Young girls build self esteem through fitness

Nearly half of Canadian girls between the ages of 10-17 avoid social activities such as team sports, working out at the gym, going to the beach or participating in physical activities because they feel self-conscious about their bodies and the way they look. 

According to Dove, by the age of 14 more than half (55 per cent) of Canadian girls already feel pressure to be beautiful. Now that’s a substantial number of female youth that are not comfortable with themselves. 

To bring about positive change, improve self-esteem, and develop inner and outer beauty and self-confidence from within, community leaders such as Madeleine Shaw have begun organizing local initiatives like G Day for Girls to help teach young girls to fully express themselves through mentorships and empowerment. 

G Day, coming up Nov. 2, is a global social movement anchored by day-long activities that emphasize self-esteem and leadership for girls ages 10-12. 

Tickets are $75, and presenters for the Vancouver event include Girlvana Yoga creator Alex Mazerolle, My Treehouse Vision senior dance facilitator Tree Walsh, certified life-cycle celebrant Tamara Cotton, imagine1day executive director Sapna Dayal, “math geek” Lynda Jao, mom rapper “M”, music from M’Girl, skoah founder Andrea Scott, and more. 

Parents are welcome for part of the day, but girls are encouraged to attend with their friends in hopes of breaking that inner circle format, and allowing them to meet new friends during breaks. 

In the lead up to the event, Mazerolle and Walsh took the opportunity to highlight some strategies that they found helpful as they were growing up. 

For example, using music therapy as a means to get out of your head and lift energy and spirits. It helps by relieving stress and creating connectedness while promoting fitness and exercise. Groove dance is also beneficial because there is no right or wrong way to do it. It’s all about flow and feeling the music, which is great for those who don’t think that they can “dance.” As the saying goes, dance like no one is watching.

Mazerolle and Walsh also suggest using yoga to centre yourself. Becoming aware of breathing – even for a few minutes while waiting for the bus – can make a significant difference. Yoga has physical, mental, and emotional benefits for young girls, and deep breathing can instantly have a calming effect and improve mood substantially. A few yoga poses or a five-minute stretch after soccer practice or dance class can connect you back to yourself. Give yourself time to re-focus on what you are grateful for, instead of focusing on negatives. It will open you up to another way of thinking.

In fact, Mazerolle says that at age 13 she struggled with body image issues and yoga resulted in a lot of healing, both emotionally and physically, for her. 

She says meditation was also very beneficial for mind and body, and is a tactic girls can use throughout their day no matter how busy life gets. 

Every girl at some point in their lives feels insecure, embarrassed, or inadequate. Just knowing that there is a community for them to share in those feelings and relate to can make a huge difference. So I challenge all of you to take one step towards improving your own life and the lives of our youth today.

Natalie xx

Repost from my original article in Westender