Sports are a great way for women to stay fit, make friends and overcome the fear of failure. Here are seven reasons women should be involved in athletics.

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Sports are awesome, and so are girls who play/do/love them. From boutique spin classes to boot camps, from hiking to hot yoga and from soccer to lacrosse, the advantages of moving your body are major. Here are seven reasons why:

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Fit

Being fit feels good, and there are so many different kinds of fit: lean fit, muscle fit, flexible fit, strength fit, balance fit and tank fit.

I am tank fit.

As my college coach used to say, “If you can run a 6-minute mile, I don’t care what size you are.”

I was a size 12! Getting fit means that you physically increase your capacity to handle the next exercise, drill or challenge. Mentally, you can reap the same benefits knowing that every time you go another round, you are even more ready for the one that will follow it.

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Figure

Regardless of your shape or size, sculpting your body by working out on the bike or sprinting on the field is the way to calibrate what the plus of food (yum!) and the minus of stress (grrr…) can do to your body. Sports help the balance of the body... and the balance of the body helps the balance of the mind.

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Fight

Competition is good for the soul, and it creates the desire and the endurance to fight. As far as I am concerned, knowing what it feels like to really fight and take risks is like playing the saxophone while doing double Dutch — badass times a million!

“Fight” is both wanting something AND going after it with intention. Whether you are competing on a team vs. an opposing one, racing against other individuals or working to beat your personal-best record, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable gives you the advantage.

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Friends

Rather than having brunch with your girlfriends, get your socializing in without all the calories by meeting up for a jog, playing a pickup game or taking a killer boot camp class. I’m not saying celebrating with food and friends isn’t pure awesome — it is! However, there is nothing better than beating your bestie in a one-on-one game and then celebrating over a piece of lava cake.

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Fortitude

Every time your running shoes pound the pavement or your cleats hit the turf, you are amplifying your awesomeness. You know it. You feel it. Sports urge you to take action and require you to take the next step. Taking those steps over time — uphill, downhill, at 8.5 miles per hour or over the course of 26.2 miles — builds grit. Grit is not static or complete, and it’s not an island that you swim to and where you eat coconuts all day long. Grit is the paddle, the pedal, the treadmill and the mountain. It’s the work, the strain, the sprint and the sweat. And when grit is what you do, what you are is badass.

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Failure

Athletics are unscripted, and you cannot always plan what happens next. Scary? No. Fabulous? Yes. Fear of failure paralyzes us because we try to create scenarios where we will only be successful. That is bull shitake mushrooms! Athletics provide real-time feedback, which forces you to develop skills and self-awareness. Playing sports is like practicing real life in a safe, controlled environment. You learn to play. You learn to troubleshoot. You learn about the ebb and flow of the “game,” which is useful in understanding the ebb and flow of life. You will be down. You will be up. The choice you have is to keep playing.

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Fierce

Participating in sports gives you a little bit of healthy attitude and a 5-gallon Gatorade cooler full of confidence. It gives you a closet full of garments to wear, like your don’t-F-with-me cape, your watchout-world skinny jeans and your you-ain’t-ever-seen-a-creature-like-me infinity scarf. Talk about fashionable.

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