More than gymnastics
The many benefits of learning gymnastics
When you watch gymnasts on the TV, usually at the Olympics, it can often feel a million miles away from anything us mere mortals would ever try to do – or need to.
But, did you know that the skills involved in gymnastics support many other sports, activities and general life? Here’s the low-down on the many physical and emotional benefits of gymnastics classes and why you should have a go.
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Gymnastics can help maintain a healthy body, which is key to preventing many health conditions such as asthma, cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Being involved in gymnastics helps encourage a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity and eating a well-balanced diet.
Strong and healthy bones
Participation in weight-bearing activities, including gymnastics poses, can build strong, healthy bones, helping to reduce the risks of developing osteoporosis later on in life.
Being flexible helps protect you from injury, especially when playing other sports. For example, a fall at high speed can be very difficult for your body to absorb without damage, but increased hip abductor, hamstring or quad flexibility can help prevent painful muscle pulls.
Balance is fundamental to every sport and is also integral for many childhood activities. From learning to ride a bicycle to climbing a tree, when a child has a good sense of balance, they can safely and confidently participate in a wide variety of activities.
Gymnasts do not react with as large a “startle response” to sudden imbalances as non-gymnasts, meaning that they become better equipped to avoid hazardous situations by quickly identifying them and naturally correcting body alignment when walking, standing or jumping, etc.
Full body strength
As gymnastics train across various equipment, they’re required to support their body weight in an array of complex positions and movements. This training develops minor and major muscle groups to allow gymnasts to stabilise and control their movement. As a result, unlike many sports that strengthen certain body parts while ignoring others, the gymnast gains full-body development.
Whether it’s through practicing prone falls, log rolls, shoulder rolls, dive rolls or other gymnastics moves, gymnastics helps train an athlete to absorb and redirect energy to prevent injury.
These skills are so effective that high impact sports like parkour have picked up gymnastic elements such as the shoulder roll in order to redirect the body’s force when completing big jumps.
Increased cognitive function
Participation in gymnastics classes does not only offer physical gains; it is beneficial for improving concentration and mental focus – an important aspect of anyone’s life. Gymnastics allows children the chance to think for themselves, to stimulate their imaginations and to solve problems safely.
Gymnastics instils a sense of discipline. Students need self-control to make corrections when a coach asks them to, and the self-discipline to stay on task when a coach is working with another gymnast.
Children who participate in physical activity like gymnastics classes are likely to have better self-esteem and self-confidence.
At all ages, gymnastics provides an opportunity to develop social skills. Younger children learn how to stand in line, look, listen, be quiet when others are talking, work and think independently, and how to be respectful of others. Older children learn how to set a good example for the people who look up to them and become role models at a young age.
When it comes down to it, what’s more fun! Whether you’re jumping on the trampoline, swinging from bars or vaulting, gymnastics teaches you to harness your power and allows your body to do incredible things. As every personal trainer will tell you, exercise needs to be enjoyable. The more fun you have, the more likely you’ll make it a habit. When you’re learning new skills and achieving your goals with friends, it’s fun to stay active with gymnastics!