I’m so excited to post our first ever guest written post by the amazing Coach Caric! I have respected Team Caric’s work for such a long time and I’m so grateful that Mr Caric has been kind enough to write a post for us! Below you can find some information on the mental health benefits of cheerleading. I’ve wanted to delve into this topic for a long time, and who better to help than Mr Caric. Thank you so much for your time producing this!
The majority of girls with low body esteem will skip meals and avoid seeing friends and family, avoid participating in extra-curricular activities or seeing a doctor, according to a large survey. The research, based on interviews with over 5,000 girls aged 10 to 17 in 14 countries, also found that more than half of girls with low body esteem struggle to be assertive. It found that girls in the UK have one of the lowest body confidence scores in the world.
The report reveals that low body-esteem is causing 79% of girls to opt out of important life activities – such as trying out for a team or club, and engaging with family or loved ones – when they don’t feel good about the way they look.
Additionally, 70% of girls with low body-esteem say they won’t be assertive in their opinions or stick to their decisions if they aren’t happy with the way they look, while 87% will stop themselves from eating or will otherwise put their health at risk.
The report concluded that higher levels of body esteem have a lasting impact on a girl’s confidence, resilience and life satisfaction. Girls with low body esteem are more likely to succumb to beauty and appearance pressures, withdraw from “fundamental life-building activities” and fail to reach their potential.
Furthermore, new research from Women in Sport, in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, shows girls still turn away from school sports in high numbers. Their data surveyed 25,000 girls and boys from 138 secondary schools across England and Northern Ireland, and found a gulf in attitudes towards physical activity between girls and boys.
Previous gendered schemes, involving pink or princess motifs to encourage girls into taking part in activity have not been successful despite evidence suggesting a sporty background helps girls rise up the career ladder, a minority see the relevance of physical education in their lives.
By age 7 girls are already less active than boys and this disparity widens as they move from childhood into adolescence. Secondary-age girls are more likely to experience barriers to participation than boys and the biggest drop-off occurs during the transition from primary to secondary school, with declining body confidence affecting girls’ participation in PE and sport.
In recent years the fastest growing sport in the world has been cheerleading. The main appeal to young women and girls is the non-discriminatory, all-inclusive element of the sport where, regardless of age, ability, size, shape, ethnicity or class, there is a place for them in a cheer academy. The ability levels are from prep level through to level 6 with the latter level being considered for the Olympics in 2020.
Cheerleading also provides positive role models for young women and girls and leading cheerleaders on social media have in excess of 500,000 followers. Cheerleading attracts more females to sport than any other and provides benefits such as learning important life skills such as teamwork, trust, decision making, commitment, loyalty, leadership and confidence. Female athletes have more positive body images than non-athletes and one significant health benefit is that girls active in sports during adolescence and young adulthood are 20% less likely to get breast cancer later in life.
The benefits of exercise are well documented from both a mental and physical health perspective. It reduces the risk of heart disease by up to 35%, type 2 diabetes by up to 50%, breast cancer by up to 20%, depression by up to 30% and dementia by up to 30%.