health of girls and women of all backgrounds.
Cancer: “Women who took better care of themselves showed a 17% lower risk of any cancer, 22% lower risk of breast cancer, 52% lower risk of colorectal cancer, 27% lower risk of all-cause mortality, and 20% lower risk of cancer-specific mortality.”1
Obesity: “Girls who are more sedentary are more likely to be overweight than boys who are sedentary2, urging the need to address the fewer opportunities for sport and physical activity participation for girls and issues of access to those opportunities.”
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: “In general, the more physically active, the more likely a person would not experience cognitive decline later on in their life.”3
Exercise: “Exercise has the capacity to stimulate the creation of brain-derived neurotropic factor, which aids in the repair of neurons and the generation of new neurons.”4
1 Thomson et al., 2014; 2 Velde et al., 2007; 3 Carvalho et al., 2014; 4 Warren, 2013