Physical Activity Amongst Girls Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

participation and improve interest in physical activity for girls. The paper uses six articles from current sources that show how to make physical education more fun, what kind of activities may be added to a physical education class, and why girls do not participate as often as they should. It focuses on how to improve the overall experience for girls in physical education. The papers also analyses why girls have such a difficult time participating in physical education in the first place. Differing solutions from increasing motor skill level to increased instruction and practice offer possibilities of improvement in overall participation for girls and girls with special needs.

Girls have similarities to boys, this is true in many aspects, but they are also different. While boys are touted for their physical prowess and their fitness level, girls are praised for their beauty and "girlish" behavior. Complex social behavior along with perceived roles and issues with body image all contribute to the way girls view physical activity as it pertains to physical education. After all, girls want to fit in and want to be seen as attractive or popular, or in the very least not stand out in a negative way. The literature review is meant to examine these intricacies and learn ways to get past perceived roles and body image in order to promote participation and fitness.

Special education is also important to take into account as some girls may have or exhibit certain disabilities. These disabilities may make it difficult for them to participate either physically or socially. That is why it is important to include research that helps all kinds of girls participate fully in physical education. Practice makes perfect, physical activity competence only gets better by being active and increasing participation in physical activities.

Research Question: How can physical education teachers improve interest in physical activity for girls?


Physical education may be for some difficult, boring, repetitive, and something not worth investing time and effort into. It especially rings true for girls who would rather focus on studies or boys or something else or even girls who may have a physical or mental. Teens in the modern era have the convenience of video games, social networking sites, etc. that help them avoid exercise altogether thus making participation in physical education that much more harder disability (Hastie, 2003, p. 72). However there are ways to improve physical education to not only increase participation, but also make it enjoyable so girls who are otherwise inactive or bored can have something positive to do in their lives.

Many things may help make physical education more entertaining and worthwhile. Certain things like team activities, inclusion of sports, even a simple game of tag will get girls moving and work together, promoting bonding, health, and most importantly physical activity. It's difficult to become adept in sports and exercise. It takes concentration, will power, motivation, and positive self-image. So many girls today face a negative self-image. Negative self-image or negative body image demotivates girls from participating in anything too difficult or time consuming as they often do not have confidence in their abilities. In this literature review, six articles will be used to see why girls do not participate as much as their male counterparts, how to increase participation, and how to make physical education more fun and enjoyable.

Literature Review

In an article by Butt et al. (2011), the authors discuss physical activity (PA) and its progressive decline in teenagers as they age. They also examine the motivational determinants of PA and the need for further research for better understanding. The authors conducted a study in order to "investigate the amount of physical and sedentary activity that adolescents participated in across age, gender, and race, and to investigate adolescents' attraction to PA and their perceived barriers and benefits across age, gender, and race" (Butt, 2011, pp. 1083). They examined teenagers aged 13-16 and asked the participants to fill out a questionnaire.

Their results revealed what has been identified earlier, teenage females, as they age, participate less and less in physical activity. Their discovery as to why this decrease happened was primarily due to the perception girls have of physical exertion not being fun. In fact boys participated due to enjoying physical exertion. This was not the case for the girls.

Another important reason was body image. Girls didn't feel comfortable moving in their bodies and having others watch them physically exert themselves. The study further enforced the need for physical education to be fun and also added that physical activities should be tailored to genders in order to have both genders have fun. "Findings underscore the importance of structuring activities differently to sustain interest in male and female adolescents, and highlights motives of having a healthy body image, and making PA fun to enhance participation" (Butt, 2011, pp. 1083).

In a study by Ericsson (2011), the author focuses on examining why children and teens do not actively engage in sport or exercise. Ericsson focused on the inability of these children and teens to establish early coordination and rudimentary motor skills while attending school. Basic motor skills are often an important part of physical activity competence and therefore enjoyment. If one cannot play a sport or perform an exercise properly, that person will be discouraged from participating again. This pertains more for special needs children and teens who might have, for example ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), and cannot focus long enough to learn the sport or exercise.

Humans often participate in something if they feel there is a reward afterward for their activity. The reward fuels motivation. Sometimes the reward is satisfaction for accomplishing their goal. Other times it is the recognition of others for succeeding. All of this adds to the drive for someone to participate or not. If a person has negative experiences with something, like sports or exercises, they will not continue to participate, for fear of injury, or failure.

Ericsson studied effects of an addition of physical activity and motor training, throughout the course of nine years, on marks and motor skills in the school subject PEH. During the course of the study the children aged from 7 to 15 years of age. Additional motor skill training, "according to the MUGI model, was given to students in the intervention group who had motor skills deficits" (Ericsson, 2011, pp. 313). Motor training not only enabled better performance in physical activities, but also decreased the gap between girls and boys in regards to motor skills. Motor training along with increased physical activity provided the children who were deficit with better motor skills and a higher satisfaction rating when performing physical activities.

"After only one year the students in the intervention group had significantly better motor skills (balance and coordination) than students in the control group These differences remained and were also found at follow-up school years 3 and 9" (Ericsson, 2011, pp. 313). The study helps confirm that the connection between motor skill level and participation exists. It acts as sort of chain reaction. If a child has poor motor skills, they will not achieve a high level of satisfaction and competence in physical activity and will therefore decrease participation. If a child has good motor skills, they are more willing to participate in physical activities because they feel more confident and derive more satisfaction from said activities.

The article does a good job of highlighting what might cause decrease in physical education participation. It also shows how to improve said problem by increasing physical activity and improving motor skills. Earlier it was mentioned that girls do not participate in sports and physical activities as much as boys. The previous study said boys derive more enjoyment from physical exertion than do girls. Perhaps this is because boys have better motor skills due to their already higher activity levels.

If girls participate more in physical activities, their motor skills will increase and they will enjoy physical exertion as much as boys do. "Differences in motor skills between boys and girls may decrease with extended physical activity and extra motor training in school. The MUGI program can be useful as a pedagogic model for observing and improving motor skills in school" (Ericsson, 2011, pp. 313). The same can be applied to girls with special needs and children with special needs in general. Although they may require more practice and added attention or instruction, they may perform better and thus participate more if they see improvement in their motor skills and their overall competence in any given physical activity. The adage, "practice makes perfect" applies here.

In an article by Dudley (2011), the author presents a systematic review of published literature on the efficiency of physical education in encouraging involvement in physical activity, satisfaction of physical activity and movement skill adeptness in teenagers. The review used a literature search that yielded twenty-three viable articles highlighting the desired topic of discussion. The results included and demonstrated the environment, range and concentration of…

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