What Gymnastics Offers Your Kids

Photo Credit: Altadore gymnasts by Rick McCharles is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The most important aspect of gymnastics is what it offers your kids. In addition to being a physical outlet, it also offers children of all ages the opportunity to grow emotionally and mentally. The great thing about gymnastics is that most kids can participate in gymnastics at some level during their lifetime. As a bonus, children that specialize in gymnastics at a young age grow up to be exceptional athletes. Below, we will go over the less obvious attributes that gymnastics offers your kids.

Upper Body Strength

Gymnastics uses every muscle in a child’s body. In fact, most gymnasts have incredible upper and lower body strength. Unlike other sports that require kids to do additional strengthening and conditioning skills to balance out their physique, gymnastics strengthens upper and lower body strength at the same time. If you ask any athlete, they will tell you that creating upper body strength is extremely difficult, but gymnastics is the fastest and safest way for kids to create this type of strength. The upper body strength that gymnasts learn as children will help them become the ultimate athlete. With a strong upper and lower body, many gymnasts will go on to excel in other sports as well.

Social Skills Learned at the Gym

Gymnasts spend a ton of time in the gym. While it is important to focus on the sport while they are in the gym, it’s also a great time for kids to socialize and learn important social skills that they will use later in their lives. Kids who start gymnastics at a young age learn to wait their turn, stand in line, and deal with grown-ups in a respectable manner. All of these skills are important for children as they make their way through elementary, Jr. High, and eventually high school. Young athletes also learn to be coached, and coachable kids turn into responsible adults.

Gymnastics Helps Develop High-Level Problem Solving Skills

Gymnasts also have higher level problem-solving skills that develop from gymnastics classes. Navigating between multiple stations in a class period allow children to use their logistics and helps develop organizational skills. Accepting criticism from coaches and judges teaches kids how to accept critiques in a positive way and apply changes that help them develop as an athlete, and a person. High-level problem-solving skills will eventually become habits that extend to other areas of their life.

Posture

Many adults have regular appointments with chiropractors and masseuses because of poor posture. Poor posture habits can develop as a child, but don’t usually cause a great deal of pain until adulthood. Gymnasts have great posture. In fact, coaches concentrate on posture from a very young age, and competitive gymnasts learn early on that bad posture means deductions, which means you have to avoid it at all costs. By learning great posture as kids, gymnasts can avoid backaches, neck aches, and expensive co-pays in the future.

Gymnastics is One of the Safest Sports for Kids

If you go to a local gym, you will likely see athletes with tape on their ankles, braces on the ankles, and maybe even a cast or two. You might think this means gymnastics is dangerous, but in actuality those bandages are just a result of bumps and bruises that could occur anywhere. The truth is gymnastics is one of the safest sports for kids. This is true because it teaches kids to be in touch with their bodies. Gymnastics teaches kids to be nimble, aware of their bodies, and surroundings and makes them reflexive, which can help prevent some injuries in and out of the gym. Gymnasts are also super aware of changes in their body, which allows them to be aware of injuries caused by overuse. While you will see changes in your child’s awareness of their body right away, you need to be patient to see real results. In fact, it can take 1 to 3 years for you to see physical changes in your gymnast.

Gymnasts are Proud of Themselves

One thing most gymnasts have in common is the ability to be proud of themselves. Gymnast’s self-esteem and feeling of accomplishment when they learn a new skill, overcome a mental block, or perch themselves on the podium at a meet is a feeling that can’t be reproduced in other areas of their life. When kids feel good about themselves in one area of their life, it overflows into other areas as well.

The important thing to take away from this is that gymnastics has many benefits to offer your kids. While learning a cartwheel or back handspring is a great achievement, it’s important to realize gymnastics has physical, social, and mental attributes that will help your children grow into amazing adults.

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