"Basketball was a gateway for me to express myself when I didn’t know how to use words."

By Faith Brar
July 15, 2019

Fitness influencer and personal trainer Kelsey Heenan has been inspiring thousands of people on social media by being refreshingly honest about her wellness journey. Not too long ago, she opened up about how far she's come after almost dying from anorexia 10 years ago, and how much of a role fitness played in her recovery.

Turns out, being active has empowered her in more ways than one. In a recent Instagram post, Heenan revealed the impact of playing a sport through childhood has had on her confidence both then and now. (Find out Why More American Women Are Playing Rugby)

"I used to be painfully shy," Heenan wrote on Instagram. "As a kid, I was terrified to talk to people. Honestly, I would burst into tears if someone I didn’t know tried to talk to me. It wasn’t until I started playing sports that I started to gain confidence in who I was." (Related: Kelsey Heenan Had the Perfect Response When Someone Asked, "Where Are Your Boobs?)

Heenan shared how playing basketball became a way for her to express herself when she couldn't find the words. "It gave me confidence to know that my body and mind could work together to make a creative play, to make a game-winning shot, to problem solve, and work with others towards a common goal," she wrote. "It was a vessel for me to start breaking out of my shell and learn to be more confident in other areas of my life." (See: How This Group Is Using Sports to Empower Teenage Girls In Morocco)

Sports empower. There's no question about it. Countless studies and anecdotal evidence show that not only can playing sports help improve women’s physical wellbeing, but it also promotes personal growth and instills values of teamwork, self-reliance, and resilience.

Heenan herself says it's best: "Movement is powerful in that way. When you accomplish something that you never thought you could do, it catapults into other areas of your life."

Want more incredible motivation and insight from inspiring women? Join us this fall for our debut SHAPE Women Run the World Summit in New York City. Be sure to browse the e-curriculum here, too, to score all kinds of skills.

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